Army veteran returning to Detroit as FBI agent in charge of the field office


By FRANK WITSIL | Detroit Free Press | Published: December 12, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — Timothy Waters, who had a key role in investigating the Christmas Day underwear bomber as an FBI agent a little more than a decade ago, was named Friday the bureau's special agent in charge of the Detroit field office.

Waters, a West Point graduate who has a degree in environmental engineering, joined the bureau in 2000 as a special agent assigned to Detroit to investigate white-collar crime but shifted to counter-terrorism work after 9/11.

He quickly rose through the ranks, most recently serving as deputy assistant director of the Critical Incident Response Group, a pre-crisis planning and critical incidents response team within the bureau in Virginia.

In 2009, Waters was among the first federal agents called to investigate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian-born terrorist who was convicted of trying to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with plastic explosives hidden in his underwear.

The case was significant because it exposed vulnerabilities in travel security.

An infantry officer in the U.S. Army for eight years, Waters deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to support military and intelligence community operations in 2005 and 2006.

He was promoted in 2007 to be a supervisory special agent, leading a squad on Detroit’s Joint Terrorism Task Force that focused on domestic terrorism and reactive terrorism matters.

In 2010, he was named the legal attaché in Islamabad.

Waters returned to Detroit in 2011 as supervisor of the terrorism task force, focusing on al Qaeda. Three yeas later, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge for administrative matters in Detroit.

In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Detroit’s National Security Branch, responsible for all counterterrorism, cyber, counterintelligence, and weapons of mass destruction investigations in Michigan.


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