Retired agent Kevin Rust served 29 years with the FBI. He spent a majority of his career in Mississippi in resident agencies out of the Jackson Division, including 13 years in a one person office. In this episode of FBI Retired case File Review, Kevin Rust reviews the reopened civil rights investigation of the racially motivated murder of sharecropper Ben Chester White by known Ku Klux Klan members. In the federal trial, witnesses spoke from the grave when testimony from the original state trial was read into the court record. The new case resulted in the murder conviction of Ernest Avants 34 years after the horrific hate crime occurred. During his Bureau career, Kevin Rust also had assignments in Chicago, Budapest, FBI Headquarters and Quantico. He was a crisis negotiator who responded to many incidents both domestically and internationally and taught negotiation concepts to hundreds of state, local and international officers. Kevin Rust, who prior to entering the FBI was a CPA with Price Waterhouse, currently works as a contractor for the FBI’s International Corruption Unit tracing money flows and identifying assets for seizure that were purchased with money stolen by foreign kleptocrats.
Retired agent Tym Burkey served 20 years with the FBI. While in the Cincinnati Division at the Dayton Resident Agency, he worked violent crime and domestic terrorism matters and was assigned a case targeting the Aryan Nations, which at the time was considered to be the most dangerous white supremacist group in the United States. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Tym Burkey reviews how his informant Dave Hall infiltrated the violent neo-Nazi organization. The intelligence gathered by Hall led to the disruption and dismantling of the Aryan Nations’ leadership. Later in his career, Tym Burkey began working counterintelligence investigations and was transferred to the Albuquerque Division where he was assigned to the Sandia National Laboratories and supervised the Albuquerque Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). After retiring from the FBI, Tym Burkey co-wrote with Dave Hall a narrative account of their Aryan Nations case. Their book, Into the Devil’s Den: How an FBI Informant Got Inside the Aryan Nations and a Special Agent Got Him Out Alive, is a true-life thriller and a testament to bravery, dedication, and friendship. It’s also a timely reminder that America’s homegrown terrorists can be just as deadly as those from overseas.
Retired agent John Chesson served with the FBI for 25 years. During most of his Bureau career, John primarily worked cyber crime as an investigator and supervisor investigating computer intrusion cases and coordinating the Philadelphia and San Francisco Bay Area InfraGard Programs. However, in this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he is interviewed about a hate crime/civil rights matter from his early days in the FBI. The case involved the investigation of six South Philadelphia men suspected of violating the civil rights of an African American woman by vandalizing the home she had just rented on their block. The case was assigned to John and his co-case agent, Christina Kibbey. Mike Kates (also spelled Cates), a wheelchair-bound man who lived on the street, agreed to become their cooperating witness and to help them gather the evidence needed to prove that damaging the house was a racially motivated scheme to make the house uninhabitable and to intimidate and discourage the woman from moving into the neighborhood. Kates courageously recorded consensually monitored conversations with the subjects of the investigation and testified as the star witness in the subsequent trial. All defendants were found guilty. On October 21, 1999, FBI Director Louis Freeh awarded Mike Kates the 18th Annual “Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award” for his selfless commitment to protect victims of crime. This citizens ward was sponsored by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (read citation below). The case review includes two surprising happily-ever-after conclusions and an unexpected tragedy.