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Retired FBI Agent Ronald Nesbitt Dies at 67

By Allan Lengel

Ronald A. Nesbitt, who retired in 2006 from the FBI as a special agent in charge of Counterintelligence and Counter-proliferation in the Washington Field Office, died on July 29 in Montgomery County, Md., after a battle with cancer. He was 67.

Ronald A. Nesbitt

“At the wake and funeral, people talked about his love of God, family, co-workers and neighbors,” his brother-in-law Roger Chesley tells ticklethewire.com. “Many called him a patient mentor, willing to listen to concerns from colleagues and provide advice.” 

Nesbitt, who was an affable and caring person, joined the FBI in 1980 and moved around to different offices. In 1991, he was assigned to the Espionage Unit, Counterintelligence Division where he served as the FBI’s liaison to the State Department and the CIA. In 1994, he was assigned to the Inspection Division as an assistant inspector.

He moved on to become a supervisory special agent in Newark, where he managed a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). From 1997-1999 he served as a unit chief, responsible for internal investigations of FBI personnel.

Then in 1999, he headed west to become an assistant special agent in charge in Seattle office where he managed the Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and the Organized Crime/Drug Programs. He established two JTTFs in Seattle and Spokane. In 2003, he returned east to take the SAC job in the Washington Field Office. He retired from the bureau in 2006.

“I knew that I had to make a decision while I was still relatively young, while I was attractive to the private sector and not much later in my career,” Nesbitt told CNN in 2006, explaining his reason for leaving the bureau.

After departing, he was named chief security officer for GE Security, a division of General Electric’s GE Enterprise Solutions. He worked there for five years before going on to work security-related jobs at other companies including Enterprise Solutions and the Mason-Harriman Group.

Born on Jan. 4, 1954 at Walter Reed Hospital in D.C., he spent some formative years in France and Germany because his father was in the military. He returned to D.C. in 1967 at age 13.

He ran track in junior high and went on to attend Howard University in D.C. where he earned a psychology degree. In 1975, a year before graduation, he worked as a statistical clerk for the FBI. Nesbitt later earned a certificate in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Nesbitt was active in NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) and his Catholic church parish. He enjoyed biking, jogging, watching pro football and making home improvements.

He doted on his three daughters, who are now 37, 35 and 22.

“He was very protective and supportive of his family,” Chesley, his brother-in-law, said.

“Ron was opinionated and liked to debate the topics of the day, from leadership, to race relations in America, to raising young women,” said Chesley.

He married Chesley’s sister, Brenda Chesley in December 1976.

While they dated, Chesley said he knew it was a good fit.

“I knew my sister was in love with him when she didn’t protest how he sped down Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast D.C., when I was still a teen in the mid-70s,” Chesley said. “Brenda acted like everything was just fine.”


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