Richard Schwein

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Richard D. Schwein, Jr (born c. 1950s) was special agent in charge of the FBI Birmingham Field Office from 2012 to December 31, 2014.

Schwein's father, Dick, was an FBI agent in Birmingham in the 1960s and he attended first and second grade at Comer Elementary School before the family was relocated. He joined the U.S. Army and completed Ranger school in order to serve on airborne and special missions operations, participating in combat in the Middle East with a joint special operations expeditionary force. He continued in the army as an intelligence officer until joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1988.

Schwein earned a bachelor of science in political science from Radford University in Radford, Virginia, and a masters in national security studies from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He began his career with the bureau in Charlotte, North Carolina alternating criminal investigations with national security matters. He served as an assaulter and tactical medic on his offices S.W.A.T. team.

As a supervisor in Western North Carolina, Schwein took over the hunt for terrorist bomber Eric Robert Rudolph in 2002. Rudolph was captured in Murphy, North Carolina on May 31, 2003. Schwein collaborated with the Southeast Bomb Task Force to render safe Rudolph's cache of explosives.

Schwein participated in building the first federal case against an individual providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, for which he was given the FBI Director's Award of Excellence for Outstanding Counterterrorism Investigation in 2003.

In the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Schwein served as the Bureau's operations supervisor and senior representative to the U.S. Special Operations Command.

In 2008 Schwein was appointed as a legal attaché to Sana'a in the Republic of Yemen, taking charge of the FBI's activities in the Southern Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. He was awarded the FBI Medal of Valor in 2011 for his actions to repel a suicide assault by Al Qaeda operatives against Sana'a's U.S. Embassy.

Returning to the United States, Schwein was placed in charge of the Bureau's Mobile Division. From there he was placed on the FBI's Counterterrorism Division and Senior Executive Service, detailed to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center to act as deputy director for law enforcement

In November 2012 Schwein was placed in charge of the Birmingham Field Office, succeeding Patrick Maley. During his tenure the office participated in several task forces aimed at reducing violent crime and heroin trafficking while also investigating sovereign citizen groups and several types of white collar crime. The office assisted in securing defense-industry contractors and subcontractors in North Alabama from cyberterrorism and espionage, deploying a number of agents to a Huntsville Resident Agency for that purpose.

The office assisted in documenting evidence at the site of the 2013 crash of a UPS cargo flight at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. He led an internal budgetary review that resulted in a 40% increase in discretionary funding for the office.

Schwein retired from the Bureau at the end of 2014 to accept a position as director of Safety and Security at Mars Hill University near Asheville, North Carolina. He also launched his own consulting business, Spatha Global Solutions, LLC.

Schwein and his wife have twin daughters.

Preceded by:
Patrick Maley
Special Agent in Charge, FBI Birmingham Field Office
Succeeded by:
Roger Stanton


  • Robinson, Carol (November 5, 2012) "FBI names new Birmingham Special Agent in Charge." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (May 31, 2013) "FBI agent looks back on decade since Rudolph was found." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (December 29, 2014) "Birmingham's retiring FBI chief talks violent crime, race relations, heroin and more as he leaves 31 years of public service." The Birmingham News