The Directorate of Intelligence is the primary information gathering and analysis apparatus of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The raw intelligence that is collected from criminals, gang members, financial criminals, terrorists and a multitude of other sources are processed by an army of analysts, linguists and behavioral specialists. Each new fact that is collected is properly sourced, evaluated and incorporated into the FBI’s comprehensive understanding of criminal and terrorist networks. The mountains of data that is collected is sifted for the most relevant details that may tip off an impending attack upon the U.S. or signal a broad shift in large criminal enterprises.
The Breadth and Scope of the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence
The importance of intelligence to FBI operations can hardly be understated. Without up-to-the-minute information about the activities of domestic and international terrorists and criminals, the U.S. would be vulnerable to its enemies. In an effort to provide this vital information the Directorate of Intelligence has vastly strengthened its network of intelligence resources. Among its many new capabilities are the use of new surveillance methods that involve sophisticated electronic snooping, which have been coupled with sweeping new investigative powers authorized by executive orders and laws like the U.S. Patriot Act. The Directorate of Intelligence has also stepped up its international operations including human intelligence sources and enhanced cooperation with international intelligence and law enforcement groups.
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The enormous amounts of intelligence that are gathered from around the globe are filtered through the analysts and linguists in order to extract the most important facts. While the FBI has been hampered by limited linguistic abilities in the past, it has taken enormous strides towards correcting those weaknesses by hiring individuals with the capacity to translate a variety of languages and dialects.
The intelligence is further processed by a multitude of intelligence analysts who parse it for telling facts like potential likelihood of imminent attack, disposition of resources, and long-range goals. Using some of the most sophisticated profiling methodologies, FBI behavioral analysts are also capable of developing physical and psychological descriptions of key individuals within these groups, allowing field operatives to identify and apprehend them.
The Directorate of Intelligence utilizes a wide variety of techniques to monitor the activities of suspects including electronic eavesdropping, satellite surveillance and human observation. In the wake of September 11, 2001, the Bureau has adopted a variety of new methods designed to enhance surveillance effectiveness including covert entry, GPS tracking and internet communications interception. While many criminal and counterterrorism operations require only an electronic presence, in certain cases, a team of human surveillance specialists are necessary. These professionals receive specialized training in a variety of surveillance techniques like blending seamlessly with a crowd in order to maintain constant awareness of the subject’s activities. Read more…
Linguistic abilities have been a major priority for the Directorate of Intelligence since the FBI has re-prioritized national security as its top concern. It has redoubled its efforts to recruit speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean and other languages vital to national security. Since 9/11 the FBI has grown its linguist workforce from 774 up to almost 1,400 full time and contract interpreters. Read more…
The heart of the Directorate of Intelligence is its army of Intelligence Analysts who evaluate raw intelligence and re-package it into actionable reports and recommendations. Analysts may specialize in Tactical, Strategic or Collection & Reporting and provide the information platform that support operations and strategic decision making. While many of these analysts are posted to major intelligence facilities or field offices, some of these analysts may be detailed to field units like Field Intelligence Groups or Counterterrorism Fly Teams, where they gather data and provide recommendations to tactical personnel. Read more…
Analysis of the psychology of violent criminals as well as terrorists is crucial to many FBI operations. These psychological experts provide insights into the motivations of these disturbed individuals, allowing field operatives to anticipate their next move. Almost all violent criminals share similar motives or psychological pathologies which can be utilized to help in apprehending and prosecuting them. Terrorists also share similar ideologies that drive them to engage in anti-social and violent activities, which the Directorate of Intelligence can exploit in capturing or subverting them. Read more…
Closely linked to behavioral analysts are profilers who produce a psychological framework that details the mindsets of perpetrators of violent crimes. Profilers utilize a rigorous set of investigative tools and protocols to work up a profile. They examine all of the available evidence, including photographs of the crime scene, witness reports, forensic analyses, and evidence of sexual crimes. They then classify the perpetrator according to several criminal categories, like serial rape, child exploitation or ritual homicide. A motive is then attributed as well as any specific signatures that the particular criminal leaves. The resulting profile often details certain physical and psychological features like race, age and behavioral proclivities. Read more…
Violent Crime Analyst
The violent crime analysts within the Directorate of Intelligence focus on that present a serious threat to public safety like serial crimes or crimes against children. Because most of these crimes are based on psychologies that require escalating and continuing criminal behavior that is rooted in aberrant sexuality, the FBI has tasked a special unit of its intelligence analysts to identifying these perpetrators before they can continue their crime sprees. Violent crime analysts have played critical roles in bringing high profile criminals like the Beltway sniper and other serial criminals to justice.