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Senate Confirms Thomas Harrigan as #2 Person at DEA

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than a year after being nominated by the White House, the Senate on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Thomas Harrigan as the number two person at DEA.

“I cannot think of a better, more qualified, or more honorable person to have at my side than Special Agent Tom Harrigan as we lead the Drug Enforcement Administration through the many challenges we will face and the many successes we will have in the coming years,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a statement.

“Tom demonstrated strong leadership and dedication in the field, and his strategic vision as Chief of Operations has been second to none. Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation enhances our nation’s safety and security by placing a proven, well respected career agent in this critical position at DEA.”

Harrigan, a well respected figure in the DEA, has been the Chief of Operations. He started his career with the agency in 1987 and was assigned to the Bangkok in 1991.

After that, according to the White House, “he has served as Group Supervisor in the Newark Field Division, Staff Coordinator in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Chief of the Dangerous Drugs and Chemicals Section, and Deputy Chief in the Office of Domestic Operations. He also served as Senior Advisor to the Chief of Domestic Operations and as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Washington Field Office.

In 2004, Mr. Harrigan was appointed to the Senior Executive Service to serve as the Chief of Enforcement Operations.

“I am so pleased to hear of DEA Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation as Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration,”  John “Jack” C. Lawn, DEA Administrator from 1985 to 1990 said in a statement. “Tom’s more than 25 years of experience both in domestic and international operations and his exceptional management skills make him uniquely qualified for this position. As Deputy Administrator, he solidifies this leadership role whose responsibilities will be so important to DEA’s future. He now speaks from a position of strength as DEA’s Deputy Administrator.”

 

Ex-FBI Agent to Head Puerto Rico Police Dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The man who once headed up the FBI office in Puerto Rico has been named the new chief of the Puerto Rico police department.

The Associated Press reports that Hector Pesquera comes just hours after police chief Emilio Diaz Colon resigned a head of the 17,000 member force.

He was first assigned head of the FBI’s Puerto Rico office in 1995 and he retired in 2003 after 27 years with the agency, AP reported.

To read more click here

Retired FBI Agent Running for State House in Georgia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent Kenneth M. Russell is taking a stab at running for political office in Georgia.

Russell, vice president of the South Hall Republican Club, is running for a seat in the Georgia State House District 103, which includes parts of Gwinnet and Hall counties, the Gainesville Times reported.

Russell retired from the FBI in 2003.

“I feel I am well positioned because of my education and unique lifetime experiences and service to our country and community,” Russell said, according to the paper. “Moreover, I am fully retired (as will be my wife) and able to devote full time to the yearlong demands of representative of the 103(rd) District.”

 

Nominee for Phoenix U.S. Atty. Was Critical of Sheriff Joe

Judge Leonardo/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former Pima Superior Court judge who once had some pointed words about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a court ruling, has been nominated by President Obama to take over the U.S. Attorney post in Phoenix, the Phoenix New Times reports.

Judge John Leonardo once wrote in a ruling that the controversial sheriff “misused the power of his office.”

Interestingly, if confirmed, Leonardo could deal with Sheriff Joe as an ally in the fight against crime.

Leonardo would replace Dennis Burke, who resigned in August as a result of the ongoing controversy over ATF’s failed Operation Fast and Furious.

To read more click here.

Secret Service Dep. Director Keith Prewitt is Hanging Up His Badge

Keith Prewitt/secret service photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After 29 years with the agency, U.S. Secret Service Deputy Director Keith L. Prewitt is hanging it up. He’ll retire April 7.

“It’s truly been an honor to work with the dedicated men and women of the Secret Service and serve as Director Sullivan’s deputy,” said Prewitt in a statement. “It’s been a privilege to contribute to the rich tradition and history of the most respected law enforcement agency in the world.”

Since 2008,Prewitt oversaw the protection of the U.S. President and Vice President and visiting heads of state. Additionally, he led the Secret Service’s investigative mission enforcing counterfeiting laws and criminal investigations into a wide range of financial and computer-based crimes

“Keith’s contribution to the agency has been invaluable,” said Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan in a statement. “His experience, judgment and management skills have brought our agency much growth and success through the years. His outstanding leadership and friendship have meant a lot to me.”

 

FBI’s Shawn Henry Stepping Down After 24 Years

FBI's Shawn Henry and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. (in background)/ file photo fbi

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry, who had taken on a higher profile in the bureau in more recent times, has decided to retire, Jason Ryan of ABC News reports.

Ryan reports that Henry will step down after 24 years of service.

Henry is credited with “boosting the FBI’s computer crime and cybersecurity capabilities,” Ryan reported.

In 2010, Henry was named to the FBI’s number four spot — Executive Assistant Director of the Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch. Just before that, he briefly headed up the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

 

Minneapolis FBI Moves to the Burbs

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Minnesota FBI, which also covers North and South Dakota, has moved.

The Associated Press reports that the office has moved from downtown Minneapolis to a standalone facility in the suburb of Brooklyn Center, just northwest of the city.

Features of the new facility include bulletproof glass and blast-proof walls.

 

FBI Appoints New Chief of Intelligence Division

fbi photo

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Eric Velez-Villar,  deputy assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence Operations Branch at FBI Headquarters, is getting a bump up to assistant director of that division, the FBI announced this week.

In testimony last month before the House Homeland Security Committee subcommittee on  counterterrorism intelligence, Velez-Villar pledged the FBI’s cooperation with state and local authorities in trying to root out domestic terror threats.

“The FBI will continue to provide relevance and context on foreign threat information; however, we also recognize that the violent extremism threat may be first identified within our communities by state, local, or tribal law enforcement,” Velez-Villar said. “As a result, we have taken numerous proactive steps in the past year to develop a more robust information sharing capacity with all federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners.”

He also testified that training material detailing  how law enforcement agencies can ensure officers understand how to identify and document suspicious behavior will be distributed in several states within months. He said the material will also contain information that will guide officers in the protection of privacy and civil liberties when documenting information.

Velez-Villar joined the FBI in 1985. In 1992, he worked organized crime and drug matters in San Antonio. Velez-Villar has also investigated public corruption cases in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He also worked with the DEA’s Special Operations Division helping coordinate major drug trafficking investigations throughout the nation.

In 2004, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Division’s counterterrorism program. Two years later, Velez-Villar was promoted to deputy director of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center. In 2008, he was appointed as the first special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Division’s newly created Intelligence Division.

Velez-Villar is a 2008 recipient of the Attorney General’s award for distinguished services.

The intelligence division is charged with leading efforts to coordinate security that protects the United States from terrorist attacks.