Mpls. FBI head leaves bureau after 20-year career

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The head of the FBI in Minneapolis is retiring after 20 years with the bureau to return to practicing law, and he said he hopes to one day become a judge.

Special Agent in Charge Don Oswald told The Associated Press on Monday that leaving the bureau is hard, but he has had longtime aspirations of being a judge in south Florida, where he previously practiced law and served as a traffic magistrate.

"I really would like to pursue that other career option, so I made a personal decision that I was going to close the bureau chapter and move on," Oswald said. "I don't know how it will unfold."

Oswald, 53, joined the bureau in 1992. He's been overseeing the FBI's operations in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota since last May — an appointment he called the "pinnacle of an agent's career" at the time.

He took over while the Minnesota office was in the middle of an investigation into the recruitment and travels of young Somali men who left the state to possibly fight with a terrorist group in their homeland. In recent years, authorities said, more than 20 young Somali men left Minnesota to support al-Shabab in Somalia. Oswald said working with the Somali community remains a priority.

"We continue to focus on our liaison with the Somali community, because of the importance of that community and the potential connection to al-Shabab in their homeland, which is still a concern to the FBI," he said.

During his tenure, agents also focused on combating economic espionage in the private sector. He said his staff put a lot of effort into working with companies so they could protect themselves against potential threats.

Oswald said he enjoyed his time in Minnesota and appreciated the cooperative attitude between federal, local and state agencies.

He said if he saw things that needed to be changed, he changed them, but added: "I didn't have to come here and fix anything. I just had to keep it running and fine tune it."

Oswald's last day is May 2.

His successor will be Chris Warrener, who is coming from the counterterrorism division at FBI headquarters. He's expected to arrive in Minnesota this summer.

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