FBI creates new cyber exec role

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The FBI has established a new position to better coordinate the bureau’s response to cyber crime, which has rapidly proliferated in recent years.

Joe Demarest, who had been assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division since 2012, will get the title upgrade, becoming the bureau’s associate executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch (CCRSB).

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“In his new role, Joe will serve as chief operations officer for CCRSB — providing technical advice and guidance across its components while establishing and nurturing relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” said FBI Director James Comey in a statement.

Digital crime’s exponential rise has, at times, outpaced the government’s ability to restructure in response.

Traditional crimefighting methods have proved inadequate to catch cyber crooks. In addition to the FBI, agencies like the Justice and Homeland Security Departments have scrambled to reorganize offices and create new cyber-specific jobs.

But sharing cybersecurity evidence among these agencies remains a hurdle, officials say.

Numerous departments — from the FBI to the Secret Service and occasionally the National Security Agency — have a hand in digital investigations, complicating the process.

President Obama recently authorized a new agency, the Cyber Threat and Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), to help integrate and disseminate cyber threat data.

Comey believes Demarest, who has been with the FBI since 1988, can help further smooth working relationships among cyber crimefighters.

For years, Demarest investigated drug rings and white-collar crime before specializing in counterterrorism work for much of the early 2000s. According to the bureau, he was part of the operation that disrupted a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subway and the investigation that brought down Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

“With almost 30 years of FBI experience in investigative operations and national security matters, Joe brings a wealth of subject matter expertise to this new executive position,” Comey said.