Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 15, 2002

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, today announced that Executive Assistant Director Dale L. Watson will retire from the FBI next month to accept a position in the private sector and Executive Assistant Director Bruce J. Gebhardt is being elevated to Deputy Director to oversee all investigative and operational matters. The elevation of Mr. Gebhardt is part of a series of initiatives to streamline operations, revitalize the information infrastructure, and refocus the priorities and investigative approaches of the FBI.

Mr. Watson is a 24-year veteran Special Agent who has served continually in counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence roles since 1982. In his current position, he has overseen the investigation of both the September 11 terrorist attacks and the deadly anthrax mailings as well as the refocusing and re-engineering of the FBI's counter-terrorism program.

Mr. Watson was the first Assistant Director for Counter-terrorism Division when it was created in 1999, with responsibility for overall direction and management of the international and domestic terrorism programs, and the National Infrastructure Protection Center. Prior to that he headed the counter-terrorism branch of the National Security Division and earlier, the International Terrorism Section as well as serving as the FBI's first representative to the CIA's Counter-terrorism Center. In 1995, as second in charge of the Kansas City field division, he played a key role in the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing. Later he oversaw major international terrorism investigations such as the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, and he was instrumental in the successful investigation into the tragic bombing of Khobar Towers.

"Dale Watson has served the FBI and the American public with distinction for more than 24 years," Director Mueller said. "He committed much of his career to counter-terrorism and counterintelligence, and early on recognized the necessity of closer cooperation with the CIA and information sharing. Dale is highly respected throughout the intelligence community and among law enforcement agencies across this country, and with our partners around the world with whom he has worked closely to strengthen our working relationships," Mueller said.

"Dale has been a visionary, leading change in the FBI at a critical moment in our history. He will be greatly missed and we wish him continuing success," Mueller stated.

Director Mueller has appointed Bruce J. Gebhardt as Deputy Director of the FBI, the second highest ranking position in the FBI. As Deputy Director, Mr. Gebhardt is the principal assistant to the Director and assumes overall responsibility for the FBI in the Director's absence. As Deputy Director, he will directly oversee all FBI investigative, counter-intelligence and prevention efforts.

"Bruce has 28 years of experience and a track record of success as an investigator, supervisor, program manager and executive, which makes him ideally suited to oversee day-to-day operations," Mueller said.. "He has worked closely with me on our reorganization and re-engineering efforts as we move forward to better prepare the FBI for the counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence and crime challenges we face."

Mr. Gebhardt currently serves as the Executive Assistant Director for Criminal Investigations, with oversight for all criminal and cyber investigations. During his career, he has worked general criminal and organized crime matters in Denver and San Francisco, supervised drug cases in Los Angeles and at FBI Headquarters, and served two tours in the Inspection Division, the FBI's internal strategic planning and oversight organization. He was second in command of the Newark field division and Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix and San Francisco. In these latter capacities, he had substantial white collar crime, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism responsibilities.

Director Mueller stated, "The FBI's re-engineering, streamlining and information infrastructure revitalization efforts are being directed by experts we recruited from the private sector, people like Wilson Lowery and Darwin John. While Bruce is involved in these efforts, I have asked him to apply his considerable operational experience towards our counter-intelligence, prevention and cyber initiatives. He is a major asset in that regard, with 28 years of investigative experience, having successfully managed large FBI field offices."


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