So, Louis Freeh finally made it official. On Tuesday morning, he told the SAC (special agents in charge) conference that he's retiring, come June, and plans to spend the summer with his wife, Marilyn, and six boys, thinking about his options.
The only surprise is the timing. For the past couple of years, Freeh has made no secret of Marilyn's eagerness to see him in private practice, churning out enough income to pay for six tuitions and sets of braces. His future has been topic A around the FBI watercoolers for at least that long. The conventional wisdom at the FBI said he was determined to wait out Clinton, who appalled him.
But in December or January, Bush asked Freeh to stick around for a while, and, friends say, he was too flattered to pass that up. Also, he found out in about October or November that the mole the FBI was looking for wasn't in the CIA as had been thought (and hoped) but in the FBI. That's when the fingerprint on the bag from the dead drop came back to Robert Hanssen.
Freeh told the SACs Tuesday that he hadn't even looked for a job. Friends find that credible they say he's so straight-laced that he wouldn't consider shopping himself because it would be a potential conflict of interest. But nobody doubts that he'll land a choice partnership in a prestigious law firm by the end of the summer. In the meantime, he'll be pulling down $90,000 to $100,000 a year in pension from 27 years in government service.
Successors? There are a number of ex-FBI executives whose names are likely to be mentioned Jim Kallstrom, formerly assistant director in New York, Buck Revell, formerly executive assistant director, now in Dallas. Bush might use the moment to name the first black or Hispanic FBI director. And of course there are literally thousands of Republican ex-Justice Department officials who have been toiling in the party vineyards. If Bush doesn't go for diversity, Bob Mueller, the US Attorney in San Francisco and acting Deputy Attorney General, would be a great pick as far as many career prosecutors and FBI agents are concerned. He's a decorated Vietnam war hero and much admired prosecutor.