Sen. Al Franken, a liberal Democrat from Minnesota, suggested on Wednesday that Barack Obama may be a one-term president.
He made the comment as the Senate Judiciary Committee considered President Obama’s request to extend FBI Director Robert Mueller’s ten-year term for two more years.
Franken commended Mueller for his service to the nation, but he also said that “term limits exist for a reason.” However, given a “unique set of circumstances”--including a new CIA director and a new defense secretary--Franken indicated that he could go along with a two-year extension for Mueller:
“I should note that President Obama could nominate a new director who would be there for ten years. And by extending you for two years--he is uh--in two years, he may not be the president, so I think that--um--that there’s, ah, just a mention.”
Congress must pass legislation extending Mueller’s term, and if that happens, Mueller said he looks forward to continue working with the men and women of the FBI.
Mueller briefed the committee on what he called a “complex threat environment,” including threats from Mexico:
“The extreme violence across our Southwest border to the south also remains a threat to the United States as we saw with the murders last year of American consulate workers in Juarez, Mexico and the shooting early this year of two federal agents in Mexico.”
In his list of threats, Mueller also mentioned terrorism plots; espionage concerns; Internet attacks; corporate, mortgage, and health care frauds; and gang activity.
He said the FBI has transformed itself into a threat-based, intelligence-led agency. And he assured the committee that FBI agents are mindful of civil liberties and the importance of adhering to the Constitution:
“Every agent – this was established by Louis Freeh, my predecessor – goes through the Holocaust Museum before they become a new agent to understand what can happen to a police power that becomes…too powerful.