SF’s new FBI leader has background in digital forensics

For the past four months, the San Francisco branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been headed by a man with a background in digital forensics, possibly indicating a concentration on cybercrime in the region overseeing Silicon Valley’s tech giants.

The appointment of John Bennett as special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco Division was announced April 7.

Bennett, who did not respond to an interview request from the San Francisco Examiner, was most recently section chief of the Digital Forensics and Analysis Section in the Operational Technology Division.

There, Bennett “led the establishment of scientific standards for digital media exploitation,” according to the FBI’s announcement of his appointment.

“It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that someone with a cybercrime background was appointed to head the San Francisco office,” said FBI spokesperson Prentice Danner.

Bennett’s training in cybercrime, Danner said, will be an asset in The City especially because of its proximity of Silicon Valley.

Bennett started his career in the FBI at the Newark Division in 1998. Aside from serving in San Francisco, Bennet has also worked in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C., and the Operational Technology Division.

Bennett replaces David J. Johnson, who held the position since February 2013.

Under Johnson’s leadership, the local FBIdivision investigated and arrested Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow in a wide-ranging sweep that also netted former state Sen. Leland Yee, investigated a group of San Francisco police officers who were caught on tape illegally searching a residential hotel, and investigated another group of officers who stole drugs and money from drug dealers they were investigating.

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