FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy, who supervised the Oklahoma City bombing investigation and is managing the response to criticism of the FBI crime lab, is retiring at the end of February, officials said Friday.
The retirement of the No. 2 FBI official is unrelated to the current controversies, said the FBI and Justice Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kennedy's departure was announced by FBI Director Louis J. Freeh at a closed meeting of FBI field office chiefs in early January. That was weeks before the FBI even saw a draft inspector general report that officials say criticizes crime lab practices and sloppy handling of the evidence from the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
The officials said Kennedy, 58, would be succeeded by Assistant Director William J. Esposito, who has headed the bureau's criminal investigative division since February 1995.
Esposito will be succeeded in criminal investigations by Robert Bryant, who has been assistant FBI director in charge of the national security division, the officials said. Bryant will be replaced by his deputy, John Lewis.