The Position of FBI Director
The FBI Director
Background on the Position
Since its beginning in 1908, the FBI has been led by a single individual. At first called “Chief,” this leader has been titled “Director” since the term of William Flynn (1919-1921). The FBI Director has answered directly to the attorney general since the 1920s.
Under the Omnibus Crime Control Act and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Public Law 90-3351, the Director is appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the Senate. On October 15, 1976, in reaction to the extraordinary 48-year term of J. Edgar Hoover, Congress passed Public Law 94-503, limiting the FBI Director to a single term of no longer than 10 years.
The two statutes that detail the term of the FBI Director are as follows:
P.L. 90-351, 6/19/1968, The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.
TITLE VI-CONFIRMATION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Sec. 1101. Effective as of the day following the date on which the present incumbent in the office of Director ceases to serve as such, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall receive compensation at the rate prescribed for level II of the Federal Executive Salary Schedule.
P.L. 94-503, 10/15/1976. “An Act to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and for other purposes.”
TERM OF FBI DIRECTOR
SEC. 203. Section 1101 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 is amended by inserting " (a)" immediately after SEC. 1011.” and by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection :
"(b) Effective with respect to any individual appointment by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, after June 1,1973, the term of service of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be ten years. A Director may not serve more than one ten-year term. The provisions of subsections (a) through (c) of section 8335 of title 5, United States Code, shall apply to any individual appointed under this section."