Robert A. Blecksmith – Assistant Director, Critical Incident Response Group
Prior to entering the FBI, Mr. Blecksmith served for four years as a Deputy Sheriff with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada County, California. Mr. Blecksmith entered on duty as a special agent with the FBI on February 3, 1985. He served seven years in the Dallas Division investigating violent crime and counterterrorism matters and was a member of the Dallas SWAT Team. Before the creation of an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Dallas, Mr. Blecksmith was the case agent of an interagency task force comprised of local police and federal/state prosecutors targeting a domestic terrorism group that was attacking minorities and religious establishments in northern Texas. The investigation culminated in 1990 with a week-long trial and 17 convictions, including the group’s five leaders, whose federal prison sentences ranged from three to nine years.
In June 1992, Mr. Blecksmith was promoted, becoming the Dallas Division’s first Supervisory Senior Resident Agent in Lubbock, Texas, where he was responsible for 20 FBI personnel in four resident agencies covering 73,000 square miles in 75 counties with a population of 1.3 million.
In June 1996, Mr. Blecksmith was transferred to FBI Headquarters to the newly created Domestic Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction Section within the National Security Division. In November 1999, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division was established, and the Domestic Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction Section was made a part of that division. Over the next four years, Mr. Blecksmith served as a supervisor, unit chief, and assistant section chief within the section, providing counterterrorism program management and developing Domestic Terrorism Program and Weapons of Mass Destruction strategic policies.
In January 2001, Mr. Blecksmith was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, where he had oversight responsibility for all administrative matters. During that time, Mr. Blecksmith was dispatched to the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, as the FBI’s senior representative and On-Scene Commander in establishing the interagency Joint Operations Center and coordinating the FBI’s rescue, recovery, and evidence collection process.
In August 2003, Mr. Blecksmith was promoted to section chief and returned to FBI Headquarters in the Counterterrorism Division’s Domestic Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction Section. In August 2004, he was detailed to the Director’s office and tasked to focus exclusively on developing the final execution requirements for the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Render Safe Mission. In June 2005, Mr. Blecksmith was permanently transferred to the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group as section chief, where he was responsible for the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Render Safe Mission; the Special Agent Bomb Tech Program; the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama; and the FBI’s Aviation and Agent Surveillance Programs.
In August 2007, Mr. Blecksmith was designated the Critical Incident Response Group’s first Deputy Assistant Director.
On March 27, 2008, Director Mueller announced Mr. Blecksmith's appointment as Assistant Director for the Critical Incident Response Group.
Mr. Blecksmith was born in southern California and raised in the Sierra foothills of northern California. He is a 1980 graduate of California State University at Sacramento. He has been married to Teresa Blecksmith since 1980, and they have four adult daughters—Sarah, Anne, Elizabeth, and Rebecca.