Nothing is more important to the successful operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) than up to date, actionable intelligence. To analyze information necessary to protect the nation and its people, the Intelligence Branch of the FBI was established in 2014.
Inside the Intelligence Branch is the Directorate of Intelligence, which is a dedicated workforce of intelligence professionals who gather, analyze and disseminate the information that is most crucial to long-term national security. The FBI Intelligence Branch is the lynchpin of this already extremely important organization, and anyone considering an FBI career should learn more about what the responsibilities of the Intelligence Branch.
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What is Intelligence?
For the purposes of the FBI Intelligence Branch, ‘intelligence’ is any piece of information that has been fully analyzed and is now ready to be used to make policy decisions. Intelligence provided by the FBI is for the express purposes about creating national security policy.
When the FBI Intelligence Branch or one of the other organizations in the intelligence community refer to ‘intelligence’, they are either referring to it as a product, the actual process of collecting and refining information or about the community as a whole.
How Does the FBI Gather Intelligence?
The Directorate of Intelligence is comprised of intelligence professionals whose sole duty is to gather information and then to examine its usefulness for national security. When information is gathered by the Directorate of Intelligence, it is acquired through five primary collection methods.
First is human intelligence, which is collected from human sources through interviewing, espionage and other means. Second is signals intelligence, which is intelligence captured from electronic communications. Third is imaginary intelligence. This is information that comes from photographs. Measurement and Signatures Intelligence is fourth, and is based around weapons systems. Last is open-source intelligence, which includes newspapers, radio and television.
By collecting information from such a wide variety of sources, the FBI Intelligence Branch is able to better prevent threats to national security and to aid policymakers in keeping the country safe.
Intelligence Specialties and Units
- Bomb Data Center– The Bomb Data Center is a joint venture of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Fire Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). By using the intelligence collected at the Bomb Data Center, the FBI works to combat incidents involving explosives, arson and WMDs and to improve national security.
- Behavioral Analyst– Because the work of an FBI Behavioral Analyst is so crucial to understanding and preventing crime, only the most elite professionals are chosen for this career. If you have an interest in the psychology of crime and desire a career with the FBI, read more about what a FBI Behavioral Analyst does and how you can become one.
- Intelligence Analyst– When you work as an Intelligence Analyst with the FBI, you will be required to collect information from a wide range of sources and examine it for the most pertinent details related to national security. Because this job is so important, FBI Intelligence Analysts must have a very specific set of skills and are required to go through a rigorous testing process.
- Linguist– Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is primarily thought of as a domestic law enforcement organization, much of the intelligence they gather comes from overseas. To make sure that this information is understood and used correctly, the FBI employs thousands of linguists who are fluent in multiple languages.
- Profiler– Primarily, the NCAVC works to analyze criminal behavior by creating psychological profiles. It is for this reason that professionals working within the NCAVC are commonly known as FBI Profiles. By examining crime patterns and psychological motivations of criminals, FBI Profilers work to decrease violent crime across the country and to keep citizens safe.
- Surveillance Specialist– In order to combat terrorism both in America and overseas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) depends on having a constant supply of up-to-date information. Where intelligence analysts will examine this data once it is collected, it is Surveillance Specialists who are actually responsible for gathering this important data.
- Field Intelligence Group– Field Intelligence Groups are part of the Directorate of Intelligence and provide valuable information from the field that is needed to prevent terror attacks and to safeguard national interests at home and abroad.
- Investigative Specialist– The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regularly plans and executes counterterrorism, counterintelligence and anti-crime operations. However, none of these operations would be successful without the efforts of FBI Investigative Specialists.
Balancing Intelligence and Civil Liberties
The FBI Intelligence Branch collects information both at home and abroad, and when intelligence is gathered domestically, it must be done in such a way that does not violate the civil liberties of American citizens.
The Attorney General sets the parameters for intelligence gathering performed by the FBI. Whatever guidelines are set by the Attorney General for important investigations, the FBI Intelligence Branch is bound by law to follow. In addition, under the Patriot Act, the FBI is required to get search warrant approval from a federal court before gathering intelligence from American citizens.
The Directorate of Intelligence and the entire FBI Intelligence Branch is committed to both keeping the country safe and respecting the civil liberties of America’s people.
Join the FBI Intelligence Branch
Become a part of the FBI Intelligence Branch and work in the Directorate of Intelligence and you’ll be responsible for collecting and analyzing information vital to national security interests. Working in the FBI Intelligence branch requires high-level analytic skills, impressive attention to detail and the ability to communicate information that will be used to shape security policy.