- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

A veteran FBI agent who served as the on-scene commander for agents deployed to Tanzania during the 1998 investigation of the al Qaeda terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy has been named to lead the bureau’s Counterterrorism Division.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III made the announcement yesterday, noting that Joseph Billy Jr. has been credited by top Justice Department officials with pioneering several initiatives to help fight against international terrorism.

“Joe Billy’s broad experience in counterterrorism and counterintelligence over his FBI career makes him uniquely qualified to fill the position of assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division,” Mr. Mueller said.

Mr. Billy, who has served as acting assistant director since June, has worked as a field agent in New York City; a supervisor in the Foreign Counterintelligence Program; a supervisor of an FBI/New York City Police Department Joint Terrorism Task Force; and as an assistant special agent in charge.

In addition to his command position in Tanzania, he led an FBI contingent of experienced terrorist agents to Northern Ireland in 1998 to assist the police in a terrorist investigation.

Mr. Billy, a 28-year FBI veteran, recently told reporters of his concerns about weapons of mass destruction, undetected homegrown terrorists and the possibility that mobsters in this country could team up with al Qaeda terrorists for the right price.

While there is no direct evidence that mob figures in this country have made any effort to hook up with terrorists, his concerns about a possible connection continues.

Those concerns were heightened when undercover FBI agents stopped a man with suspected mob ties from selling missiles to an informant posing as a terrorist middleman.

“We are continuing to look for a nexus. We are looking at this very aggressively,” Mr. Billy said. “We have developed an ability to look harder and broader in a greatly enhanced way to see if there is any crossover.”

Mr. Billy was promoted in 1999 to section chief in charge of international training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., where he was responsible for a wide range of programs, including leadership training and continuing professional development training for FBI employees. During his tenure at the academy, he served as acting assistant director in charge, where he was responsible for all aspects of FBI training.

In February 2002, he was appointed special agent in charge of the New York field office’s National Security Division and later as special agent in charge of the new Counterterrorism Division, which was formed in New York. In February 2004, he was named as special agent in charge of the Newark, N.J., field office and in March 2005, he returned to Washington headquarters to oversee the FBI’s international terrorism operations.

Mr. Billy holds a masters degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

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