Approaching the end of his 10-year term limit, FBI Director Robert Mueller appears for what is likely his last oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The director assumed his position on September 4, 2001, just a week before the 9/11 attacks. Senators are asking Mueller about the policy decisions made in the aftermath of the attacks, specifically the USA PATRIOT Act.
Mueller told the committee that three PATRIOT Act provisions set to expire May 27 should be made permanent. The surveillance mechanisms allow for "roving" wiretaps on multiple communication devices, sets up a special court that can grant access to business and library records, and surveillance of suspicious non-American "lone wolf" suspects.
Mueller is also facing questions on an FBI memo written last fall that instructs agents to interrogate suspects without advising them of certain Miranda rights if there is an immediate threat. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said reading a suspect Miranda rights could be "counterproductive." Director Mueller responded by saying the FBI must operate within the confines of the law.
Director Mueller told the committee that if the current Republican-proposed budget, H.R. 1, passes, the FBI would be unable to fill 1100 positions.
The director is set to step down in late August or early September, but President Obama has not stated who will replace him.