For Immediate Release
November 7, 2006
FBI National Press Office
Charlene Thornton Reports as Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Office
Washington, D.C. – Charlene B. Thornton, a 27-year veteran FBI agent, reported today to her new assignment as the Special Agent in-Charge (SAC) of one of the FBI largest field offices – San Francisco, CA. SAC Thornton replaces Joseph L. Ford who was recently promoted to the newly created position of Associate Deputy Director at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As the head of the San Francisco Field Office, Mrs. Thornton will oversee all operations and investigative programs within the downtown office and the supporting nine resident agencies, or satellite offices, within the northern and central coast region of California. Those nine offices include Concord, Eureka, Hayward, Monterey, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Rafael, and Santa Rosa.
For the past two years, Mrs. Thornton has served as the Assistant Director of the FBI Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters. In this role she was responsible for the oversight of internal investigations of employee misconduct as well as evaluating the FBI’s investigative, financial, and administrative programs to ensure their economic value and compliance with FBI objectives, governing laws, rules, regulations, and policies.
Mrs. Thornton began her career with the FBI in 1979 and after she earned a Juris Doctorate degree, with honors, from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. Prior to that, in 1976, she graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana with a degree in Political Science and Economics. In 1983, she received a Masters of Law degree in Taxation from the University of San Diego Law School.
After receiving her initial new agent training in Quantico, Virginia, she was assigned to the Indianapolis Division where she worked a variety of criminal matters. She transferred to the Los Angeles FBI Office in 1980 where she worked counterintelligence, white collar crime, counterterrorism, and drug cases. She was promoted to a supervisory position in the Legal Counsel Division at FBI Headquarters in January 1985, where she assisted in the defense of the FBI and FBI employees. In 1989, Mrs. Thornton became Chief of the Legal Research Unit, responsible for providing legal advice and guidance to FBI executives and field offices.
After a one-year tour of service as an Assistant Inspector, Mrs. Thornton became a supervisor in the Baltimore Field Office, supervising applicant, civil rights and white-collar crime matters in Baltimore headquarters and thereafter, violent crime matters in the Southern Maryland Metropolitan Resident Agency.
Mrs. Thornton was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the FBI's Honolulu Division in July1995. As ASAC, Mrs. Thornton served as manager of all investigative programs and also had primary responsibility for the administrative management of the division. During this time Mrs. Thornton also oversaw the FBI's extraterritorial investigations throughout Asia and the Pacific.
In December 1999, Mrs. Thornton returned to FBI Headquarters as Deputy General Counsel, overseeing the FBI's Legal Training, Legal Forfeiture, and Legal Advice programs. In May 2000, Mrs. Thornton began service in the FBI's Inspection Division as an Inspector, responsible for overseeing audits of the FBI's investigative and administrative operations.
In December 2000, Mrs. Thornton was named SAC of the Birmingham Division of the FBI where she directed all FBI operations in the Northern District of Alabama. In October 2002, Mrs. Thornton assumed the duties of SAC Phoenix responsible for all FBI operations in the state of Arizona. She served in Phoenix until 2004 when FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III appointed her to her most recent assignment as head the Inspection Division.
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