Benjamin Thomas Wolf’s aldermanic attack appointment in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village adjacency is adorned with affected annual stories, touting his annual in the FBI.
A Newsweek commodity appearance a annual of Wolf captivation a lit marijuana edgeless and asks, “Who is Benjamin Thomas Wolf? Above FBI abettor smokes edger in Illinois aldermanic attack ad.” A Vice adventure declares, “This above FBI abettor is active for Assembly to approve weed.” The Times of Israel says, “Jewish ex-FBI abettor makes edgeless bid for Congress.”
In a annual absolution aftermost week, the Wolf attack articular him as a “former FBI agent.”
But the annual absolution and accessories got one detail wrong: Wolf was never an FBI agent.
A abettor for the FBI accepted to the Tribune that Wolf served the bureau as “a non-special abettor able abutment employee.” Wolf, one of two challengers in the Democratic primary aggravating to bound Rep. Mike Quigley in Illinois’ 5th Aldermanic District, said this anniversary that he bootless the FBI’s abettor test.
The Tribune begin some added problems with the Wolf campaign’s assertions. He wrote an endorsement from a above accessory to use in a attack web folio afterwards the associate’s approval, Wolf told the Tribune. Although Wolf has never absolute claimed to accept served in the military, his attack has acclimated words and phrases that assume to betoken he did, tweeting that Wolf “served assorted tours” in Iraq.
In interviews with the Tribune this week, Wolf said he has never articular himself as an FBI abettor and downplayed the aberration amid his abutment role and an FBI agent. He additionally said he’s never adumbrated he served in the military, and aback he’s talked about actuality “overseas” or “on tour,” he was apropos to his time with the State Department.
“People are bent up in accessory details,” Wolf said. “I don’t care.”
Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune
Vice and Newsweek annual adhere on the bank in the attack address of Democratic primary amateur in the 5th Aldermanic District Benjamin Wolf, on March 6, 2018, in Chicago.
Vice and Newsweek annual adhere on the bank in the attack address of Democratic primary amateur in the 5th Aldermanic District Benjamin Wolf, on March 6, 2018, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Wolf said the accent should be on the issues, decidedly his focus on legalizing marijuana, which has becoming him the appellation “cannabis candidate,” and on his years of annual as a adept aegis appropriate abettor for the State Department. The State Administration accepted Wolf was active as a appropriate abettor until July 2013 but didn’t accommodate specifics about his assignments.
Wolf’s beatnik attack appearance and resume accept fatigued scrutiny.
Thomas O’Connor, admiral of the FBI agents union, said advisers like Wolf are admired workers who generally do surveillance, but they’re not FBI agents.
Wolf’s duties as a nonagent abutment agents affiliate don’t band up with some of the means he’s actuality declared in annual accessories or how he lists his above appliance as a “national aegis advisor” on Facebook, O’Connor said.
“If addition was not an FBI agent, they should not affirmation to be an FBI agent,” O’Connor said.
In an interview, Wolf said he is originally from Ohio and his accessible annual absorption agitated on an eighth-grade cruise to Washington, D.C. He said he was continuing on the accomplish of the Lincoln Memorial and attractive at the absorption basin and the barrio about him aback he knew that’s area he capital to be.
Wolf said he abounding Kent State University and accelerating in bristles years with a bachelor’s amount in political science and bent amends in 1998.
During an internship, Wolf said he bumped into a woman who asked what he capital to do with his life.
“I said, ‘Well, ma’am, I aloof appetite to serve my country. I’d like to one day be an FBI agent,” he recalled.
The woman handed him a business agenda and asked him to appear see her, Wolf recalled. Wolf said he went to the FBI architecture for appliance and met the woman, who told him he was too adolescent for an FBI appropriate abettor job. Instead, Wolf said, the woman offered him addition opportunity.
“It’s a classified job. It’s a buried job,” she said, according to Wolf. “Fill out the appliance and get aback to me.”
Later, Wolf was assassin at the FBI as an analytic specialist. Wolf said he aing in March 1999 and larboard in July 2003.
His attack website says he “worked for years aural the National Aegis Division on the accomplished antecedence terrorism, intelligence, and all-embracing aegis matters.”
A 2017 annual adventure on the now-defunct DNAinfo.com armpit quoted Wolf afterwards a accessible assurance affair with Ald. Scott Waguespack and police, area hundreds of association angry out to altercate abomination concerns.
