Thursday, May 3, 2001

The White House yesterday moved to fill the job of FBI Director Louis J. Freeh in the wake of his unexpected resignation Monday after eight years as the nations top cop.
The names of several potential candidates have surfaced over the past 48 hours, including one woman: Kathleen McChesney, a veteran FBI agent who heads the bureaus Chicago field office.
Would-be candidates include law enforcement veterans who can win approval in a Senate where Republicans and Democrats stand at 50 each.
Others include longtime federal prosecutor Robert Mueller; former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger; former Drug Enforcement Administration administrator John Lawn; federal appeals court Judge Joel M. Flaum; Oklahoma governor and former FBI Agent Frank Keating; and former U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Also under consideration are Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney in New York; former FBI Associate Deputy Director Oliver “Buck” Revell; Deputy FBI Director Tom Pickard; former FBI Agent Bob Ricks, now Oklahoma commissioner of public safety; and former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot.
“Dozens of names have already been mentioned and certainly others will follow,” said one administration official. “No decisions have yet been made, although there are some people with whom they are eager to speak. I would expect the president to talk with several people and then make a decision sometime in the near future.”
Mr. Freeh, 51, personally told the president Monday he would be leaving his post in June to spend more time with his family, which includes six sons ages 3 to 16. He has headed the bureau since 1993, finishing eight years of a 10-year appointment by President Clinton.
A search team has been formed and interviews are expected shortly. Attorney General John Ashcroft will play a key role in helping the White House find a replacement and in preparing that person for the confirmation process.
Candidates will be interviewed by presidential personnel and then the White House counsels office.
Those sessions will be followed by interviews with Mr. Ashcroft, who, spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, is looking for someone “with credibility in the law enforcement community, someone who has strong managerial skills and someone of high integrity.” The FBI director, who must be confirmed by the Senate, reports to the attorney general.
Several FBI officials hope Mr. Bush will look to the bureau for Mr. Freehs replacement, saying someone with an intimate knowledge of the FBI should be appointed as its director. Only two of the five men who have headed the bureau in its 69-year history ever served as agents Mr. Freeh and Director Clarence Kelly.
Of the early contenders:
Mrs. McChesney, a 22-year FBI veteran, has headed the FBI field office in Chicago for the past two years. She formerly was agent-in-charge in Portland, Ore., and worked in the Detroit and Los Angeles offices. She also served in the undercover and special operations unit at Washington headquarters and in the criminal investigative unit in Washington. Before joining the FBI, she was a police officer and detective in Seattle for seven years.
Judge Flaum serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Appointed to the appeals court in 1983 by President Reagan, he was named chief judge last year. Earlier this year, he met with Mr. Ashcroft to discuss the FBI directors job should Mr. Freeh leave.
Mr. Mueller has served as deputy attorney general since Mr. Bush took office in January. He previously headed the Justice Departments criminal division during President George Bushs administration and is the U.S. attorney in San Francisco.
Mr. Terwilliger served as deputy attorney general during the first Bush administration and also worked as a federal prosecutor. He also served as one of George W. Bushs legal advisers during the Florida vote recount.
Mr. Lawn headed the DEA for five years during the Reagan and first Bush administrations, retiring in 1990. He also is a former FBI agent who headed the bureaus San Antonio field office during the investigation and prosecution of the killer of a federal judge.
Mr. Keating was listed as a leading contender for the post of attorney general until a questionable $250,000 loan he accepted surfaced. He is known to want the job as FBI director, but law enforcement officials believe that loan may still haunt the Oklahoma governor.
Mr. Kelly, Mrs. White, Mr. Pickard, Mr. Revell and Mr. Ricks are considered outside chances. Mr. Racicot, who turned down the attorney generals job, is also considered a long shot.

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