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Headline Archives

Here's What It's Like: Up Close and Personal


Intelligence graphicCatherine G. joined the FBI on a Critical Skills Scholarship when she was just starting college. She worked at HQ during summer vacation, then reported for full time duty in 2001 after graduation. Catherine started in the foreign counterintelligence field on espionage matters. After the 9/11 attacks, she transferred to counterterrorism. Recently she has been working in the FBI's Indianapolis office with its Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Q: Catherine, what's a typical working day like for you?

A: It's always interesting, that's for sure. Generally, I spend my time analyzing new intelligence from FBI and other sources, assessing its reliability, seeing how it fits into the bigger picture of what's going on in the world. As a strategic analyst for HQ, I'm responsible for a particular area in the terrorism arena, and I monitor it all day, every day, to identify trends in activity, methods, etc., as well as to look for things that DON'T fit the trend, to try to put these in context and identify what they mean. My assessments and recommendations go to national policymakers and also to agents in the field. Working with the JTTF in Indianapolis is more tactical in nature. I may help an agent put his or her case into a national or international context--supplying intelligence information or expertise on an issue or group, making connections between individuals or particular groups, or going on a source interview. I also make suggestions for case strategies and identify the knowns and unknowns in a given case so that investigations can be targeted and streamlined more effectively. It's fascinating. I wake up in the morning and can't wait to get to work.

Q: Have you ever traveled overseas or in the U.S. on a case?

A. I sure have. After 9/11, I worked on an inter-agency task force that, among other things, focused on how to make the visa issuance process in U.S. embassies and consulates more secure. I took a month-long trip to London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Jakarta to study the process, talk to the people on the front lines, and come up with solutions that would enhance security without complicating the process. I learned a lot, and I got to see my recommendations implemented as the programs developed.

Q: What do you like best about the job?

For me, it's knowing that what I'm doing is really making a difference in national security. It's neat to work with top secret information and it's fun to know things that most people don't, but at the end of the day the best thing about working here is the fact that in some small way everything I do helps to protect America.

Q: Any advice to prospective FBI recruits?

Yes--jump in with both feet, be enthusiastic, and don't be afraid to ask questions! You'll be surprised at how quickly others will start coming to YOU for answers!

Link: Interested in applying? Go straight to

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