Robert Mueller became director of the FBI one week before 9/11 and spent the next 12 years adding global terrorists to the agency’s most-wanted list of gangsters, kidnappers and bank robbers – and aggressively hunting them down.
Now, two months after leaving the job that allowed him to transform the FBI and focus its agents more on counterterrorism and emerging threats like cyber crimes, Mueller will work closely with Stanford scholars to better understand the challenges and issues surrounding international security and online networks.
At the invitation of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Law School, Mueller will spend the current academic year as a consulting professor and the Arthur and Frank Payne Distinguished Lecturer.
He will also visit the Haas Center for Public Service and meet with students to discuss leadership and service around cybersecurity, and work through FSI to train and mentor undergraduate students.
"I look forward to working with the students and faculty of Stanford to address critical issues of the day, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity and shepherding institutions through transition,” Mueller said. “Having worked on these issues as FBI director over the last several years, I hope to pass on the lessons I have learned to those who will be our leaders of tomorrow. For my part, I hope to gain fresh insight and new thoughts and ideas for the challenges our country continues to face."
Mueller will make several visits to Stanford, spending about 30 days on campus during the academic year. His first visit comes next week, and will be marked by his delivery of the Payne lecture on Nov. 15. The public talk will focus on the FBI’s role in safeguarding national security. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Koret-Taube Conference Center in the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building.
“Bob Mueller is an extraordinary public servant who will bring an enormously important perspective to some of the most complex security issues in the world,” said FSI Director Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. “We’re excited that he can help shape our research agenda on cybersecurity and other security issues.”
Mueller will spend the year working with FSI and Stanford Law School scholars to develop research agendas on emerging issues in international security. He will hold graduate seminars and deliver a major lecture at the law school and work with students and fellows at the Haas Center, the law school and the Graduate School of Business. He will also mentor honors students at FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.
"Robert Mueller has been a federal prosecutor and the nation’s leading law enforcement official during very difficult times. We are thrilled he will be interacting with our students and faculty because he has much to teach us,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, dean of the law school. "His unique perspective on the intersection of law and international security will be tremendously beneficial to our community. We are delighted to welcome Director Mueller back to Stanford Law School."
As the FBI’s chief, Mueller created a dedicated cybersecurity squad in each of its field offices and dedicated about 1,000 agents and analysts to fight Web-based crimes. At Stanford, he will bring together academics and practitioners with an eye toward creating an unofficial diplomacy dialogue.
“Should a terrorist utilize cyber capabilities to undertake an attack, it could be devastating,” he said just before leaving the FBI in September. “We have to be prepared.”
Mueller received a bachelor’s from Princeton in 1966 and a master’s in international relations from New York University a year later. He fought in Vietnam as a Marine, leading a rifle platoon and earning the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After leaving the military, Mueller enrolled at the University of Virginia Law School and received his law degree in 1973.
He began his law career as a litigator in San Francisco, and in 1976 began a 12-year career serving in United States Attorney’s offices in San Francisco and Boston focusing on financial fraud, terrorist and public corruption cases. He worked for two law firms before returning to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., where he was a senior homicide investigator.
He was named U.S. Attorney in San Francisco in 1998, and held that job until President George W. Bush tapped him to lead the FBI. His first day on the job was Sept. 4, 2001.
“When I first came on board, I thought I had a fair idea of what to expect,” Mueller said during his farewell ceremony at the FBI ‘s headquarters in Washington “But the September 11 attacks altered every expectation.”