Richard DesLauriers: The Special Agent in Charge

FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers has rounded up Russian spies and traded them for American agents. It's an experience that could prove useful in capturing the Boston Marathon bomber

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Officials take crime-scene photos, a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon, on April 16, 2013

On Friday, July 9, 2010, FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers disembarked from a chartered Vision Airlines jet on the tarmac of Vienna’s Schwechat International Airport, accompanied by 10 Russian sleeper agents and their families. Nearby, four Russian prisoners got off a plane that had just landed from Moscow. The two groups headed toward each other under the baking Central European summer sun for a rare and unusually large exchange of captured spies. It was the culmination of what a former senior Justice Department official calls “one of the most complicated and impressive counterintelligence operations” in recent U.S. history.

Less than three years later, DesLauriers is facing a very different challenge. As special agent in charge of the FBI office in Boston, DesLauriers, 53, is running the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into the Boston Marathon attacks, the first successful terrorist bombings on U.S. soil since 9/11. The bombing is a different kind of case from the one DesLauriers spent his career investigating: a 25-year veteran of counterintelligence, he made his bones running operations against foreign spies, not tracking down and busting terrorists. For DesLauriers and the FBI, the Boston Marathon bombing is a high-visibility test.

Former and current colleagues at the FBI and Justice Department say DesLauriers and the FBI are up to the task, and they say the roll-up and exchange of the Russian spies, dubbed Operation Ghost Stories, shows it. After 9/11 the FBI was criticized for failing to coordinate with other agencies and for being stuck in a Cold War–era mind-set. In the roll-up of Ghost Stories the FBI pulled off a politically and diplomatically delicate operation that involved coordination with multiple intelligence agencies, U.S. attorney’s offices and local field agents. “Rick is the real deal,” says David Kris, former assistant attorney general for National Security during the Russian roll-up, “He’s very, very good, extremely methodical and organized.”

On paper, DesLauriers looks like a classic FBI special agent. He grew up in Longmeadow, Mass., went to Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and then got a J.D. at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. — “a good Catholic boy,” says his friend and former FBI colleague John Slattery, who worked with him in counterespionage for 15 years. DesLauriers joined the FBI as a special agent in 1987 and went straight into spy work. After a few years in New York and D.C., he returned to Boston in 1997 ultimately supervising the FBI’s counterintelligence programs in the Northeast. In March 2008, he was promoted to head the FBI’s counterintelligence operations and espionage investigations as deputy assistant director.

Richard DesLauriers

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers

After the 2008 election, DesLauriers was given the unenviable assignment of rolling up Operation Ghost Stories. The Obama Administration, prodded by the powerful new CIA chief Leon Panetta, decided to deliver on a long-standing desire of the agency’s clandestine service to free four agents who had been jailed by the Russians. Looking around for something to trade for them, the Administration settled on the Russian sleepers, foreign agents being watched by the FBI while operating in America. The plan was to arrest and trade the 10 Russian sleepers in the U.S. for the four agents being held in Moscow.

“The bureau had to figure out, O.K., how in the hell do we play this,” says Slattery. The case would require DesLauriers to coordinate hundreds of people in different agencies, successfully arrest the spies without alerting them beforehand, and collect enough evidence of the spies’ activities to ensure they could be convicted.

But the toughest part could have been getting FBI field agents to work with the CIA. Operation Ghost Stories was one of the FBI counterintelligence division’s biggest successes. For more than a decade, agents had been running wires and surveillance on the 10 “illegals,” Russian nationals who were living and working in the U.S. under deep cover and without the protection of diplomatic immunity. “These were some of the best intelligence operatives the Russians have ever had,” says the former senior Justice Department official. And until they were arrested, they were unaware the FBI was monitoring them as passed intelligence to handlers from the Russian government.

Throughout the Cold War, the FBI and CIA famously clashed over intelligence matters, and the 9/11 Commission Report found miscommunication between the agencies had contributed to missing the plot. So when the FBI counterintelligence division was told that it should roll up one of its most successful operations against unsuspecting spies and give them a free ticket home in exchange for some captured CIA agents, not everyone was happy. Says Slattery, “There was a broader national-security equity at stake. Rick saw that and I think communicating that down to the agents in the field, everybody accepted that in the end it was a great case, despite the fact that it didn’t end with anybody sitting in jail for a real long time.”

Not all DesLauriers’ characteristics are well suited for counterterrorism. “He comes across as a bit bookish,” says the former senior Justice Department official. Obsessed about being read into the details of the cases, DesLauriers “could be criticized for overdoing it,” says Slattery, meaning his friend is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to being prepared. And where counterintelligence agents can spend years monitoring suspects without arresting them, counterterrorism cases can be rapidly changing.

But Slattery and others say the Russian roll-up shows DesLauriers is up to managing a complicated case like the Boston bombing. FBI director Robert Mueller apparently agrees: he named DesLauriers to run the Boston FBI office on July 1, 2010, eight days before the Massachusetts native would complete the Operation Ghost Stories spy swap at the airport in Vienna.