“As a above FBI Agent, I am assured and bright in adage that the brand are underfunded and abomination is out of ascendancy in Chicago,” the adventure quoted Wolf saying. “Meanwhile the aldermen abide to adroit and squabble.”
Wolf’s attack aggregate the adventure on Facebook and accent Wolf’s “FBI agent” boast.
Wolf abhorrent the columnist absolution on a staffer and said the DNAinfo adventure misquoted him, but it wasn’t important abundant to correct.
Wolf said he aggregate the adventure with the adduce on Facebook because “it’s a abundant article.” Asked whether he was anxious about the declared inaccuracy, he said, “I don’t care.”
“It’s not a big abundant deal,” Wolf said.
When Wolf bootless the FBI abettor test, he said it was “crushing” to apperceive he capital to do article but couldn’t. He was applying for added opportunities with the federal government and afresh heard from the State Department.
“I was activity to go aback and do it again, I would’ve ashamed it, but the State Administration called,” Wolf said.
Wolf formed for the State Administration as a appropriate abettor in adept aegis as a adopted annual specialist for added than a decade, the administration confirmed.
Wolf said that State Administration job is “the aforementioned job” as actuality an FBI agent.
“I agitated a brand and a gun and I was a appropriate abettor for the United States government. The FBI, they’re distinctively appointed agents for the Amends Department. I aloof happened to be with the State Department. It’s the aforementioned job,” Wolf said.
Wolf showed the Tribune a array of commendations and plaques in his appointment appearance his annual at the State Department. One accolade addendum he helped abandon Peace Corps cadre from Guinea. Addition certificate shows he was allotment of a aggregation that helped ensure above Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s assurance on a cruise to Alabama afterwards Hurricane Katrina.
He was additionally accustomed for allowance accommodate anti-terrorism training in Iraq, according to a memo. Wolf showed the Tribune abstracts advertence his job additionally took him to Algeria, Senegal and Miami.
“I fell in adulation with that job,” Wolf said.
Wolf’s attack website says, “He actively and absolutely served four Secretaries of State and brash dozens of U.S. ambassadors.”
Looking back, Wolf said the acquaintance helped accomplish him a irenic and humanitarian. “I allege out appealing audibly adjoin warfare now,” Wolf said.
Wolf said he accommodated to accompany a doctorate in Chicago.
On Veterans Day in November, Quigley’s official Twitter annual tweeted about immigrants confined in the aggressive and thanked veterans for their service.
Wolf’s official Twitter accounted responded, “Wolf served assorted tours in africa and iraq. Wolf for congress.”
In June, Wolf’s attack acquaint a blueprint on Facebook allegory Wolf’s action positions and activity adventures with Quigley’s.
In one row, the blueprint says Quigley “has never served in aggressive or overseas.” On the aforementioned line, Wolf’s says, “Served in Iraq and Africa assorted times.”
Asked whether his attack abstract implies Wolf served in the armed forces, Wolf said no.
“The Administration of Defense and the veterans association does not accept a apparent on the chat ‘service,’ ” Wolf said. “They cannot absorb the appellation ‘service.’ ”
In a statement, Quigley attack agent Thomas Bowen said, “Ben Wolf has fabricated abundant claims about his accomplishments and acquaintance that are artlessly untrue. His lies about his adventures are a disservice to all those who accept served advantageously and accession austere questions about whether voters can assurance a chat he says.”
In May, Veterans Affairs artisan Timothy Lawson about accused Wolf’s attack of “fabricating” a aglow advocacy on Wolf’s attack website. Lawson told the Tribune he wasn’t absorbed in commenting on the amount but alleged it a “misunderstanding.”
Wolf told the Tribune he capital to broadcast a letter from Lawson that would serve as a testimonial. He wrote the letter for Lawson but never got his approval and appear it on his armpit anyway.
“It’s my accountability 100 percent,” Wolf said.
“Listen, I am not a absolute person.”
In addition endorsement on Wolf’s attack website, George Washington University assistant James Bailey said Wolf “may aloof be the new JFK.”
Bailey accepted the animadversion to the Tribune and said he’s accepted Wolf for about eight years. They met at a amphitheater with their accouchement and developed what Bailey said was a “standard friendship” area they would drink, assignment out or watch baseball.
“The best backroom we anytime affianced in was second-guessing authoritative calls,” Bailey said.
Bailey said the base for comparing Wolf to John F. Kennedy is that Wolf speaks articulately about the obligation of citizens to participate in democracy.
“Plus, they attending a little alike,” Bailey said.
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