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Archive for February, 2021

Jeffrey S. Sallet Named Associate Deputy Director of FBI

FBI Special Agent Jeffrey S. Sallet

By Steve Neavling

Jeffrey S. Sallet has been tapped to serve as the associate deputy director of the FBI. 

Sallet will oversee the bureau’s employees, budget, administration, and infrastructure, as well as the inspections and insider threat programs. 

He most recently served as the executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch.

Sallet launched his career with the FBI as a special agent in 1997 in the New York Field Office. During the 9/11 investigation, he was tasked with investigating al Qaeda’s finances.

In 2005, Sallet joined the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters, where he managed La Cosa Nostra investigations in the northeastern U.S. 

In 2007, he was transferred to the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island. A year later, he was promoted to supervisory senior resident agent, in charge of all counterterrorism, public corruption, civil rights, government fraud, and organized crime investigations in Rhode Island.

In 2012, Sallet became assistant special agent in charge in the Boston Field Office, overseeing white-collar crime, public corruption, health care fraud, and civil rights matters. He also led the Boston Marathon bombing investigation in April 2013.

In 2014, Sallet moved to FBI headquarters to serve as chief of the Public Corruption/Civil Rights Section in the Criminal Investigative Division. 

A year later, Sallet was promoted to special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office and then led the Chicago office in 2017. 

He was promoted to associate executive assistant director of the Finance and Facilities Division in 2019.

Sallet became executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch in 2020. 

Before joining the FBI, Sallet was an auditor and forensic accountant in the private sector. He is a certified public accountant and a certified financial forensics professional.

New Details Emerge about Shooting That Killed 2 FBI Agents, Wounded 3 Others

By Steve Neavling

As FBI agents tried to serve a search warrant at an apartment in Sunrise, Fla., at 6 a.m. Tuesday, a man with an assault-style rifle ambushed them by opening fire from inside his home, shooting through the door. 

By the time the gunfire ended, five agents were shot, two of them fatally. The gunman, who was suspected of possessing child pornography, died after turning a gun on himself. 

Two of the agents were in stable condition Tuesday, and the other wounded agent was not hospitalized. 

Speaking to law enforcement sources, The Miami Herald revealed horrifying new details of one of the deadliest shootings for the FBI. 

The gunman spotted the agents with a doorbell camera.

“There are several huge holes in the door going outward,” one law enforcement official said.

Killed were Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger. 

For reasons that remain unknown, Tuesday’s raid occurred without the presence of heavily armed tactical officers, as often occurs when agents executive search warrants.  

“FBI Miami conducts search warrants almost daily,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said in a statement. “They are an essential and important part of what we do and we thoroughly research and meticulously plan for any threats or dangers. The vast majority of these warrants occur without incident.”

President Biden spoke out about the attack. 

“My heart aches for the families,” Biden said in a press briefing on Tuesday evening. “I have not had an opportunity, nor will I try today to contact them but they put their lives on the line, and it’s a hell of a price to pay.”

Senate Confirms Mayorkas As Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn in as DHS secretary. Photo via DHS.

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as President Biden’s homeland security secretary, making him the first immigrant and Latino to lead the department.

He was confirmed by a 56-43 vote, with strong opposition from Republicans. 

Mayoraks is the first confirmed secretary in nearly two years.

About two weeks ago, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, blocked the fast-track confirmation process for Mayorkas, almost dashing Biden’s hopes for a quick confirmation. But a week later, the Senate Homeland Security Committee advanced his nomination to a full vote in Congress.

Mayorkas, 61 served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama and played a prominent role in the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term.  

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 

At his confirmation hearing, Mayorakas pledged to combat homegrown domestic extremists, which has become an increasing national security threat. 

“The threat of domestic extremism is one of the greatest challenges that the Department of Homeland Security confronts,” Mayorkas said at the hearing, calling the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol “horrifying.”

Christopher Wray: ‘Days like this are among the darkest days we face in the FBI’

By Allan Lengel

FBI Christopher said “we’re all heartbroken” over Tuesday’s deaths of two FBI agents and the wounding of three others. The shootings happened while serving a search warrant in a child pornography cases in Sunrise, Fla., a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale.

Christopher Wray

“Days like this are among the darkest days we face in the FBI,” Wray said in a statement. “We’ve lost two of our very own. We’re all heartbroken – particularly our colleagues in Miami who are reeling from this unthinkable loss.

The suspected reportedly killed himself.

The FBI Agents Association President Brian O’Hare also issued a statement:

“These Agents were working to protect the most vulnerable in our society. FBIAA stands with the Agents’ families and pledges our support to them during this difficult time,” O’Hare said. “FBI Special Agents risk their lives to protect our country, and the loss of these Agents is devastating to the entire FBI community and to our country. FBIAA hopes that all Americans will join us in our efforts to support these FBI families in this time of tragedy.”

Read Christopher Wray’s full statement below:

It’s with a very heavy heart that I’m writing to tell you that this morning, Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger of the Miami Division were shot and killed in the line of duty. They were executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a violent crimes against children investigation in Sunrise, Florida. Three other agents were shot and wounded, two of whom suffered injuries requiring hospital care, but both are now in stable condition. The third injured agent did not require hospitalization. The shooter is deceased.

