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Obama signs 2-year extension to Mueller's FBI tenure

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • House approved legislation late Monday to keep Robert Mueller at FBI's helm
  • President now will officially nominate Mueller; Senate will hold a floor vote
  • Mueller is the first FBI director to serve a full 10-year term in post-Hoover era
  • He was appointed by Bush, took office a week before 9/11

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama has signed into law Tuesday legislation creating a new two-year term for FBI Director Robert Mueller beginning on August 3.

The House late Monday approved the legislation allowing a special term designed to keep Mueller in his post until 2013. His 10-year term expires August 2, but Obama asked Mueller to stay on to provide continuity for the White House national security team.

The measure was swiftly approved by the Senate last week. The president will formally nominate Mueller for the position, which goes to the full Senate for a floor vote.

FBI officials say they hope the Senate's vote can take place as early as Wednesday, but the Senate schedule remained uncertain because of wrangling over the federal deficit.

Mueller is the first FBI director to complete a full 10-year term since Congress limited the term 35 years ago. The move came after the controversial reign of J. Edgar Hoover, who led the FBI and its predecessor agency from 1924 until his death in 1973.

Hoover's legacy became entangled in the legislative debates over Mueller's extension. Although no lawmaker opposed Mueller, some in Congress expressed concern about establishing a precedent for longer terms for future FBI directors.

Mueller was appointed by President George W. Bush on August 3, 2001. He didn't formally take office for another month until September 4, just a week before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Mueller's term expires shortly before midnight on August 2, coincidentally also the deadline for increasing the nation's debt ceiling.