The head of the FBI’s New York office has been permanently reassigned to FBI headquarters in Washington, an FBI spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
Joseph Demarest, who had been reassigned to headquarters on a temporary basis while the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated a relationship he allegedly had with a subordinate in his office, has been named Assistant Director of the International Operations Division, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said.
The FBI’s New York Office will be headed by George Venizelos, who will serve as acting assistant director in charge until a permanent chief is found, Kolko told Main Justice. Venizelos, a senior special agent in charge at the New York office, has been leading the office while Demarest was on temporary reassignment.
The news was first reported Wednesday by the website Tickle The Wire, which covers news on federal law enforcement.
FBI headquarters did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
UPDATE 4:13 p.m. The FBI National Press Office gave Main Justice this release:
Joseph M. Demarest, Jr. Named Assistant Director of International Operations Division
Director Robert S. Mueller, III has named Joseph M. Demarest, Jr. assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division (IOD). Most recently, Mr. Demarest served as assistant director in charge (ADIC) of the FBI’s New York Division. In his new role, he will be responsible for leading the FBI’s international and overseas law enforcement and liaison efforts.
“In his new role, Joe will be responsible for more than 600 FBI employees here at FBI Headquarters and across the globe in our Legal Attaché offices. IOD plays an integral role in our national security mission by building trusted relationships with our foreign law enforcement and intelligence partners,” said Director Mueller.
Mr. Demarest began his career at the FBI in 1988 as a special agent. He was initially assigned to the Anchorage Division, where he investigated white collar crime, drug, violent crime, and foreign counterintelligence cases. In 1990, he was transferred to the New York Division, where he was assigned to a Colombian drug squad. He was promoted to squad supervisor in 1999, and was selected as SWAT team leader. In 2000, he was selected to serve as the drug branch’s acting assistant special agent in charge.
After 9/11, Mr. Demarest was selected as one of two shift commanders for the PENTTBOM investigation. In that position, he led an ad hoc task force of over 400 federal, state, and local investigators from over 40 agencies to address the more than 5,500 PENTTBOM-related leads daily.
Mr. Demarest was promoted to unit chief at FBI Headquarters in 2002, where he served in the International Terrorism Operations Section (ITOS) within the Counterterrorism Division. In 2003, he was promoted to assistant section chief of ITOS. He later served as an acting section chief in ITOS until he was promoted to management positions in the International Terrorism Branch for the New York Division, ultimately becoming special agent in charge for Counterterrorism. He served in that role until early 2008.
In January 2009, Mr. Demarest began serving as the ADIC of the New York Division, where he oversaw several major investigations, including the terrorism investigation OPERATION HIGHRISE; the Bernard Madoff case; and the piracy investigation of MV Maersk Alabama.