Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Ex-FBI Chief Hired by Credit Firm

By RANDALL CHASE, Associated Press Writer 

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Former FBI (news - web sites) director Louis Freeh, whose tenure included an agent spying for Russia and others withholding documents in the Timothy McVeigh (news - web sites) case, has been hired by credit card giant MBNA to manage personnel and legal affairs, the company said Thursday.

In his new position, Freeh primary will be responsible for recruiting and developing young managers as the company grows. He also will handle security, transportation and facilities at 36 locations around the world, MBNA said.

Freeh will start his new job as senior vice chairman for administration in early September. His salary was not disclosed. Freeh was unavailable for comment, MBNA said.

Wilmington-based MBNA began courting Freeh shortly after he announced May 1 that he was retiring after eight years as FBI director and would not finish his 10-year term.

``Several of us at MBNA have known Mr. Freeh for many years and admired his leadership and people development skills,'' MBNA president Charles Cawley said. ``When he announced his retirement from the FBI, we immediately talked with him about joining MBNA.''

Freeh's tenure at the FBI was marked by conflict over Clinton era fund-raising allegations, the arrest of longtime agent Robert Hanssen (news - web sites) on charges of spying for Russia, and accusations of agents withholding documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

The FBI and MBNA, the largest independent credit-card lender in the world, are no strangers.

MBNA vice chairman Jules Bonavolonta worked for the FBI for more than 25 years, heading its organized crime and narcotics units before joining MBNA about six years ago.

``He introduced many of us to Mr. Freeh,'' MBNA spokesman David Spartin said.

``We think he'll make a significant contribution to the company,'' Spartin said. ``He's a proven leader.''

The company also employs two other former FBI officials - ex-deputy director William J. Esposito and James K. Kallstrom, who led the TWA Flight 800 investigation - and former Marine Corps commandant Gen. Charles C. Krulak.

Spartin said the company had no concerns about public relations or image problems because of the cloud under which Freeh left the FBI.

``It didn't enter our thinking,'' he said.

Before directing the FBI, Freeh was a federal prosecutor and U.S. District Court judge in New York. 

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