After the co-leader of the FBI’s foreign influence task force left his post last month, he was replaced by someone who has no cyber security experience, according to a former FBI official who spoke with POLITICO.
Jeffrey Tricoli, a section chief in the FBI’s Cyber Division who oversaw efforts to counter Russian election meddling and similar activities, wanted a promotion to Special Agent in Charge and command of one of the FBI’s 56 field offices, said the former FBI official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
However, Tricoli was told by bureau management he had “too much cyber experience” and “not enough [experience] in criminal, terrorism, and counterintelligence”, according to the former FBI official.
Tricoli’s replacement, Reid Davis, is a former supervisor in the South Carolina Field Office and reportedly “knows nothing about cyber.”
A second former FBI official, who specialized in cyber matters, said Tricoli’s move to the private sector — he is now an executive at Charles Schwab — was “a loss for the FBI and the country” and “a symptom of a broader problem at the FBI.”
The second former FBI official said the bureau was “struggling to fully integrate counterintelligence and cyber” and that the task force’s lack of evident progress reflected this.
“The Bureau has not done enough to bring cyber expertise, tactics, and tradecraft into the counterintelligence fight. Hopefully whoever is running the [task force] recognizes that and does whatever they can to leverage those capabilities from within. A great CEO doesn’t need to know how to build the widget but they better hire folks who do.”