FBI Oklahoma City
Press Office
April 26, 2019

FBI Oklahoma City Division Announces Retirement of Special Agent in Charge Kathryn Peterson

Kathryn Peterson, special agent in charge (SAC) of the Oklahoma City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will be retiring from the FBI, effective April 30, 2019, after 29 years of dedicated and distinguished service.

Ms. Peterson has led the Oklahoma City Division since July of 2016. During her tenure SAC Peterson oversaw several significant investigations and high profile cases to include: the arrest and conviction of Al Qaeda trained Naif Alfallaj who was living in Weatherford, Oklahoma, attempting to obtain a pilot’s license; the arrest and conviction of Jerry Drake Varnell for plotting and attempting to detonate a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City; the arrest and conviction of Danielle Layman for the unlawful possession of the deadly toxin ricin and attempted murder-for-hire; the arrest of former scientist Hongjin Tan, a Chinese national and U.S. legal resident, for the attempted theft of prominent trade secrets worth more than $1 billion; and the manhunt of Michael Vance who was wanted for the shooting of two law enforcement officers and the murder of his two relatives.

In addition, SAC Peterson oversaw multiple coordinated takedowns by the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force of dozens of individuals involved in an international and multi-state Irish Mob and Mexican Cartel drug and ammunitions trafficking operation.

Ms. Peterson invigorated the Division’s community and law enforcement partnerships across the state, as she not only valued but placed a precedence on the importance of continuous outreach and engagement. She created close and lasting partnerships between the FBI and local community, religious, academic, minority group, law enforcement, military, and congressional leaders.

Ms. Peterson began her career of service in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst. She then joined the FBI in 1990 as a special agent assigned to the Milwaukee Division. She served as a member of the Division’s SWAT team, where she assisted in the manhunt for the Olympic Park bomber and participated in the Montana Freeman standoff.

In 1995, she served a 60-day temporary duty assignment in support of the FBI’s investigation of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing in Oklahoma City.

In 1999, Ms. Peterson was promoted to supervisory special agent assigned to the National Security Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

From 2003 to 2010 she served in the Chicago Field Office, supervising counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. During her time in Chicago, Ms. Peterson’s leadership was integral to the conviction of an American, David Coleman Headley, for his role in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

Following assignments as the assistant special agent in charge of the Albany Division and assistant section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters; Ms. Peterson was promoted as a senior executive service inspector in the Inspection Division of FBI Headquarters, where she served from 2014 to 2016.