Focus On FIGs
Focus on FIGs
Networking Intelligence Across the U.S. to Prevent Crimes and Terror
What do you get when you put together FBI intelligence analysts, special agents, language analysts, and surveillance specialists?
You get a FIG.
What’s a FIG? It’s a Field Intelligence Group, one for each of our 56 Field Offices. They take raw information from local cases and make big-picture sense of it…fill gaps in national cases with local information…and share their findings, assessments, and reports with fellow FIGs across the country and with our partners in law enforcement and intelligence to, say, shut down that money laundering scheme or keep a bomb from going off. Intelligence analysts (IAs) are key to the effort. Some are dedicated to the big picture—others are actually “embedded” in squads to work with street agents on specific counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal cases.
Chicago FIG members Travis (special agent) and Eileen (supervisory intelligence analyst) talk about what it’s like “on the inside”:
Q: Eileen, can you describe what FIG analysts do?
Eileen: They do quite a bit, actually. We have IAs directly embedded with agents and investigative squads. We have IAs acting as reports officers who glean relevant information from investigations and share it with law enforcement and the intelligence community, directly interfacing with those partners—from the local police department to the CIA. And we have IAs who conduct strategic assessments—looking and assessing the future threat, whether it’s terrorism, counterintelligence, cyber, or criminal. The work of the IAs is what allows the FIG to act as the intelligence “hub” in our Chicago office.
Q: Travis, what is a typical day for an intelligence analyst in the FIG?
Travis: Well, there is really no such thing. For example, on a “typical” day, an IA might start off by reviewing recent threat and intelligence traffic, then identify a link between two separate investigations, then recommend that a new investigation be initiated, and then, to top it off, go out with some agents to assist in a high level source debriefing. How’s that for typical?
Q: Last question: you’re dealing with so many bits and pieces—how does the work flow end up with a big picture?
Eileen: Through cooperation and collaboration with our local, state, and federal law enforcement and intelligence partners. What the FIG does is formally “plug” us into the intelligence community. The intelligence and information that we produce here in Chicago is shared with all of the FBI’s 56 field offices and with our Headquarters to assist in making assessments and figuring out the “big picture” at the national level in concert with our partners.
Travis: That’s exactly it—the whole point is the integration of the entire intelligence cycle—across all FIGs, all FBI squads, and the larger law enforcement and intelligence communities. Our intelligence analysts drive this integration locally and nationally.
Eileen: And suddenly it gets a lot easier to prevent terror and major crimes from happening.