FBI's Washington field office loses its chief to promotion

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; 11:37 PM

The FBI announced Wednesday that the head of its Washington Field Office, Shawn Henry, will leave by October to accept a promotion overseeing the bureau's criminal, cybersecurity, emergency response and services branch.

Henry's move to a senior headquarters position means that the Washington office, one of the largest and most prominent operations within the 33,000-employee bureau, will soon see its third director in less than a year.

"It's not a question of [FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III] moving Mr. Henry out of Washington Field Office It's a situation where the director needs Mr. Henry in FBI headquarters," FBI Washington spokeswoman Katherine Schweit said. "The WFO is filled with . . . capable agents, analysts and personnel who are aware of and used to the fact that our leadership and management model includes changes at the top."

The FBI has promoted a string of top officials after the departure this summer of Deputy Director John S. Pistole to lead the Transportation Security Administration. As the incoming executive assistant director of what is known as the CCRSB, Henry succeeds T.J. Harrington, who was promoted to replace the bureau's associate deputy director, Timothy P. Murphy, who took over for Pistole.

For Washington, the moves prolong a period of high turnover at the FBI's second-largest field office. The office, with 1,700 employees and 850 agents, oversees federal investigations of fraud, public corruption, terrorism and other national security matters across Washington and Northern Virginia.

Henry, 48, who was previously head of the FBI's cyberdivision, took over in Washington in February for Joseph Persichini Jr., who retired in December amid an internal investigation into allegations that he might have cheated on an FBI training exam.

The FBI in related moves named Ronald T. Hosko as special agent in charge of the field office's criminal division, and Debra Evans Smith to take charge of the office's administrative division, replacing two managers reassigned to headquarters as part of the same investigation.

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