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The Washingtonian: FBI Director Bob Mueller’s “War on Terror” Comes to an End

Author: Garrett M. Graff
September 3, 2013


"Mueller has remade the Bureau from top to bottom, transforming its intelligence capabilities, focusing it on counterterrorism and cybercrime, and growing it internationally in ways Hoover never could have imagined. With little public note, the FBI under Mueller has become the first truly global police force, transforming the domestic agency created to combat interstate crime into one focused increasingly on transnational crime, especially in the arenas of cybercrime and counterterrorism."

The SUVs and helicopters arrived one by one all morning at Camp David, the presidential retreat hidden deep within the Catoctin Mountains on Maryland's border, assembling on September 15, 2001, the men who would lead the nation into war. There was President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, General Hugh Shelton, CIA Director George Tenet with the agency's head of counterterrorism, Cofer Black, and Attorney General John Ashcroft with the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller. Sitting at a large conference table in casual clothes—the President wore a parka—they spent the morning and afternoon plotting the nation's response to the devastating terrorist attacks and by day's end settled on a course that would lead the country first into Afghanistan and, later, into Iraq.

Twelve years later, they're all gone from the government—their war on terror over, their memoirs written, their speaking tours mostly wrapped up, their consulting firms up and running. The George W. Bush presidential library opened this spring in Dallas, and the former president has now taken up painting.

They're all gone, that is, except one.

Robert Mueller's war on terror has continued.

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