Mueller: As FBI Turns 100, 'Threat Is Real'

"Certainly, some of the abuses that occurred in the past and going after those who express different views than maybe in the mainstream. ... I think that is well beyond, way behind us," Mueller said.

"And the bureau has evolved over a period of time in the last several decades to make sure that that is not a problem, although we always have to keep in mind the balance between protecting the American public and the safety of the American public, and weigh it against what incursions there may be on privacy interests, and civil rights, civil liberties."

While dealing with post 9/11 criticism, the bureau did manage to avoid a plan, opposed by Mueller, to create a separate domestic intelligence agency after assuring members of Congress and the 9/11 Commission that the bureau had made significant strides in being able to protect civil rights and prevent attacks.

"Give us the tools that we need to do the job within the confines of the Constitution, the applicable statutes and the attorney general guidelines, and we will be successful in preventing such deaths," Mueller said.

Asked about such dealing with a host of threats, like how to respond if new intelligence surfaces indicating a possible new attack may be imminent, responding to overseas terrorist incidents and the increase in violent crime. All this is in addition to more traditional duties like rooting out spies, white-collar crime and cybercrime.

" I've got great people around me ... who have expertise in these areas ... and it's an honor, it's really a privilege, to work every day with these people," Mueller said.

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