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covert affairs

FBI Agent’s Shirtless Photo Was Decidedly Unsexy

FBI Special Agent Fred Humphries, who is assigned to the Seattle, Washington, field office, was in charge of the Ahmed Ressam case. The investigation, his first major international case, focused on the man who turned out to be a terrorist.

In the hours since the man formerly known as Shirtless FBI Agent was revealed to be 47-year-old Frederick W. Humphries II, a few details have emerged that suggest he's less sleazy than previously believed. A Seattle Times reporter also received the e-mail in question, and elaborated on the New York Times' earlier revelation that it involved dummies:

The subject line read: "Which one is Fred?"

The snapshot shows Humphries — bald, muscular and shirtless — standing between a pair of headless but equally buff and bullet-ridden target dummies on a shooting range.

The joke — over which was the dummy — has now backfired in ways he couldn't have imagined on Sept. 9, 2010, when it was first sent.

While Humphries's decision to tip off a congressman about an ongoing FBI investigation still seems questionable, in his defense, he once foiled a plot to blow up LAX.

According to a 2002 Seattle Times report, in 1999 a man who claimed to be from Montreal was detained as he tried to enter Washington State by ferry from Canada, and agents found white powder, chemicals, and homemade timing devices in his car. The man only spoke French, and Humphries, who learned the language as a high-school student in Ontario, was called in to question him. After hearing the man say one sentence, Humphries said, "There is no way this guy is who he says he is." His accent wasn't Canadian, and reminded Humphries of an Algerian language instructor he had while serving in the army.

The suspect was arrested and agents determined that he was an Algerian man who was part of an Al Qaeda plot to blow up the airport on New Year's Eve 1999. It's the ultimate justification for paying attention in French class, but unfortunately it now seems unlikely that teachers will bring up Humphries in school.

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Photo: STEVE RINGMAN/SEATTLE TIMES/Newscom