First female FBI leader in Albany wasting no time
It’s been an historic few months in New York as women continue to shatter glass ceilings.
Carla Freedman became the first woman sworn in as United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York on Friday. Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of the state in August.
A month before that, the FBI field office in Albany came under the watch of Janeen DiGuiseppi.
Like Hochul, she assumed her leadership role after a scandal involving her predecessor.
When DiGuiseppi arrived in Albany back in July, one of her first messages to her 200 plus agents and staff members was about her commitment to keeping people safe, even within the FBI field office.
"We won’t tolerate people who sexually harass or commit any sexual crimes against an individual in this organization," said DiGuiseppi.
Her predecessor, James Hendricks, faced numerous claims of sexual harassment. DiGuiseppi was clear the problem started and stopped with him.
"It didn’t happen because of anybody here. It happened only because of Mr. Hendricks, who he was and how he exploited his position." said DiGuiseppi.
FBI field office in Albany now being led by its first female special agent in charge. Coming up, my one on one conversation with her about her predecessor’s sexual harassment scandal, how she plans to combat recent street violence and an opportunity for area teenagers. @WNYT pic.twitter.com/9TD0IWYeay— Jerry Gretzinger (@JerryGretzWNYT) October 8, 2021
The similarities between what preceded her appointment and Gov. Hochul’s may be striking, but DiGuiseppi says their ascent is about more than timing and opportunity.
You should be selected to be a leader because you are proven and you’ve got the skill set, not because of your sex or your race, none of that. It’s about being qualified for the position and we have more and more qualified women in this organization," said DiGuiseppi.
She says having her own field office is humbling. However, she will have it for just the next two years. The 54-year-old faces the FBI’s mandatory retirement at age 57.
She’s been wasting no time, meeting her local and state partners which extend into Vermont, and ramping up their "Safe Streets" initiative to combat the rising violence we’ve seen in the past year.
"We go after criminal enterprises. We’re targeting the neighborhood-based gangs, the ones that we know in this region are wreaking havoc and committing violent acts," said DiGuiseppi.
Learn more about DiGuiseppi’s prior experience, and what she feels her biggest challenge is by watching the video of Jerry Gretzinger’s story.