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CNN BREAKING NEWS

FBI Director Freeh to Resign

Aired May 1, 2001 - 11:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting some breaking news from Washington.

Let's go now to our Jeanne Meserve, who's standing by in our Washington bureau -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Leon, this news is about Louis Freeh, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His tenure term was set to expire in 2003, but senior government officials confirm to CNN that Freeh will be stepping down from his post in June.

It had been reported earlier that he was in search of a job in private industry, in part because he has a large family. His kids are growing up.

He was appointed by President Clinton. He was himself a former FBI agent, a former prosecutor, and a former federal judge.

There has been plenty of controversy during his tenure as FBI director: You will recall that he supported a probe into campaign fund-raising irregularities; during his watch, Richard Jewell was targeted a suspect in the Olympic Park bombing -- that proved to be a false lead; the Wen Ho Lee case fell on his watch; and most recently, there was the Robert Hanssen spy case.

But he had many allies up on Capitol Hill. Many regarded him as doing a great job modernizing the FBI.

But the news today is that Louis Freeh will be stepping down as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in June.

Leon, back to you.

HARRIS: Jeanne, any idea or any word about why this will happen at this particular time? The number of allies for Mr. Freeh has not changed, as I understand it.

MESERVE: As I mentioned, there had been reports that he was looking for a job in the private sector, the motivation largely financial. So we believe that is the possible motive behind his move and decision today.

However, we are still awaiting a press release from the Justice Department, which will spell this out. When we get it, we'll let you know -- Leon.

HARRIS: Thanks much, Jeanne Meserve, in Washington.

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