Home About Us History Directors, Then and Now Thomas J. Pickard

Thomas J. Pickard


Thomas J. Pickard
Acting Director
June 25, 2001 - September 4, 2001

Mr. Pickard was born in Woodside, Queens, New York. He graduated from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York, and subsequently received his Master’s Degree from St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed by the state of New York.

Mr. Pickard began his career as a special agent of the FBI on January 13, 1975, and after a period of training, he was initially assigned to the New York City Field Office. In April 1979, Mr. Pickard was transferred to the Washington, D.C., Field Office, where he worked in an undercover capacity on the case code-named “ABSCAM.” In July 1980, Mr. Pickard was promoted to FBI Headquarters, serving in the Inspection and Criminal Investigative Divisions. In October 1984, Mr. Pickard reported to the New York City Field Office as a supervisor in the White-Collar Crime Section and later was appointed assistant special agent in charge for all white-collar crime investigations and violent crime matters in New York.

In 1989, Mr. Pickard was selected for the FBI’s Senior Executive Service and was transferred to FBI Headquarters, where he oversaw the FBI’s finance operations and subsequently its personnel operations. In 1993, Mr. Pickard was transferred to the New York City FIeld Office once again, to serve as the special agent in charge of the National Security Division, supervising such matters as the trials of the World Trade Center defendants, the trail of the Blind Sheik and his co-conspirators, the Manila Air conviction of Ramzi Youssef and his associates, and the July 1996 TWA Flight 800 explosion.

On September 10, 1996, FBI Director Louis Freeh named Mr. Pickard to the position of assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office (WFO). During his tenure at WFO, Mr. Pickard supervised such matters as the investigation and arrest of FBI Special Agent Earl Pitts for espionage and the capture of convicted CIA killer Mir Aimal Kasi.

On February 2, 1998, Mr. Pickard assumed the position of assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters. On November 1, 1999, Mr. Pickard was appointed deputy director, the number two position at the FBI. On June 25, 2001, Mr Pickard was appointed Acting Director of the FBI by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Directors, Then and Now

- James B. Comey, 2013-Present
- Robert S. Mueller, III, 2001-2013
- Thomas J. Pickard (acting), 2001
- Louis J. Freeh, 1993-2001
- Floyd I. Clarke (acting), 1993
- William S. Sessions, 1987-1993
- John E. Otto (acting), 1987
- William H. Webster, 1978-1987
- James B. Adams (acting), 1978
- Clarence M. Kelley, 1973-1978
- William D. Ruckelshaus (acting), 1973
- L. Patrick Gray (acting), 1972-1973
- J. Edgar Hoover, 1924-1972
- William J. Burns, 1921-1924
- William J. Flynn, 1919-1921
- William E. Allen (acting), 1919
- Alexander B. Bielaski, 1912-1919
- Stanley W. Finch, 1908-1912

‪The FBI Director:
Background on the Position‬
‪Since its beginning in 1908, the FBI has been led by a single individual. At first called “Chief,” this leader has been titled “Director” since the term of William Flynn (1919-1921). The FBI Director has answered directly to the attorney general since the 1920s.‬ ‪Under the Omnibus Crime Control Act and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Public Law 90-3351, the Director is appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the Senate. On October 15, 1976, in reaction to the extraordinary 48-year term of J. Edgar Hoover, Congress passed Public Law 94-503, limiting the FBI Director to a single term of no longer than 10 years. ‪Details