New York FBI Chief Investigated About Alleged Affair
By Ryan J. Reilly | March 18, 2010 8:52 pm

Joseph Demarest (Getty)

The head of the FBI’s largest office is under internal investigation in connection with an alleged affair he had with a co-worker.

The story was first reported by the Web site Tickle the Wire, which covers news on federal law enforcement.

Joseph M. Demarest Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Division, has been temporarily re-assigned to headquarters in Washington while the Bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigates the matter, according to Tickle the Wire.

A person familiar with the investigation told Main Justice that Demarest’s account of the relationship differed from one given by his subordinate, who is involved in intelligence. The investigation has been under way since at least January, the person said.

Demarest is a 21-year veteran of the FBI, except for a brief foray into a job in the private sector in 2008. In October 2006, he was named Special Agent in Charge of the New York Counterterrorism Division.

He left the bureau in February 2008 to take a security position with Goldman Sachs, but returned in December 2008, when he was named the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Division.

According to his FBI bio, Demarest has overseen several major investigations. They include Operation HIGHRISE, in which Afghan immigrant Najibullah Zazi, who was accused of conspiring to blow up New York City’s subway, pleaded guilty in February to terrorism related offenses; the Bernard Madoff case; and the piracy investigation of MV Maersk Alabama.

A fitness enthusiast, he is married and has two children, according to a 2006 FBI news release on his promotion.

Richard J. Kolko, an FBI spokesman, told Main Justice that the FBI does not comment on internal matters.

In December, another top FBI official, Joseph Persichini Jr., the head of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., office, announced his retirement following controversy about whether he cheated on an open-book test he took last fall.

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