FBI's Top Agent in North Texas Retires - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

FBI's Top Agent in North Texas Retires

Robert Casey recalls biggest cases



    Dallas Special Agent in Charge Robert Casey, who retires on Monday, was on the inside of every major investigation in North Texas -- from former Mayor Pro-Tem Don Hill's corruption conviction to Hosam Smadi's terrorism case. (Published Thursday, April 26, 2012)

    The FBI's top agent in Dallas, who has sent corrupt politicians, bank robbers and terrorists to prison, is retiring after a quarter-century on the front lines of fighting crime.

    "It feels really strange to be leaving," said Robert Casey, the special agent in charge in Dallas the past six years.

    He leaves on Monday to work for a pharmaceutical company in Indiana.

    Casey was on the inside of every major investigation in North Texas -- from former Mayor Pro-Tem Don Hill's corruption conviction to Hosam Smadi's terrorism case.

    The young Jordanian was convicted of trying to blow up a downtown skyscraper. The bomb looked real, but it was all an undercover sting.

    "He pushed the button," Casey said. "We actually thought he might not go through with it until the very last second. So here we are, thinking, 'How can anyone go through with this?' And we watched him do it and then arrested him."

    And then there were the "Scarecrow Bandits," a gang of violent bank robbers that hit 21 banks over 10 months.

    "I had to speak with the FBI director late one night and ask for verbal authority from him and the attorney general to begin wiretapping a phone without going to a judge first, which is not done very often, but was absolutely necessary in this case," he said.

    The bandits were caught soon after that.

    When Casey joined the bureau after five years as a Houston street cop, computer crime didn't exist.

    Not anymore.

    In 2009, FBI agents busted Dallas security guard Jesse McGraw, who posted videos of himself on YouTube.

    McGraw was convicted of hacking into a medical clinic's computer and, for fun, remotely controlling the building's air-conditioning system.

    "That case is an example of what can happen even by those who are not that sophisticated," Casey said.

    Casey declined to comment on ongoing cases, including an investigation involving Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

    But he did reject suggestions that any investigation is racially motivated.

    "It's baloney," he said. "And all of these accusations that get thrown out -- that the FBI is an instrument of some power structure -- is just a lot of baloney."

    Casey leaves office with some high-profile crimes still unsolved.

    One frustrating case involves the person who has sent hundreds of letters containing white powder from Dallas to locations around the world.

    "All those that are unsolved are still being worked every day," he said. "We're not going to give up. We successfully caught someone who was doing this a few years ago, mailing these letters from Amarillo. He went to prison. And I expect this person -- whoever it is -- will go to prison as well."

    Casey also declined to talk about the recent case of an Arlington strip club owner who was arrested and charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill the city's mayor and an attorney.

    But Casey did say that such cases receive high priority.

    "When it's a life-and-death, imminent-harm situation, the FBI will act very aggressively, stay up all day, all night, weekends, holidays, to do what has to be done," he said.

    Casey's FBI career took him to Phoenix, Chicago, Miami and FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    His last day as special agent in charge in Dallas is Monday.

    His replacement, Diego Rodriguez, comes from New York.