John S. Pistole earned his bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in 1978. He went on to earn a juris doctorate from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law before going into practice for two years.
Pistole began a career with the FBI in 1983 before he rose through the ranks and was appointed deputy director in 2004. In March 2006, the FBI honored Pistole with the 2005 Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.
President Barack Obama appointed Pistole as head of the Transportation Security Administration in the spring of 2010 and his appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25. In July, 2010, Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, swore in Pistole as director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Prior to his leadership with the TSA, Pistole served as a 26-year veteran of the FBI with extensive national security and counterterrorism experience. During this time, he was an instructor in Organized Crime matters at The FBI Academy. In 1994, Pistole became a field supervisor of a White-Collar Crime and Civil Rights Squad in Indianapolis, where he created a Health Care Fraud Task Force and a Public Corruption Task Force. He also developed curricula and provided instruction at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pistole was placed in charge of the FBI’s counterterrorism program, eventually becoming the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director for national security. In 2004, Pistole was named Deputy Director for the FBI. Since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Pistole contributed to the formation of terrorism policies during both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Pistole’s family has deep connections within Anderson University. His father, the late Dr. Hollis Pistole, graduated from Anderson University in 1945. He taught applied theology in the Anderson University School of Theology for 25 years, retiring in 1984. After his retirement, Dr. Pistole continued to serve as a chaplain in residence at the seminary. Pistole’s mother, the late Elizabeth (Smith) Pistole, was a 1943 graduate of Anderson University and taught at Anderson High School for many years.
Pistole and his wife, Kathy Harp, have two adult daughters.