The new chief of the FBI's Baltimore office is a 23-year veteran who worked on cases including the infamous shoe-bomber incident and organized crime and is coming from the agency's Albany, N.Y., office, officials confirmed yesterday.
William D. Chase, 49, will oversee a FBI office of some 180 agents in Woodlawn, and about 200 administrative personnel in Maryland and Delaware.
In an interview yesterday, Chase, who will be special agent in charge, described the move as a natural progression from one of the FBI's smaller offices to one of its largest.
"I view Baltimore as a nice challenge," said Chase, who expects to move with his wife and two children by June.
His predecessor in Baltimore, Kevin L. Perkins, was selected in February to become the bureau's chief financial officer at its headquarters in Washington.
Chase is a native of Massachusetts, growing up about 30 miles outside Boston. His official biography lists degrees from Westfield State College in 1978 and Vermont Law School in l981.
After two years of private law practice, Chase said, his uncle's stories as a counterintelligence agent persuaded him to follow his path into the FBI.
Chase was assigned to St. Louis, where he worked narcotics and organized crime investigations. In 1986, Chase was promoted and transferred to the legal counsel division at FBI headquarters in Washington.
In January 1991, Chase became special assistant to FBI Director William Sessions, who in 1993 became the first agency boss to be fired by a president.
Shortly before Sessions' firing, Chase moved to the Washington field office, where he supervised its three separate squads in charge of forfeitures, theft and fugitives.
In 1998, Chase moved to Boston, where he served as the No. 2 man in its FBI field office. Chase oversaw programs targeting organized crime, drugs and violent crime throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
He also served as the acting special agent in charge of the office during a large and still-unsuccessful hunt for South Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, who is charged in 20 killings and suspected in at least 20 more. The case of so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid also fell under his watch, he said.
In July 2003, Chase was promoted to the position of special assistant to the executive assistant director for law enforcement services, with oversight of the agency's academy and laboratory.
In June 2004, he became the head of the Albany office, supervising FBI activities in upstate New York and Vermont.
In Baltimore, he said, he expects to try to maintain the same urgency federal law enforcement agents felt after Sept. 11, 2001.
"Anti-terrorism is our top priority," he said. "We have to do everything we can to avoid being complacent as we get further away from 9/11."