Charlene B. Thornton has been named Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Honolulu Division. Director Robert S. Mueller, III appointed her to this position to replace SAC Janet Kammerman, who was recently appointed Associate Executive Assistant Director of the Human Resources Branch at FBI Headquarters. Most recently, Ms. Thornton served as SAC of the San Francisco Division.
Ms. Thornton entered on duty as an FBI special agent in 1979. Upon completion of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, she conducted a variety of criminal, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism investigations at the Indianapolis and Los Angeles Divisions. In 1985, she was promoted to a supervisory position in the Legal Counsel Division at FBI Headquarters, where she assisted in the defense of the FBI and FBI employees. In 1989, she became Chief of the Legal Research Unit, responsible for providing legal advice and guidance to FBI executives and field offices.
Mrs. Thornton left FBI Headquarters in 1991 to return to the field. After three years supervising applicant, civil rights, white collar crime, and violent crime squads in the Baltimore Division, she was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Division in 1995. While there, she managed all investigative programs and had primary responsibility for administrative management. She also oversaw the FBI’s extraterritorial investigations throughout Asia and the Pacific.
In 1997, Ms. Thornton returned to FBI Headquarters as Deputy General Counsel, overseeing the FBI’s legal training, forfeiture, and legal advice programs. She served in that role until 1999, when she moved to the FBI’s Inspection Division. As an Inspector, she was responsible for overseeing comprehensive audits of the FBI’s investigative and administrative operations.
Ms. Thornton was named SAC of the Birmingham Division in 2000. In that capacity, she directed all FBI operations in the Northern District of Alabama. In 2002, she assumed the duties of SAC Phoenix, responsible for all FBI operations in the state of Arizona. She served in Phoenix until 2004, when she was appointed Assistant Director of the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters. In that role she was responsible for the oversight of internal investigations of employee misconduct, as well as for evaluating the FBI’s investigative, financial, and administrative programs. In 2006, she was named SAC of the San Francisco Division.
Ms. Thornton graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, with a degree in Political Science and Economics. She earned a Juris Doctorate, with honors, from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, and a Masters of Law in Taxation from the University of San Diego Law School. She is a graduate of the National Executive Institute and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In 2005, Mrs. Thornton was awarded the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in recognition of her sustained high level of achievement in managing demanding and multifaceted FBI operations.