PHOTOS: A Photographer’s View of the Carnage

VIDEO: To Catch a Terrorist: Where the Investigation Starts


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Fox newsman Ben Swann asks if Boston was FBI entrapment gone awry
Apr 17, 2013 

The host of the popular news program Reality Check has asked if the Second Boston Massacre, as it is coming to be known, was a case of FBI entrapment which followed a tragic path similar to the known entrapment case of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. VIDEO Ben Swann Reality Check: Did the FBI know about Boston bombing beforehand? In the 1993 bombing, an Egyptian informant captured FBI agents on hundreds of hours of tape discussing the luring of suspects into a plot which would eventually kill six people and injure thousands. The FBI's plan was to substitute a harmless black powder for gunpowder, but somehow the FBI, in the informant's words, "messed up." The taped evidence was never allowed into the trial of the conspirators. The New York Times was given copies of the tapes. In an article "Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast," the New York Times reports an exchange between FBI agents and Emad A. Salem, 43-year-old former Egyptian army officer who had been recruited to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists: "In one of the first numbered tapes, Mr. Salem is quoted as telling agent Floyd: "Since the bomb went off I feel terrible. I feel bad. I feel here is people who don't listen." Ms. Floyd seems to commiserate, saying, "hey, I mean it wasn't like you didn't try and I didn't try." In an apparent reference to Mr. Salem's complaints about the supervisor, Agent Floyd adds, "You can't force people to do the right thing."" Swann calls attention to a last-minute sweep of the finish line at the Boston Marathon, by bomb-sniffing dogs, just before the blasts. It was announced to the audience and runners not to "worry," and that the sweep was a "training exercise." The 1993 World Trade Center bombing is one of numerous instances of the CIA and FBI working closely with terrorist elements from abroad in order to ostensibly serve a national security purpose. In February of 2012, at the sentencing of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," flight passenger Kurt Haskell said in court, in his victim impact statement, that he had seen personnel with security clearances usher Umar into a secure area which bypassed airport security. Haskell said in his court statement: "In closing I will just say that regardless of how the media and government try to shape the public perception of this case, I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. Government agent and placed on our flight without showing a passport or going through security, to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies." Kurt Haskell Flight 253 Victim Impact Statement After the Underwear Bomber episode, airports began implementing a policy of full body searches, including either electromagnetic imaging to see beneath clothing, or hand searches which some have deemed invasive of privacy.


The FBI's investigation in this instance tends to prove why raising taxes to administrate justice and protect the People outweighs countervailing arguments. 


I wish only success to Mr. DesLauriers in the investigation, but two extraneous parts of this report caused me to remember that there was no reported harm done by the Russian spies, and they were traded for our own real spies.  The other is the "good Catholic boy" bit and remembering Robert Hanssen, another FBI counterespionage agent who would be called "a bad Catholic boy", and with whom  DesLauriers probably knew and worked with.  Again, just extraneous thoughts spurred by extraneous matters in this report.


Mr Massimo Calabresi being a good reporter include, describe the complete story. You just forgot to mention the anarchist that when the explotion ocurr the ransack the stores in the vecinity instead of helping the wounded. Thank you


What a huge task for this guy.  Certainly a career make or break for him.


I just want to see this case solved, and these criminals behind bars for their rest of their miserable lives.

The damage these bombers have done is just unspeakable.


“There was a broader national security equity at stake. Rick saw that and I think communicating that down to the agents in the field, everybody accepted that in the end it was a great case, despite the fact that it didn’t end with anybody sitting in jail for a real long time.”

It's the end result that counts.



February 22, 2013
FBI agents caught sexting and dating drug dealers
Dating drug dealers, harassing ex-boyfriends with naked pictures, and pointing guns at pet dogs: these were just a few of the offences committed recently by serving FBI agents, according to internal documents.
The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.
Disciplinary files from the Bureau's Office of Professional Responsibility record an extraordinary range of transgressions that reveal the chaotic personal lives of some of America's top law enforcers.

One male agent was sacked after police were called to his mistress's house following reports of domestic incident. When officers arrived they found the agent "drunk and uncooperative" and eventually had to physically subdue him and wrestle away his loaded gun.

A woman e-mailed a "nude photograph of herself to her ex-boyfriend's wife" and then continued to harass the couple despite two warnings from senior officials. The Bureau concluded she was suffering from depression related to the break-up and allowed her to return to work after 10 days. 



Buffalo FBI Agent Busted
Dec 10, 2012   

BUFFALO, NY - A Special Agent working in the Buffalo office of the FBI is due in Eden Town Court later this month, after being arrested by New York State Police last Friday night, charged with exposing himself to a fellow motorist on the New York State Thruway.

State Police Lt. David Denz confirmed for WGRZ-TV that John A. Yervelli Jr., 48, of Lakeview, was charged with Public Lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

According to Denz, a truck driver from central New York was traveling in the right lane while east bound on the Thruway near mile marker 442, between Exits 57 and 57A, when he noticed a grey minivan pull alongside him in the passing lane.

The trucker told police that when he looked down, he noticed the driver of the other vehicle (who had turned his dome light on) was not wearing pants.

"At that point the complainant stated that the driver of the minivan was exposing himself and making lewd gestures," Denz told 2 On Your Side.



FBI Workers Suspected of Secretly Taping Teens in Dressing Room

 April 20, 2009,2933,517222,00.html

Two FBI workers are accused of using surveillance equipment to spy on teenage girls as they undressed and tried on prom gowns at a charity event at a West Virginia mall.

The FBI employees have been charged with conspiracy and committing criminal invasion of privacy. They were working in an FBI satellite control room at the mall when they positioned a camera on temporary changing rooms and zoomed in for at least 90 minutes on girls dressing for the Cinderella Project fashion show, Marion County Prosecutor Pat Wilson said Monday.



Boston FBI SAC  Richard DSauliers was implicated last month in forcing Reddit co-inventor Aaron Swartz to commit suicide

Google Boston FBI OFFICE Aaron Swartz reddit

DSauliers has also been the principal architect behind the continuing FBI  coverup of the Whitey Bulger affair in which

the  Boston FBI Crime family collaborated with the Whitey Bukger crime family in over 20 murders.



FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

Tuesday February 17, 2004 11:46 PM
The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for what became a two-decade career.

John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last week to 12 years in prison in Tarrant County court in Fort Worth, Texas, after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before he began his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.