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FBI director nominee, Robert Mueller III keeps a low profile

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ If President Bush was looking for an FBI director with some bipartisan appeal, he might have found the right man in Robert Mueller III.

A veteran government prosecutor, Mueller had been given top-level jobs previously by Bush's father, President George Bush, and President Clinton. This could be an important asset in Mueller's confirmation test before the newly Democratic-controlled Senate.

But the 56-year-old career prosecutor isn't likely to clinch the confirmation on outspokenness.

``He's so shy that he is not the type of person to phone around for people to come to his aid or make public statements,'' said U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

``He's a true professional. He's not guided by a particular ideology. He's guided by a sense of what the law is and what is fair,'' Charles Breyer added.

Mueller would succeed Louis Freeh, a former federal judge who left the bureau last month, two years before his 10-year term would have expired.

Freeh had been credited with extending FBI's influence around the world and making cooperative law enforcement agreements with many countries. But his tenure has tarnished - particularly at the end - by scandal, including the bureau's failure to produce some 4,000 pages of documents to lawyers for Timothy McVeigh.

McVeigh was executed June 11, and bureau officials have said that Freeh did not know about the misplaced evidence papers at the time he announced his retirement.

Mueller, a former acting deputy attorney general at Justice, won the support of Attorney General John Ashcroft by aiding in the transition from the Clinton administration from January until May, when he resumed his job in San Francisco.

``He reorganized the U.S. attorney's office and replaced a lot of people and the number of prosecutions did increase significantly after he came in,'' said Barry Portman, the government's public defender in San Francisco. ``I think he's got good judgment about cases.''
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