Oklahoma's top FBI agent retiring

Sunday, July 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma's top FBI agent is planning to retire, ending a career that included work in counter intelligence and counter terrorism.

Richard ``Dick'' Marquise took over as special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City FBI field office in March 1999. Friday will be his last day on the job.

Marquise, 54, inherited agents who were scarred by the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and an agency that didn't work well with others.

``When I got here we didn't have a very good reputation for sharing resources and information with the local and state agencies,'' Marquise said. ``Now I think we're working well with local law enforcement. I'm proud of the job we've done.''

A counterterrorism expert, Marquise led the international task force on Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 killing 270 people.

The success of the investigation, which resulted in the 2001 conviction of a Libyan intelligence officer and the exposure of that country's corrupt government, was tempered by the relatively light penalty.

``He was sentenced to 20 years in a Scottish prison, which worked out to just 27 days per homicide,'' Marquise said.

The son of an FBI agent, Marquise joined the force in 1972.

From 1972 to 1979, he worked in the Minneapolis and Detroit field offices, specializing in counter intelligence and counter terrorism operations.

In 1986, Marquise went to the criminal investigative division at FBI headquarters in Washington.

Marquise helped start some of the nation's first counter terrorism units.

While he says his years in Oklahoma City were some of his best, the time wasn't without controversy.

For FBI agents still tormented by memories of the Oklahoma City bombing, the revelation that some FBI documents had been withheld from Timothy McVeigh's attorneys stung.

``Obviously, that was an obstacle,'' Marquise said. ``We were running around, looking for things and helping that judge in Denver in making the decision whether to execute McVeigh. This had an impact on the office, because all of a sudden the focus was on Oklahoma City again.''

About a thousand documents had not been turned over in the case and delayed McVeigh's execution by a month.

``These folks came in here from Washington, into this office, and we dragged in every bit of paper we had on the case from the warehouse,'' he said. ``Literally, millions of pages. We brought them all in here. They went through them all in about six weeks. It was devastating to the morale of this office.''

Now Marquise focuses on his retirement plans. He said he will head back to the east coast and spend six weeks with his parents in Washington, D.C.

``I have to see if I still have a life waiting there for me,'' Marquise said.

``I've got 31 1/2 years, and my pension's going to be pretty good,'' he said. ``But I think I've still got some years left in me. I leave the FBI with absolutely no regrets. I just hope I served with dignity and honor.''