Who Is Aaron Zebley, the Aide Sitting Beside Mueller? – The New York Times
Mr. Zebley was Mr. Mueller’s chief of staff when he was F.B.I. director and left the bureau with him in 2013. The two joined the law firm WilmerHale the following year, keeping offices next to each other and conducting investigations for the same corporate clients. Then Mr. Zebley again played a chief of staff-like role at the special counsel’s office.
Mr. Zebley was chasing Al Qaeda well before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Zebley, who like Mr. Mueller graduated from the University of Virginia’s law school, was part of a special unit of F.B.I. agents called I-49, which investigated the American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He helped capture one of the nation’s most wanted terrorism suspects, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, a member of Al Qaeda who was charged in 1999 for his role in the bombing of the American Embassy in Tanzania.
Mr. Zebley’s work became central to the F.B.I.’s reorganization after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Before climbing the ranks of Mr. Mueller’s small circle of senior aides, he became a federal prosecutor in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Alexandria, Va.
Prosecutors turned to him in 2006 as the final witness in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was accused of helping plot the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Zebley, who was one of the lead agents in the investigation of Mr. Moussaoui, testified that information that investigators had discovered after the attacks could have provided important leads beforehand.
He has long been Mr. Mueller’s right hand.
Mr. Zebley, whose wife, Catharine F. Easterly, is a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, was chief of staff to Mr. Mueller in the final years of his tenure at the F.B.I. The two were virtually inseparable in meetings and many congressional hearings, where Mr. Zebley sat dutifully behind his boss.