Directors in a league of their own

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As with the Kennedy assassination, the truth may never be teased out from the tumult of opinions.

Then there is the agency itself - which has been influenced by 11 other directors since Mr. Hoover. They, too, wrestled with the criminal and cultural influences of their day, from Watergate to Sept. 11 to the advent of the Internet and a relentless 24/7 news cycle.

“In the end, if we in the FBI safeguard our civil liberties but leave our country vulnerable to terrorist attack, we have lost. If we protect America from terrorism but sacrifice our civil liberties, we have also lost. Every day, the men and women of the bureau must strike this balance,” Director Robert S. Mueller III said at the National Press Club in May.

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