A Howard Watson Intrigue

Alberto Marino – best.boss.ever.

I’m going to write this as if Al won’t ever see it. Unfortunately, he see’s and knows everything, so it will only be a matter of time before he’ll call me into his office and ask me to “stop putting the light in my face”.

Alberto Anthony Marino was born in an Italian ghetto in New York City.  Al likes to say it was ironic, because the word “getto” was first established in the 16th century in Venice, Italy.  His paternal uncle worked on New York’s waterfront for over 30 years and would tell him often as a kid that he remembered suffering the consequences of the anti-Italian sentiment that had spread like wildfire once the United States entered World War II. His uncle’s only crime was being born in Italy. But during the early years of World War II, that was enough to classify him as an “enemy alien”. Even Joe DiMaggio’s parents in California weren’t spared from harassment, though their son, the Yankee slugger, was the toast of New York.

After the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO Act, took effect in 1970, the FBI began investigating former Prohibition-era groups that had become fronts for crime in major cities and small towns. Al’s uncle’s nightmares did not stop with World War II because the effects of RICO still followed him and other Italians, even though most, like him, worked all their lives in legitimate jobs and never had a criminal background.  Al was determined that this type of humiliation and disrespect for Italians would stop with him. 

After graduating from George Washington University Law School, Al upped for Vietnam, earned a Purple Heart, and shortly after setting foot back on U.S. soil returned to the New York area and joined a law firm specializing in civil rights. After five years refining his craft, Al shocked everyone in his family by joining the FBI. 
Maybe he felt intense pressure to prove his patriotism to America, I don’t know, but at Academy graduation he was selected by his peers and staff to receive the Director’s Leadership Award.  He also received top honors in academics, firearms and physical fitness. Al later became part of a select group of Special Agents who served as class supervisors, selecting and training new agents for the Bureau, regardless of color, gender or religion. 

After becoming a little restless (read: bored) teaching new recruits, Al opted for transfer to the Washington, D.C. Field office. Not only was it the first FBI investigative office, but it had been established many years before J. Edgar Hoover was named Director.  

Although he was laser focused on his job and career, and confident of his performance, Al felt a little uncomfortable when he became aware of upper echelon Bureau eyes checking him out. He only exhaled later when he was offered a promotion and was asked to move to Bureau Headquarters, where he became Assistant Director in Charge..and my boss.

As our Superior (he hates this moniker) he doles out assignments based on his belief in the ability of the Agent. He has only screamed at me twice in the 12 years under his leadership. This works especially well for all of us under his command.  Under his guidance and leadership I was promoted twice. By the way, he never, ever, raises his voice to Wendy, his Executive Assistant. He wouldn’t dare.

Not only is Al my boss but he and his wife Ellie are also our great friends and have basically adopted our three sons as their own since they never had children. As a matter of fact, Al is my oldest son Mark’s Godfather.

To be clear, Al is not a pushover and he would kill you without blinking an eye if you even hinted at hurting one of his Agents, or hurting anyone in his circle. 

Al is duty and honor..and fun. He is not perfect but thinks he is; just ask him.

Talk soon.


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