FBI Citizens’ Academy – Week 3

by kriggins on April 18, 2010

in Educational, FBI Citizen's Academy, General

I apologize for the delay in getting the post for week three to you. It was a very interesting evening.

Week three focused on the top 2 priorities of the FBI.

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attacks
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.


Currently, the FBI's number one priority is counter-terrorism, both international and domestic.

The FBI uses the definition of terrorism that is set out in the Code of Federal Regulations. That definition is:

“...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)

Two of the primary tools used by the FBI to fight terrorism are Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC.)


JTTFs are multi-agency task forces located, at a minimum, in every field office and every legal attache (international.) These task forces are made up of personnel from the FBI, Federal Marshals, Air Force, State and local law enforcement and other agencies. They are the primary weapon in the FBI's battle against terrorism. You can read more about JTTFs here.


The National Counterterrorism Center is where analysts from the FBI, CIA, DHS, DOD, HHS, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other agencies work side by side to create a big picture view of terrorism and strategically plan how to battle it. The NCTC is responsible for creating the National Threat Bulletin for the President and Threat Matrix among other analysis products. There is also a central web-based system where information on terrorism can be accessed by and disseminated to participating agencies and organizations. You can read more about the NCTC here.

What has been Accomplished

If you would like to see some examples of the kinds of accomplishments that have been achieved in the counterterrorism arena, take a look at the Terrorism 2002-2005 (link to pdf) report. It is an interesting reading.

Other Resources

If you are interested in digging a little further into the FBI and their counterterrorism efforts, the FBI Counterterrorism page is a great place to start.

The agent that delivered this part of the evening's program gave us a great overview of terrorism, the activities terrorists use to fund their efforts and the methods that the FBI uses to identify, prevent, disrupt and defeat terrorists and their attacks. I took over eight pages of notes and could easily turn this post into a small novel, but I will save you from that 🙂


The second half of the evening was spent learning how about the FBI's counterintelligence efforts. The FBI is the only agency that has the authority to investigate foreign counterintelligence cases withing the United States. The FBI's counterintelligence efforts also include investigations into espionage, misuse of classified data and other national security issues. You can read more about the FBI and counterintelligence here.

I do want to say before I go any farther that counterintelligence, while having specific mandates, is also deeply involved in almost all facets of FBI work. For instance, counterintelligence is vital to the success of the fight against terrorism.

The mandate of the counterintelligence group is to combat espionage, economic espionage, and deal with weapons on mass destruction.


One of the very interesting things shared during this presentation were some basic tradecraft or techniques that spies use to communicate with their handlers. Handlers are the individuals to whom the person who is do the spying provides information.

We see movies with all kind of fancy gadgets and high-tech ways for spies to signal each other, but, in reality, it is much simpler. For instance, a particular type of soda can by a particular mile marker on a particular day can be a signal to do something. How more innocuous can you get?

The Motivation of Spies

Another interesting tidbit was the five motivators of spies. He used an acronym to share this, C.R.I.M.E. 🙂

C - Compromise: This is where the individual is compromised and spies to keep the compromise a secret, i.e. girl friend, taking money for something, etc.

R - Revenge: One of the oldest reasons in the world. The spy is getting back at someone because of revenge.

I - Ideology: A belief that what they are doing is the right thing to do.

M - Money: These folks just want the cash.

E - ?: Unfortunately, I either didn't right this one down or we ran out of time.


The final bit of the evening was spent walking through some cases from the past and seeing what the motivators where and how they were caught. Very interesting stuff.

Week Four

In week four we talked about weapons of mass destruction and evidence collection. We also were able to do some hands on stuff, evidence related, not WMD related 🙂 The full post for week four will be up tomorrow.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg April 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Could E be for ‘ego’?


kriggins April 26, 2010 at 9:51 am


I believe you are exactly right. The “just because I could” mentality.




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