FBI Salt Lake City
Press Office
November 30, 2018

FBI Salt Lake City Division Announces Retirement of Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Barnhart

Eric K. Barnhart, special agent in charge of the Salt Lake City Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced he will retire from the FBI, effective December 31, 2018, after 22 years of dedicated and distinguished service.

Mr. Barnhart has led the Salt Lake City Division since June of 2015. Under his leadership, Mr. Barnhart oversaw many significant investigations and high profile cases, including: the coordinated takedown involving a Russian organized crime group involved in drug trafficking and counterfeit electronics trafficking, the arrest of a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer charged with spying for China, and the arrest of fugitive polygamous leader Lyle Jeff. Mr. Barnhart also served as relief on-scene commander during the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. In addition to his leadership role, Mr. Barnhart actively engaged with the community and law enforcement partners, as community outreach was one of his top priorities. He participated in many community events, including the NAACP Hate Crime Summit, a town hall forum on the opioid crisis, and a “Protecting Houses of Worship” forum.

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Mr. Barnhart began his FBI career in 1996 as a special agent in the Portland Division, where he was assigned to the Organized Crime/Drug squad. He also worked in the Bend Resident Agency, investigating all program matters, before he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Eurasia Unit of the Office of International Operations at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ) in 2006. In 2008, Mr. Barnhart returned to the Salt Lake City Division when he was promoted to supervisory senior resident agent of the Billings, Montana Resident Agency. In 2012, Mr. Barnhart was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Portland Division where he was responsible for Criminal and Administrative matters. In June of 2013, he was selected as the special assistant to then FBI Director James Comey.

“Eric has been an outstanding special agent in charge of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office,” said John Huber, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah. “Eric is the epitome of what we envision when we think of an FBI agent. He has played a leadership role in targeting white collar criminals, gang leaders, health care fraudsters, those who would steal our nation’s secrets, as well as domestic and international terrorists—to name just a few. He has been a coalition builder in his work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and has raised the bar of professionalism. Simply put, his dedicated service has made Utah neighborhoods and our nation much safer. We recognize and appreciate the excellent work he has done and wish him nothing but the best as he begins a new chapter in his career.”

“The public’s expectation for keeping our communities safe is that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies will coordinate their resources and work well together. We’ve been very fortunate to have Eric Barnhart leading the FBI team in Utah,” said Keith Squires, Utah Commissioner of Public Safety (Ret.). “Eric’s personal efforts and influence have been remarkable. The professional interagency relationships and FBI services have never been better.”

Mr. Barnhart has accepted a position in the private sector.