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Hector Pesquera: BSO Taps Expertise Of Miami FBI Veteran Hes Grilled About 9/11
Hector Pesquera: BSO Taps Expertise Of Miami FBI Veteran
BY WANDA J. DeMARZO
April 1, 2004
The former head of the Miami FBI field office has accepted a position as the Broward Sheriff's Office's coordinator of homeland security.
His first day on the job is today.
Hector Pesquera, who retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Dec. 30, will be BSO's liaison with local, state and federal agencies involved in homeland security issues. He will work closely with his new boss, Sheriff Ken Jenne, who serves as chairman of the Southeast Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force.
[He will act as the liaison between the Sheriff's Office and the other agencies involved in homeland security. His tasks will include developing anti-terrorism training for the Sheriff's Office and improving the agency's technology capabilities and bioterrorism defenses. Pesquera joined the FBI in 1976 and spent 27 years there, including the last five as the Miami chief. He was the first Hispanic chief. He also worked in Tampa, in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the FBI's Washington headquarters as a foreign counterintelligence supervisor, and as the special agent in charge in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.]
In a news release, Jenne said Pesquera understands national security and what role law enforcement plays.
''He's going to be able to accomplish our mission, which is to make South Florida as safe as it can be,'' Jenne said.
Pesquera will also work with BSO's training division to develop homeland security training for deputies and employees. Pesquera will also be charged with improving BSO's information, intelligence and technology capabilities and to enhance bioterrorism defenses.
Pesquera, who will make $98,000 a year, will coordinate BSO's disaster response.
Pesquera attended school in Puerto Rico, his birthplace, and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico.
After serving with the Air National Guard, Pesquera joined the FBI in 1976.
BSO's New Official Grilled
BSO's new Homeland Security Coordinator is questioned about performance in his last job as head of the FBI's Miami field office before 9/11.
By ASHLEY FANTZ
April 14, 2004
The former director of the FBI's Miami field office faced hard questions about 9/11 Tuesday, less than two weeks into his new job as Homeland Security Coordinator for the Broward Sheriff's Office.
At a Port Everglades press conference, Sheriff Ken Jenne said he hired Hector Pesquera to improve crippled communication between federal and local authorities -- a flaw that has been repeatedly emphasized in testimony before the 911 Commission in Washington, D.C.
But Pesquera refused to address questions about how his office performed before the terrorist attacks, deferring to comments by FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela in the April 10 edition of The Herald.
Orihuela said the Miami office received one directive in the spring of 2001 from FBI headquarters that ``generally warned of a heightened threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. interests overseas.''
She said a single agent was assigned to contact sources, but nothing came of that investigation.
Asked whether the Miami office might have done anything differently that would have led agents to hijackers living and studying at flight schools in South Florida, Pesquera flatly replied, ``no.''
Regarding a July 10, 2001, memo issued by an FBI field agent in Phoenix, Ariz., recommending that the FBI investigate if al Qaeda operatives were training at U.S. flight schools -- information revealed in recent 911 testimony -- Pesquera said, ``It's all speculative in nature. I'm not even aware of the Arizona memo.''
Pesquera's BSO job will put him at the center of efforts aimed at protecting Broward against a terrorist assault, Jenne said.
That includes a domestic security drill scheduled for June 17 at Port Everglades that will involve BSO and other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Southeast Regional Domestic Security Task Force, which is chaired by Jenne.
NO STRATEGIES YET
Since starting at BSO April 1, Pesquera said he's not had time to establish any specific strategies to improve intelligence sharing. ''I have to meet with the sheriff and take a look,'' he said.
Jenne said he had worked with Pesquera for several years, and approached him when he learned of the agent's retirement in December.
Born in Puerto Rico, he served in the Air National Guard before joining the FBI in 1976. He worked as a special agent in Tampa, San Juan, Uruguay, and Miami.
Jenne described Pesquera as focused and hardworking. ``Hector is the type who always wanted to solve the problem, achieve a goal, and move on. He won't just be a good asset to BSO, but a great asset.''