FBI Boston Chief Retires, Todashev Fallout?
We will go to the ends of the earth to find the suspects responsible for this despicable crime.
Less than two months after saying that in response to the Boston bombings, Massachusetts native and Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, 53, is leaving the Bureau after 26 years, bound for a job with a truck rental company. In Michigan.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after the NYT, citing unnamed sources, reported that a Boston agent under DesLauriers’ command pumped seven rounds into Ibragim Todashev on May 22nd after Todashev allegedly attacked the agent at the end of an interview in Florida.
Official accounts of how Todashev died have ranged from nonsensical to comical. The name of the agent responsible for the shooting still has not been released and the matter is supposedly still under internal investigation by the Bureau. From the outset, the oft-repeated account that a single FBI agent was ambushed by a mad Chechen did not square with standard FBI policy of having pairs of agents conduct interviews. If a single FBI agent was operating alone in Florida, evidently with two Mass State police detectives, DesLauriers presumably would have approved of that staffing.
More curious still, is that not a single news account of DesLauriers’ retirement that I could find mentioned the Todashev incident. The AP version did, however, allow DesLauriers to backdate his interest in retirement and the Penske job to March, weeks before the bombing.
Square that with this quote from April:
As a 26-year veteran of the FBI, DesLauriers spent most of that time in the counterespionage unit, transferring between bureaus in Boston, New York, and Washington.
He was the FBI’s deputy assistant director heading counterintelligence operations when he was named special agent in charge in Boston in 2010 – just as the storied Operation Ghost Stories investigation ended.
“It was my desire to get back to Boston, this is my home,” he said.
The attacks at the Boston Marathon were also personal for DesLauriers, a sports fan and an avid runner.
“The fact that a marathon with such a cherished tradition like the Boston Marathon, the fact that there would be acts of violence against runners and spectators, at such a wonderful event, I found it particularly galling,” he said.
Again and again DesLauriers has been portrayed as the glue holding the bombing case together, a uniquely qualified counter-intel vet who has handled big jobs before. Yet two months into a giant case and after just three years as SAC, he’s off to Bloomfield Hills.
Meanwhile, an internal review board has yet to say anything on the Todashev matter. Publicly.
Bonus Observation: Worth noting that Paul Stiles thought something was up with DesLauriers long before the Todashev incident, noting that after the bombing suspect’s capture in April, the FBI chief did not seem happy:
The FBI agent in charge, Richard DesLauriers, was one of the last to speak and he read a short statement from a note card. What really stood out to me was his attitude. He was almost depressed and seemed like he had a lot on his mind. After watching earlier press conferences, he would speak first and was always confident. There was no doubt that he was in charge. In this latest press conference he was definitely not in charge and the confidence was absent.
My thoughts turned to the FBI decision to release the photos to the public. With all the photos available, I had little doubt that the FBI’s facial recognition software had already identified the suspects. Releasing the photos was a way to smoke out a suspect and since events began to unfold within an hour of the release, it was pretty obvious that the FBI knew the suspects, possibly their location and had a plan to exploit their response.
Someone screwed up and reading between the lines of tonight’s press conference, it appears that the blame will fall on the FBI and Special Agent DesLauriers. … It looks like DesLauriers has failed his high-viability test, and by the look on his face, I think he knows it.
Possible, but I really think events in Florida pushed things over the top.