Managing the Corporate Mission 5
Encourage the Acceptance of New Roles
The new paradigm laid down by Director Mueller after 9/11
amounted to a major reorganization of the Bureau and a new
forward strategy. Assistant Director Stephen Tidwell remem-
bers that day very well.
‘‘Director Mueller flopped my world,’’ he says with under-
stated simplicity.
‘‘Our responsibilities used to be essentially domestic;
now they were global. We used to be all about law en-
forcement; now we’re about national security and law en-
forcement. We used to be case-driven; now we’re threat-
driven. Our inclination used to be ‘Restrict, and share
what we must’; and now it’s ‘Share, and restrict what we
must.’ Budget used to drive the strategy; now strategy
drives the budget. Our priorities had changed as well.
Number one was now counterterrorism. Number two:
counterintelligence. Number three: cyber. You didn’t get
to ‘crime,’ per se, until number four—and even that had
changed into a focus on public corruption.’’
Sitting across the polished mahogany boardroom
table, attired in a suit, with a pleasant smile on his face,
Tidwell looked every bit the consummate senior exec-
utive. I interviewed him on his last day as head of the
Los Angeles field office. He was flying back to Washing-
ton, D.C., to assume the duties of executive assistant di-
rector of the FBI’s criminal, cyber, response, and services
branch. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Presidential
Rank Award for Meritorious Executive. When he men-
tioned to me that his assigned street role during his early
days with the Bureau had been that of a ‘‘hit man and
thug,’’ I naturally tried to imagine this award-winning
6 From the Bureau to the Boardroom
executive in the role of a hit man during a sting operation,
or as a thug—coldly menacing in a three-piece suit, or un-
shaven and brutish in a leather jacket. And yes, suddenly
I could see it! It was in his eyes, mainly, but just for a
fleeting instant.
‘‘The organizational changes,’’ he continued, ‘‘were
major. But we adjusted quickly.’’
Stephen Tidwell, in his twenty-fourth year with the Bu-
reau, has seen major shifts in strategy before. ‘‘At various
points in our history we’ve been given a new mission, and
we’ve adapted. I can give you two examples that I’ve ex-
perienced personally. I joined the FBI in 1983, when the
Bureau was given concurrent jurisdiction with the Drug
Enforcement Agency. That was a big change for the FBI.
We suddenly went from wearing suits to getting down
and dirty and doing jump-outs in the street, arresting
crack cocaine dealers. Then the FBI’s role was expanded
again in the early 90s, when we were told to take out the
gangs. That was another big change, infiltrating the street
gangs.
‘‘We did it with drugs, we did it with gangs, and now
we’re being asked to do it with terrorism.’’
In eld offices all across the nation, special agents in
charge—the FBI’s equivalent of a branch executive—assembled
the troops and explained Director Mueller’s new paradigm.
Going after the terrorists, of course, was not a hard sell to dedi-
cated agents who had taken the attacks on the homeland person-
ally. But even so, there must have been those for whom the
announcement was unsettling. After all, taking down a criminal
enterprise so that not one brick is left standing can take years,
and thousands of agents were heavily invested in their life’s

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