Robert “Wes” Wheeler Jr., a 22-year FBI veteran with a background in counterterrorism, was named Tuesday to lead the agency’s busy Chicago field office.
Wheeler’s appointment was announced by FBI Director Christopher Wray four months after the retirement of Emmerson Buie in August.
Wheeler, 51, a onetime agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, joined the FBI in 1999 and most recently served as a chief of staff in the Cyber, Criminal, Response, and Services Branch in Washington, D.C., a news release from the FBI stated.
His began his FBI career as a special agent in a satellite office in Dallas, where he was eventually assigned to counterterrorism duties and also served with the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In 2006, Wheeler joined the protection detail for the U.S. attorney general in Washington, where he also began teaching new agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He was deployed to Afghanistan for several months in late 2009 to “work kidnapping matters” and later joined a team specializing in countering improvised explosive devices, the FBI said.
More recently, Wheeler led a Washington-based international terrorism squad focused on the U.S. and Middle East, and served as a section chief in the International Operations Division, “focusing on global readiness and legal attaché operations in Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia.”
Wheeler is the latest in a string of relatively short-term leaders of the Chicago FBI, which is the bureau’s fourth-largest field office responsible for criminal investigations ranging from international and domestic terrorism to public corruption, gang racketeering, bank robberies and white-collar crime.
Five agents have now occupied the top chair here since Robert Grant stepped down in 2012 after an almost eight-year run, including Robert Holley, Michael Anderson and Jeffrey Sallet.