Mark Stephen Jimerson, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, died last Thursday at his home in Mitchellville, Md., from a brain-related cancer. He was was 59.
In February 1985, Jimerson was assigned to the FBI’s Tampa office, his first posting in the agency. While in Florida, he studied intensive Russian, according to information provided by the family.
He later went on to the FBI’s San Francisco office and began his career with foreign counter intelligence.
In the spring of 1995, he went to FBI Headquarters in Washington here he helped establish an FBI office in Moscow. He also served as a team leader and senior FBI agent for the first FBI delegation that provided law enforcement training in Russia, according to the family information.
He was also assigned to inter-agency taskforce investigating criminal activities involving Russian and Eastern European immigrants.
From 1997 to 2000, he served as the Assistant Legal Attaché, to the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.
In 2000, he was promoted to Legal Attaché to Ukraine where he served within the U.S. Embassy as Chief of the Office of the Legal Attaché and as primary FBI representative in Ukraine.
In 2002, Jimerson and his family returned to their home in Maryland. He was promoted to Unit Chief of the Office of International Operations from 2005 to 2006, acted as an FBI Liaison Officer in the Office of International Affairs from 2002 to 2004 and again from 2006 to 2008, and lastly as Unit Chief in the Eurasian Unit of the Office of International Affairs, the family wrote in a release.
He retired on June 6, 2008.
Jimmerson was born on Aug. 7, 1953 in Madison, Ill., the son of Louise Jimerson and the late Chance Jimerson. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Wendy Jimerson; his daughter, Stephania Mahdi; son, Mark E. Jimerson; granddaughter, Yasmeen Mahdi; mother, Louise Jimerson; brothers, Alvin (Zella)Valentine and Victor (JoAnn) Valentine of Madison, Illinois, Willard (Sandra) Valentine of Portland, Oregon, and Terrence Jimerson of Madison Illinois; sisters, Autumn Ann Mitchell of Redondo Beach, CA and Shirlee Sue (Larry) Coleman of Flower Mound, TX; and a host of loving nephews, nieces, family and friends.
Jimerson was the youngest of seven children. He was very active in his youth and participated in plays, choir activities, and track and field, the family said.
In high school he showed promise in his Russian language classes and was encouraged by a Bulgarian priest, teaching at his high school, to continue his studies.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and graduated with Honors from the Defense Language Institute, serving his country as a Russian Linguist.
He was assigned to the 856th Army Security Agency and was stationed in Germany where he was a Russian Voice Interceptor, the family said.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies.
By Jeff Stein Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Two longtime veterans of the intelligence wars between Russia and the West say it’s inconceivable that the spies deported to Moscow Friday didn’t detect FBI surveillance years ago.
And that, they say, could explain why the FBI never produced evidence in court that the “illegals” had obtained any classified information: They stopped spying as soon as they discovered they were being watched — but stayed just busy enough to distract the FBI, potentially, from more important operations.
“If you’re under surveillance, you don’t do anything — you’re burnt,” said Victor Ostrovsky, a prominent former Mossad operative who said the lsraelis taught trainees about surveillance by studying real Russian spies at work. “You might as well pack yourself up slowly and go home.”
An American counterintelligence veteran said: “It does boggle the mind that they never allegedly picked up on any of the watchers nor learned of any of the technical ops run against them. It really is amazing.”
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