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FBI agent in charge of Chicago office leaving after only 7 months

Cory B. NelsSpecial Agent-in-Charge Chicago Office FBI is retiring after only seven months job sources say. | Sun-Times

Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, is retiring after only seven months on the job, sources say. | Sun-Times

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Updated: August 27, 2013 6:22AM

The head of Chicago’s FBI, who just arrived in January, is on his way out.

Sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times that FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Cory Nelson, 51, is retiring from his post as head honcho.

With U.S. Attorney appointee Zach Fardon still to be confirmed by the Senate, Nelson’s surprise announcement would leave Chicago’s two top federal positions unfilled by permanent employees.

Nelson, who has held a remarkably low public profile since arriving in Chicago — even by FBI standards — notified the bureau on Wednesday of his intentions to take a job with insurance and banking firm USAA in San Antonio, sources said. He had not granted media interviews in a time that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was often in the spotlight.

Nelson came on board after longtime Chicago chief Rob Grant retired last year, following an eight-year stint.

Reached early Thursday, FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde declined comment, though USAA spokeswoman Nicole Alley later confirmed that Nelson would take up his new post of assistant vice president of security operations and investigations in September.

Insiders speculate that a combination of factors would likely lead to more such resignations throughout the country. For one, the cutbacks tied to the sequester had a stranglehold on bonuses that were once available to the FBI top agents in field offices. Also, President Barack Obama’s nomination of James Comey as the new FBI director is likely to mean a natural turnover of personnel who were close to previous FBI Director Robert Mueller.

It was immediately unclear how two changes at the top in Chicago in less than a year would affect the office that historically has had one of the most active public corruption units in the country.

On the prosecution side, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also is headed for change as it awaits confirmation of Zach Fardon at the helm in Chicago. Longtime hard-charging prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald retired last year.

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