Mark Giuliano, former FBI deputy director, dies at 62

Mark F. Giuliano, a career FBI official who was second-in-command at the law enforcement agency when it launched a controversial investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server as she sought the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, died March 2 at his home in Decatur, Ga. He was 62.

The cause was an apparent heart attack, said his sister Ann Britz.

In an FBI career that began in 1988 and spanned almost three decades, Mr. Giuliano started as a street agent in Washington pursuing violent crime and gangs. He later supervised high-profile criminal cases and the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted program.

As with many FBI agents, the focus of his work shifted significantly following the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of 2001. The FBI put a larger emphasis on global security threats and, for a time, he worked in Afghanistan overseeing an FBI team supporting U.S. Special Forces.

Mr. Giuliano served as a senior FBI official in an era of ever-evolving terrorist threats — testifying to Congress on FBI missteps leading up to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and running day-to-day operations as the caseload of Americans suspected of trying to travel overseas to join ISIS or other terrorist groups exploded into the hundreds.

In a time when a terrorism case that started in the suburbs of Minneapolis could reach into far-flung corners of Somalia, Afghanistan or Iraq, Mr. Giuliano’s contemporaries credited him with integrating the FBI’s work with more secretive U.S. intelligence agencies.

In 2012, after years in senior roles at FBI headquarters, Mr. Giuliano was made the top FBI agent in Atlanta before Director James B. Comey called him back to Washington the next year to help run the bureau as deputy director.

In 2015, Mr. Giuliano and Comey opened what would become one of the most consequential investigations in FBI history — the probe into Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, over classified information found on a private, nongovernment email server.

Mr. Giuliano and FBI executives opened the case based on a referral from an inspector general — setting off an unpredictable chain of events that consumed the upcoming presidential race.

Clinton’s emails, in which some State Department message chains forwarded to her discussed classified material such as drone strikes in Pakistan, alarmed national security officials as possible criminal violations.

The FBI’s handling of the case had an outsize impact on the 2016 presidential election, though those events occurred after Mr. Giuliano retired in early 2016, having already stayed longer than he had planned in a high-stress job that tends to have frequent turnover.

In July 2016, Comey announced he was closing the case, though he did so in a public news conference describing in detail Clinton’s misdeeds. Then, two weeks before the election, Comey sent a letter to Congress announcing he was reopening the investigation based on new evidence that had come to light — some of her emails found on the laptop of a disgraced former congressman, Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide.

Clinton later blamed Comey and the FBI for her defeat.

The fateful steps taken by Comey and Mr. Giuliano’s successor, Andrew McCabe, would become the subject of internal investigations, frequent attacks from President Donald Trump and ongoing debates about the proper role of the Justice Department and the FBI in American politics.

Mark Francis Giuliano, the oldest of nine children, was born in Erie, Pa., on May 28, 1961, and grew up in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. His father sold men’s shirts, and his mother was a homemaker.

After graduating in 1979 from St. Edward High School, a private Catholic school near Cleveland, he studied economics and played football at the College of Wooster in Ohio. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1983, then spent four years working his way from line supervisor to plant manager at J.M. Smucker Co., the food and beverage products company based in Orrville, Ohio.

Mr. Giuliano took the job at Smuckers because the FBI did not hire applicants straight out of college; he knew he needed work experience. While working at the company, he met Judith McDonough, and they married in 1988.

In addition to his wife, of Decatur, survivors include three children, Michael, David and Erin; three sisters; and five brothers.

After retiring from the FBI, Mr. Giuliano joined the investment management company Invesco, eventually rising to the position of chief administrative officer.

FBI colleagues remembered Mr. Giuliano as a driven but empathetic boss.

“He could be as demanding as anybody, but he always understood the impact that had on people,” said Mike Kortan, a longtime agency spokesman who worked for six deputy directors. “He stood out as someone with the rare combination of being demanding, compassionate and humble.”

Mr. Giuliano had a specific expression when there was a tough assignment that the FBI needed to handle well. “I want it done right. I don’t want you putting Shorty and Boo on it,” he would tell subordinates.

Agents were often confused by that reference, but Mr. Giuliano was such an imposing figure in FBI headquarters, few had the temerity to ask directly what he meant.

“It became a running joke, walking out of a meeting with Mark, ‘Who are Shorty and Boo?’” Kortan recalled.

Eventually, investigators pieced it together: Shorty and Boo were the nicknames of older, past-their-prime agents that Mr. Giuliano had supervised years earlier.

What Mr. Giuliano meant by the comment, the agents realized, was that he didn’t want serious work assigned to unserious people.

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