Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

FBI agent with ties to Tucson accused of sharing secret data

NEW YORK — An FBI agent was arrested Wednesday on charges he defied orders by having an informant take him to an NFL game, and later by tipping off the source about a drug trafficking investigation.

A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan also accused William H. Shirk III of secretly contacting a potential target of a corruption investigation in Arizona, where Shirk once worked.

After Shirk was transferred to the FBI’s Manhattan office in 2006, he tried to recruit the target “to move to New York and work for him as a confidential informant in New York,” the complaint said.

Shirk, 37, surrendered on Wednesday to face charges of using a confidential FBI database without authorization. He was released without bail and suspended without pay.

There was no immediate response to a phone message left with his attorney.

The agent had previously worked in the FBI’s Tucson office, where he was involved in the corruption investigation of a U.S. border agent.

As part of the probe, he used an unnamed informant until the summer of 2005, when the relationship was “officially discontinued,” the complaint said.

Another agent who later took over the case claimed he later learned from the informant that Shirk had maintained contact.

The informant told the agent that Shirk asked for tickets to a Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins game, and that the pair went together.

The complaint said investigators have evidence that after Shirk was transferred to New York he used the FBI database without permission to track the Arizona case.

It alleges he gathered information about the informant and the potential target, even after being warned by superiors to stay away from the case.

In August 2006, the complaint said, Shirk called the informant and had that person call back from a different phone.

Shirk then “explained to the informant that the Miami FBI had received an anonymous tip that the informant was involved in money laundering,” the complaint said. “Shirk informed the informant that he had ‘squashed’ … an investigation of the informant by the Miami FBI office and the Miami-Dade Police Department.”

The complaint said that when confronted about the football game, Shirk admitted that he had made a mistake in his “handling of the source.”

There was no immediate response to a phone message left with Shirk’s attorney.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service