Directors are appointed by the president and serve 10 years, and it is almost unheard of for the head of the agency to get the pink slip, let alone without any notice.
The firing raises questions about the agency, and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible links to the Trump campaign.
Should there now be a separate investigation and a special prosecutor? And who will head an agency that is actually smaller in number than the New York City Police Department?
Helping us better understand the agency and recent events is Richard M. Frankel.
He was special agent in charge at the Newark field office and retired last year.
He served the FBI both domestically and abroad for more than 20 years.
Richard now leads a crisis management firm based in New York with clients around the world, and is also an ABC News contributor.
Also with is Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has served Manhattan's 12th congressional district for 25 years.
She was one of many New York Democrats voting against the health care bill, and is now waiting to see what will happen in the Senate.
Finally, we hear the expression 'fake news' all the time, from the president and even from our viewers.
It has become the catch phrase for frustrations with both the media and our increasingly partisan political system.
Fake news can be deliberate misinformation, it can be satire, and it can in some cases be bad or rushed reporting.
Joining us to talk more about the fake news phenomenon is David Uberti, staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review.