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John Otto

John E. Otto

John E. Otto
Acting Director
May 26, 1987 - November 2, 1987

John E. Otto served as Acting Director of the FBI between May and November 1987.

He was born on December 18, 1938 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1960, St. Cloud States College in St. Cloud, Minnesota awarded him a Bachelor of Arts degree. Mr. Otto took graduate courses in educational administration at the University of Minnesota. On October 12, 1964, he entered on duty as a special agent, subsequently serving in the Newark and Dallas Divisions. In March 1971, he was assigned to FBI Headquarters, where he assumed supervisory duties in the Public Affairs Office and then the Technical Services Division, the Planning and Inspection Division, and the Criminal Investigative Division. In January 1975, he was named assistant special agent in charge of the Portland Division. Over the next decade, Mr. Otto served in a number of leadership capacities in the field and at Headquarters, including positions as an special agent in charge and an assistant director. After serving as Acting Director in 1987, Mr. Otto retired from the Bureau.

Directors, Then and Now

- James B. Comey, 2013-Present
- Robert S. Mueller, III, 2001-2013
- Thomas J. Pickard (acting), 2001
- Louis J. Freeh, 1993-2001
- Floyd I. Clarke (acting), 1993
- William S. Sessions, 1987-1993
- John E. Otto (acting), 1987
- William H. Webster, 1978-1987
- James B. Adams (acting), 1978
- Clarence M. Kelley, 1973-1978
- William D. Ruckelshaus (acting), 1973
- L. Patrick Gray (acting), 1972-1973
- J. Edgar Hoover, 1924-1972
- William J. Burns, 1921-1924
- William J. Flynn, 1919-1921
- William E. Allen (acting), 1919
- Alexander B. Bielaski, 1912-1919
- Stanley W. Finch, 1908-1912

‪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. ‪Details