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FBI Deputy Director Thomas J. Pickard Announces His Retirement

Washington, D.C. November 01, 2001
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691
Deputy Director Thomas J. Pickard, second in command at the FBI, will retire at the end of November after almost 27 years of service as a special agent. Pickard, who has been overseeing the parallel investigations into the "Pentbom" terrorist attacks of September 11 and the series of deadly East Coast anthrax mailings, will return to New York where he began his career as a special agent in 1975.


FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III heralded Pickard as a "dedicated investigator and innovative manager" who left his mark on the FBI.

"Tom Pickard brought to the FBI the personal and professional qualities that we hold highest. His career testifies to his uncompromising integrity and absolute dedication to the FBI, law enforcement and the American people. Tom has distinguished himself as an investigator, supervisor and executive involved in some of the toughest cases and most innovative programs ever undertaken by the FBI—and most recently one of the greatest challenges ever confronted by the FBI and our nation. He will be sorely missed here at the FBI and throughout the law enforcement community across the country and the world," Mueller said.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said: "Tom Pickard has served his country with honor and distinction during his many years of service to the FBI. In supervising such investigations as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Tom has been a long-serving soldier in the ongoing war against terrorism.

"His commitment to law enforcement is a standard we should all strive to meet as we carry out our obligation to uphold justice, protect our citizens and promote peace. He will be missed by the Department of Justice, the FBI and law enforcement officials around the country," Ashcroft said.

Popular among both managers and the rank and file, Pickard is known for his open-door policy with FBI employees. As deputy director, he encouraged employees to communicate directly with him on issues important to them.

Pickard, 50, spent his FBI career in New York and Washington, D.C. As a new agent in New York, he worked such cases as the kidnapping of an heir to the Seagram's fortune. Later, he was transferred to Washington and assigned to the House Committee on Appropriations Surveys and Investigations staff.

In April 1979, Pickard was transferred to the Washington, D.C. Field Office where he worked in an undercover capacity on the case code named "ABSCAM." In July, 1980, he was promoted to FBI Headquarters, serving in the Inspection and Criminal Investigative Divisions.

In October, 1984, Pickard reported to the New York Field Office as a supervisor in the White-Collar Crime Section. In 1987, he was appointed assistant special agent in charge for all white-collar crime investigations in the New York Field Office, and in 1989 for all violent crime matters.

Later in 1989, Pickard was selected for the FBI's Senior Executive Service and was transferred to FBI Headquarters, where he oversaw the FBI's finance operations and, subsequently, its personnel operations. In 1993, Pickard was promoted to the New York Field Office to serve as the special agent in charge of its National Security Division, supervising the trials of the World Trade Center bombing defendants, the trial of Sheik Omar Ahmed Ali Abdel Rahman and his co-conspirators, the conviction of Ramzi Youssef and his associates for plotting to blow up the U. S. airliners, and the day-to-day investigation into the explosion of TWA 800.

On September 10, 1996, FBI Director Louis Freeh named Pickard to the position of assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office. In that capacity, Pickard oversaw such matters as the investigation of the Earl Pitts espionage case, the overseas capture of convicted CIA killer Mir Aimal Kasi, and the Al Hayat letter bomb case.

On February 2, 1998, Pickard assumed the position of assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters, where he oversaw such investigations as the capture of Top Ten Fugitives Rafael Resendez-Ramirez and Martin Frankel, the Operation Sudden Stop cargo/vehicle theft initiative, and the initial investigation of the East Africa Embassy bombings.

In November 1999, he was appointed by Freeh as deputy director.

"Tom brought to the senior ranks of the FBI visionary management and a level of fiscal control that will serve us well during this period of transition," Director Mueller said. "It is a legacy of which he should be proud."

Pickard was born in Woodside, Queens, New York, where he also received his early education. He graduated from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York, in 1972 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in accounting. Mr. Pickard received his Masters of Business Administration Degree in taxation from St. John's University, Jamaica, New York in 1974. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed by the state of New York.