Days like this are among the darkest days we face in the FBI. We’ve lost two of our very own. We’re all heartbroken – particularly our colleagues in Miami who are reeling from this unthinkable loss. All of us across the FBI, in offices and divisions who worked with the special agents, and colleagues who have never had the chance to meet them, are all trying to also come to terms with this tragic loss. And yet, our grief cannot compare to that of the families of these two special agents. Today, they’ve lost the people who meant the very most to them.

As many of you have heard me say, it takes an incredibly special person to answer the call and do the heroic work of an FBI special agent.To sacrifice self for service. This morning, Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger left home to carry out the mission they signed up for – to keep the American people safe. It will take us a long time to process the grief that we all feel for the loss of our own. But we’ll be forever grateful for their commitment and their dedication – for their last full measure of devotion to the people they served and defended. We will always honor their ultimate sacrifice. And we’ll continue to stand by our FBI Family, and the families of these special agents, in the days to come, bringing every resource we can to get through this together.

We’ll continue to share more as we’re able to.

Five FBI Agents Shot, Two Fatally, While Serving Search Warrant at Florida Home

By Steve Neavling

Five FBI agents were shot and two were killed while serving a search warrant at a home in Sunrise, Fla., a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, on Tuesday morning, The Miami Herald reports

The suspected gunman barricaded himself in the home before fatally shooting himself. 

The suspect was accused of possessing child pornography.

The shooting broke out around 6 a.m., when FBI agents with the child-porn squad arrive at the home to execute the search warrant.  

“Two wounded agents were transported to hospital and are in stable condition,” the FBI said in a statement, without addressing the condition of the third agent.

Details remained murky at 10:30 a.m.

Secret Service Honors Its First Black Secret Service Agent Charles L. Gittens on 65th Anniversary

Charles L. Gittens, first black special agent for the Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling

Monday marked the 65th anniversary of Charles L. Gittens becoming the first black special agent for the Secret Service. 

“February 1 carries special meaning to the men and women of the United States Secret Service,” the agency wrote in a tribute to Gittens.

Gittens spent 23 years rising through the ranks of the Secret Service, first serving in Charlotte, N.C., before moving on to posts in New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Washington D.C. Field Office, where he became special agent in charge in 1971.

Gittens continued to break racial barriers. In 1977, Gittens became the first African American to serve as the agency’s deputy assistant director of the Office of Inspection, a position he held until he retired in 1979. 

During his career, he protected Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B .Johnson, in addition to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He also participated in notable undercover investigations and was a member of “The Special Detail,” which was tasked with curtailing counterfeiting actives in the U.S. and abroad. 

“Looking back, when I enlisted in the Service, I knew everybody,” Gittens later said. “Knew every agent personally. It is a lot different now. We have steadily expanded, both in size itself or in the area of our responsibility. But the Service is a lot like home, even now. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Gittens died on July 27, 2011 at the age of 82. 

At the time of his death, then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said, “The passing of Deputy Assistant Director Gittens represents a sad day for the Secret Service family. Mr. Gittens’ legacy of accomplishments will live on with all those who knew him, as well as all of us who benefitted from the path he created and standards he set as the first African American agent in the Secret Service. His contributions to this agency and this country cannot be overstated.” 

Donald M. Voiret Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Seattle Field Office

FBI Special Agent in Charge Donald Voiret.

By Steve Neavling

Donald M. Voiret, who most recently was serving as the FBI’s attaché to London, has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. 

Voiret became an FBI special agent in 2002, primarily working counterterrorism cases at the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island, under the Boston Field Office. 

In 2007, Voiret began serving as supervisory special agent at the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. 

Voiret transferred to the Washington Field Office in 2010, serving as a supervisor of the Extraterritorial Counterterrorism Squad.

In 2013, Voiret was promoted to assistant inspector in the Inspection Division, which conducts internal investigations and special inquiries and reviews operational performance and use of enforcement authorities across all investigative programs.

In 2015, Voiret was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Salt Lake City Field Office, where he oversaw the cyber, counterintelligence, and intelligence programs covering Utah, Idaho, and Montana.

In 2017, Voiret became inspector in the Inspection Division. A year later he was named legal attaché in the London office. 

Before joining the FBI, Voiret worked as a law enforcement officer for 16 years in Florida. He graduated from Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Paul Abbate Takes Over #2 Spot at FBI


By Allan Lengel

Paul M. Abbate has been named deputy director of the FBI — the #2 spot in the agency, just under Director Christopher Wray.

Paul Abbate

As deputy director, Abbate will oversees all FBI domestic and international investigative and intelligence activities. He was promoted from the job of associate deputy director at headquarters.

Abbate joined the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to the Criminal Division in the New York Field Office. He was also a member of the SWAT team.

In 2003, he was promoted to supervisory special agent and transferred to the Iraq Unit of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters.  He was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and served as the senior FBI liaison officer to the Department of Defense.

In 2006, he moved to the Newark Field Office, where he served on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander where he led FBI counterterrorism operations. 

He returned to the Counterterrorism Division in 2009 as an assistant section chief, providing oversight of U.S.-based international terrorism investigations. The next year, he moved to the Los Angeles Field Office as the assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism matters.

After several more moves, in 2013, he took over the Detroit FBI Office. A couple years later, he was promoted to head up the Washington Field Office. Near the end of 2016, he was appointed as the executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch at FBI Headquarters.

Two years later, he was named the FBI associate deputy director.

He replaces David Bowdich.