- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Former Assistant U.S. Customs Commissioner Bonni G. Tischler, the first woman to head the agency’s Office of Investigations, died of breast cancer Aug. 9 at George Washington University Hospital. She was 60.

At one time, Miss Tischler was the country’s highest-ranking female federal law-enforcement agent.

“During her 30-year federal law-enforcement career, Miss Tischler served her nation with distinction, and she leaves an unparalleled legacy of dedication, innovation and achievement,” said Robert C. Bonner, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security.

“No other woman in federal law enforcement has ever achieved what Bonni Tischler accomplished during her long career.”

Miss Tischler was one of the first women to serve as a U.S. sky marshal in 1971. Six years later, she was one of the first to work undercover, taking part in Operation Greenback, which snared a massive money-laundering conspiracy in Miami.

In 1987, she took charge as special agent in charge of the Customs field office in Tampa, Fla., becoming the first woman to head such an office. She oversaw the investigation into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Miss Tischler in 1997 became the first female assistant commissioner for Customs’ Office of Investigations, where she had responsibility for the largest money-laundering probe in U.S. history, Operation Casablanca, and for Operation Cheshire Cat, the largest international child pornography and exploitation case.

In June 2000, she was named to head Customs’ Office of Field Operations, the largest segment of the agency. In that position, she oversaw border security, trade compliance, anti-smuggling policies and 13,000 Customs employees at more than 300 ports of entry.

Mr. Bonner said Miss Tischler delayed her retirement after the September 11 terrorist attacks to address what needed to be done to keep trade and the economy moving, and to provide security at the borders against the threat of terrorists.

Miss Tischler retired from Customs in June 2002, joining Pinkerton’s Inc. as vice president of global transportation and supply-chain security.

In May 2000, the National Center for Women & Policing recognized her with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to the female law-enforcement officers whose successful careers have helped other women in law enforcement follow in their footsteps.

Miss Tischler graduated from the University of Florida in 1966 with a degree in broadcast communications.

She was diagnosed twice with breast cancer and beat it before succumbing to a third appearance of the disease.

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