Home News Stories 2013 June A Byte Out of History: The Lasting Legacy of Operation Illwind Illwind Investigators: In Their Own Words

Illwind Investigators: In Their Own Words

Illwind Investigators: In Their Own Words

At the height of the Illwind investigation, hundreds of Bureau agents were assigned to the case, working alongside their federal partners. Many of these agents have since retired, but there are still a fair number around in various FBI offices. Here are recollections from a few of those agents about the case:

“I was a new agent assigned to the Washington Field Office and worked on the Illwind task force for about two years. This task force was comprised of FBI, DCIS, and NIS agents, along with several federal prosecutors. This team of young agents and seasoned investigators and prosecutors was able to hold responsible those who tried to influence the defense procurement process by through monetary bribes and gifts.”

- Special agent, Milwaukee

“I was a new agent temporarily assigned to the case. As a former Department of Defense auditor, the case truly interested me. I would like to think that my expertise helped some on the case, but as there where so many agents working on it, I learned early on how to be a team player. I knew that by charging so many government contractors and government employees, the FBI was sending a message loud and clear that in the U.S., we don’t buy off government officials in order to get contracts.”

- Special agent, Sacramento

“I volunteered to work Illwind and stayed for three years. The case was innovative from the Bureau’s perspective because we used an investigative team approach and multiple wiretaps in various cities during a complex white-collar crime investigation. Each team used the skills of both new and experienced agents to produce a domino effect of guilty pleas—early guilty pleas and cooperation made a significant difference to the speed of working our way to high-level corporate executives and government officials.”

- Special agent, Washington, D.C.

“Illwind was just spinning up when I graduated from new agents training, so I began working on it immediately. I listened to court-authorized surveillances, wrote search warrants, carried out searches on the takedown day, and conducted interviews. I think Illwind was a monumental case because it was the first of its kind. Plus, it was such a widespread investigation that even the public took notice, and the outcry from the public over government waste and fraud was something we had not experienced before.”

- Special agent, San Francisco

“We were able to bring together so many different people from different agencies to work as a team during the investigation. And I think it was one of the first times that the Bureau used computer technology to support a major case—we started with one computer and pretty soon had a roomful, thanks to one of our IT guys. We were able to load information we had uncovered into the computers and then run automated searches to help find links between subjects.”

- Special agent, Denver