Thomas J. Pickard

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Thomas J. Pickard
Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
June 25, 2001 – September 4, 2001
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Louis Freeh (Director)
Succeeded by Robert Mueller (Director)
Personal details
Born (1950-01-06) January 6, 1950 (age 66)
Woodside, New York, U.S.

Thomas J. Pickard (born January 6, 1950) was an acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 71 days in the summer of 2001 following the tenure of Director Louis Freeh. He was replaced one week before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Born in Woodside, Queens, New York. He graduated from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn with a BBA in accounting, and subsequently received his MBA in taxation from St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed by the state of New York.

Pickard began his career as a Special Agent of the FBI on January 13, 1975, and after a period of training, he was initially assigned to the New York City field office. 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, Pickard was promoted to FBI Headquarters, serving in the Inspection and Criminal Investigative Divisions. In October 1984, Pickard reported to the New York City field office as a supervisor in the White-Collar Crime Section and later was appointed to be the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for all White-Collar Crime investigations and violent crime matters in New York.

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 transferred to the New York City Office once again, to serve as the Special Agent in Charge of the National Security Division, supervising such matters as the trials of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing defendants, the trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman and his co-conspirators, the Manila Air conviction of Ramzi Yousef and his associates, and the July 1996, TWA Flight 800 explosion.

On September 10, 1996, FBI Director Louis Freeh named Pickard to the position of Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington field office. During his tenure there, Pickard supervised such matters as the investigation and arrest of FBI Special Agent Earl Pitts for espionage and the capture of convicted CIA killer Mir Amir Kansi.

On February 2, 1998, Pickard assumed the position of Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters. On November 1, 1999, Pickard was appointed Deputy Director, the number two position at the FBI. On June 25, 2001, Pickard was appointed Acting Director of the FBI by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Among the career challenges FBI agent John P. O'Neill faced during the late 1990s and the early 2000s, as 9/11 approached, were O'Neill's own personality and the FBI's bureaucracy, and Pickard in particular has been implicated as an opponent of O'Neill. Among other disruptions of O'Neill's career was a leak to The New York Times; in the PBS Frontline documentary “The Man Who Knew.” O'Neill's significant other said O'Neill suspected Pickard might have leaked information to the Times, but when confronted Pickard assured O'Neill that he had not. The Times story was seen as a final signal by O'Neill that he should leave the FBI, and O'Neill died weeks later in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, where he had taken a position as chief of security.

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Government offices
Preceded by
Louis Freeh
Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Succeeded by
Robert Mueller