There’s a reason it’s called the Secret Service. Even two years after retiring from the agency, former covert operative Robert Villanueva ’89 holds the line when it comes to how much he reveals about his former professional activities. The FIU alumnus made a life of infiltrating crime syndicates, but don’t expect any juicy details. His loyalty and sense of propriety—not to mention a non-disclosure agreement with the U.S. government—keep him tight-lipped.
This Villanueva confirms: In his 25 years as an undercover agent, he investigated the counterfeiting of U.S. currency worldwide before transitioning into cyber intelligence work just as internet-based crime began to kick into high gear. During that time, he lived in Latin America, Europe, Washington, D.C., and his native South Florida, and much of his day-to-day involved posing as the same kind of unsavory characters he was trying to catch. Even as his job took a virtual bent, his goal remained to meet up in person with those he had connected with online so as to disrupt their activities and target them for arrest in their respective countries and eventual extradition to the United States.
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