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Head of FBI’s Dallas Office to Retire

Government

Special Agent-In-Charge Matthew DeSarno | Image by NBC DFW

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After 20 years with the FBI, the head of the Dallas Field Office announced his retirement on Tuesday.

While a successor has not yet been named, Special Agent-In-Charge Matthew DeSarno will leave his position at the end of October.

Although DeSarno led the Dallas Field Office for only a handful of years, he oversaw the FBI’s response to several major incidents in the area.

Having only been on the job a few weeks in 2019, DeSarno faced his first test when 22-year-old Army veteran Brian Isaack Clyde attacked the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse. While Clyde was shot and killed, no one else was seriously hurt in the attack.

At the time, DeSarno commented, “But for the actions for the Federal Protective Service officers, this likely would have been a very deadly incident.”

In 2020, he saw the field office through the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the protests and demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd.

On the public’s response to Floyd’s killing, DeSarno said, “During that time we spent a lot of time ensuring that we were protecting people’s First Amendment rights and holding criminals accountable for criminal activity.”

More recently, in 2022, a man named Malik Akram held four Jewish people hostage in a Colleyville synagogue. The standoff with police lasted 11 hours. After releasing one of his hostages through negotiations, the remaining three were rescued by a special FBI hostage team.

“It’s very likely this situation would have ended very badly early on in the day had we not had professional, consistent negotiation with the subject,” DeSarno remarked.

DeSarno was unequivocal in his condemnation of Akram after the hostages were rescued, calling it both a “hate crime” and an “act of terrorism.”

This week, the man who sold Akram the gun he used in the standoff, Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, was sentenced to 95 months because he was a convicted felon.

In a departing interview, DeSarno identified what he believes is the largest threat facing the United States today: cybersecurity and China.

“Cyber in general, that’s both criminal and national security cyber, and then the efforts, the ongoing, overt efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to replace the United States as the global power,” DeSarno said.

China aims to be the world’s sole hegemon by 2049, but Desarno remarked, “if they can accelerate that they will.”

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