Remembering Operational Support Technician Diane Hunt
Remarks prepared for delivery.
Good morning. On behalf of all the men and women of the FBI, it’s an honor to be here today to remember Diane and pay tribute to her life.
Thank you, Prince, for sharing your mom with us throughout your life, and for sharing your memories here this morning. I’d also like to acknowledge Diane’s love for her son, Malcolm Xavier.
And I want to thank Diane’s closest friend and colleague, Monique Collura-Mencher, who wrote so eloquently about Diane, as you might have read in her obituary.
And last, but certainly not least, I would like to recognize Father James Ferus, the communities of Regis High School, and our FBI Family, which all meant so much to Diane.
I’m also told how much it meant to Diane that our “Casey’s Companions” volunteers took her to and from doctors’ appointments and chemo. I believe some of them are here with us today, as well.
For those of you who may not know, Diane joined the Bureau in August of 1988, and she spent 34 years of dedicated FBI service right here in New York. She loved our mission and was very proud to serve.
Diane chose the role of operational support technician—or the slang for that position—when she first started: “rotor.”
As a rotor, she was assigned to a specialized squad of FBI special agents. The agents likely thought Diane was there to “help” with their cases. And I guess that’s true, in the same way your brain is there to “help” your body get through the day.
She worked as the organization and executive functioning agent. Special agents would conduct interviews and collect evidence. And Diane would label and organize the information, guide it where it needed to go, decide what needed to be saved and for how long, what need to be uploaded and to where. And when follow-up interviews, prosecution, or testimony were warranted, Diane knew exactly which file was needed, where to go to look for it—and she would quickly have it at hand.
All of that is to say, Diane was happiest at work when the Bureau was winning and when others were in the spotlight.
Diane started her career—and spent the longest piece of it—working with the institutional fraud squad and going after scam artists trying to con people out of their life savings. She moved on to bank fraud and the squad that was going after corrupt Wall Street bankers in the 1990s. And she supported Operation PRIME NOTE in 1997. That operation included hundreds of indictments and tens of millions of dollars in recovered funds. She also helped to process 200 fraud violations reported by the banks through Suspicious Activity Reports.
I have to take off my FBI Director hat for a moment.
Earlier in my career, I served as a prosecutor. And the level of talent and rigor it takes to organize case files to successfully prosecute bank fraud cases is something I never take for granted. Because if anyone is going to be organized and have resources, it’s the defendants in those cases.
So when I hear that Diane’s squads had so much success, I’m confident that an awful lot of it was due to her talent and her diligence. Especially knowing she did all of that while supporting Prince and Malcolm as two small boys.
Diane was a vital part of our New York Office for 34 years.
We heard a little earlier about what it was like to have Diane as an FBI colleague from Monique’s tribute to her. Monique, thank you for sharing that. Through your words, we learned just how powerful the name Prince is in her life, and we got a sense for how much joy her sons gave her.
Prince, I’m told that it brought her a lot of comfort and happiness to know Malcolm was safe and cared for. And I’m also told that your success with your studies at Regis High School—and then joining Regis as staff—brought her more joy than anything else.
But I want to tell you something you unintentionally did for her that you may not even know about—something that brought her friendship and laughter and comfort and joy for decades. This is a story that goes back to the early ’90s, when Monique was in training as a rotor.
The one person Monique was a little afraid of and intimidated by back then was Diane Hunt—and she had the impression Diane didn’t like her at all. They might have continued to avoid each other, but Monique was asked to cover Diane’s squad while Diane was out on maternity leave with Prince.
Monique worked really hard while she was covering—and tried not to move anything on Diane’s desk.
Six weeks later—according to Monique—Diane told her, “I'm back. You can leave now.”
And Monique said, "Not a problem—you can have your squad back. But before I go, let me show you what I did for you."
Diane looked over Monique’s work, took a moment, and responded, "Do you want to go to lunch sometime?"
And the rest is history.
Diane and Monique were together through thick and thin after that, including on 9/11, when—as fate would have it—they found each other while evacuating. And they watched together as the first building collapsed.
You heard in Monique’s memorial that Diane was a “vital part of history following the events of September 11, 2001.” And that’s true.
The Bureau quickly put her talent for organization and executive functioning to work on PENTBOM. For any of you who don’t know, that’s the FBI name for the 9/11 case—the Pentagon/Twin Towers Bombing Investigation. I’m told Diane was right back at work within a week of the attacks, and she was a part of our effort to identify the hijackers and link them to al-Qaida.
After that, she would move on to squads that worked on high-profile public corruption cases, civil rights cases, and government fraud. And she closed her career working on an intelligence squad—backing the cases that counter threats from hostile foreign nations.
In many ways, in her 34 years with the FBI, she saw and did it all. And those she worked with could not have done their work without her.
In fact, so much of what made Diane special is that she worked so hard for success—for others’ success. She wanted to see the Bureau get its prosecutions, and her squad and her agents do well in the spotlight. She wanted to see Malcolm safe and happy, and Prince successful and fulfilled. And she invariably put others before herself to make those things a reality.
But, lest we think she didn’t have anything for herself, before I close, I do need to talk about Oscar.
Diane described Oscar as “temperamental,” “a prima donna,” and “a bit dramatic.” He could demand attention or could ask to be left alone. He might want to be whispered to in French or chatted up in Spanish.
For those of you who don’t know—Oscar is a plant.
Diane’s life was—literally—filled with plants. I’m told one room of her apartment had more than 100 plants in it, each of them with its own name, although Oscar was her favorite.
And Diane knew everything about plants. She could look at a leaf and tell you the full Latin species name and origin, and how to care for the plant it came from.
I find that fascinating. And to me, that’s not just a quirk. It connects with the way she approached life.
For one, you have to be a selfless person to tend plants—your joy comes from watching them grow and flourish. I can also see how her organized, categorical mind liked both studying and tending plants.
But it’s more than all that. Because Oscar had a personality. Diane said all her plants did.
And I think that’s something everyone here can learn from.
Most of us in the world are moving really fast most of the time. And many of us would glance into a room with 100 plants and say they’re not moving. They’re plants.
But Diane could sit still and watch the plants move—leaves uncurl, follow the sun as it moves across the room. And I think that’s the kind of harmony she had with her work in the Bureau.
Someone might think, "That file is done. It’s not changing."
But Diane knew how to look for and appreciate the little things—dates inside that were expiring, contact information for witnesses that was changing—little things that are so important, but that you only recognize when you’re really paying attention.
I think the OSTs out there are with me on this.
From everything I gather, Diane was quiet and still, organized and driven, suffered no fools, but appreciated good work.
She cared about the Bureau and our mission, and loved seeing us succeed—particularly when it was her squad.
She loved her plants, her friends, and her boys.
And she would throw everything she had into holding others up—and then feel great joy at seeing their success.
So today, we say goodbye to a friend and a colleague who gave so much of herself to others, a beloved member of the FBI Family gone too soon. We’ll work to honor her in the way we carry forward the FBI mission and the ways we think about what it really means to hold each other up.
Prince, thank you for sharing your mom with us for so many years. Please know that you and Malcolm will always be a part of our FBI Family.