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FBI promotes three cyber leaders

FB headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: faustasyan / Shutterstock.com)

The FBI announced three personnel moves April 13, including the elevation of a top cybersecurity official to the No. 3 leadership spot.

Director Christopher Wray announced that Paul Abbate, who has worked as executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch since December 2016, will take over as associate deputy director of the bureau. Before that, he served as a special agent in the Counterterrorism Division and helped direct FBI operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The elevation of Abbate is another signal of how critical cybercrime expertise has become to the FBI as it increasingly focuses on the digital world. Abbate has worked with cybercrime cases like the 2014 Yahoo hack and a $1 billion bribery and bid rigging scheme by technology contractor Nova Datacom in 2015. He has expressed a belief that the bureau should not approach cybercrimes in isolation, but rather view them as an extension of terrorism, foreign intelligence operations and traditional criminal threats.

The FBI also announced that Abbate’s old job will be filled by David T. Resch, a 22-year veteran of the bureau. Resch has worked in many capacities during his tenure, including as a supervisory special agent for the Gangs, Violent Crimes and Cyber program at the Richmond, Va., field office and most recently as assistant director of the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.

The man Abbate is replacing, David Bowdich, will be promoted to deputy director of the FBI. Bowdich was part of the bureau’s leadership team that announced indictments against Iranian hackers for stealing U.S. and international research data in March 2018.

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