Intelligence Branch

FBI Intelligence Analyst

Simply defined, intelligence is information relevant to decision-making. As a full member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the FBI collects, uses, and shares intelligence in everything it does.

The Intelligence Branch makes sure the FBI produces and analyzes the intelligence necessary to protect the nation. The branch is the strategic leader of the FBI’s Intelligence Program, driving collaboration to achieve full intelligence integration and proactively engaging with the Bureau’s partners across the intelligence, law enforcement, and private sector communities.

Inside the Intelligence Branch

In August 2014, the FBI established the Intelligence Branch to lead intelligence integration and to ensure the FBI’s intelligence role is broader than simply the national security mission.

The Intelligence Branch is responsible for all intelligence strategy, resources, policies, and functions. The branch includes the Directorate of Intelligence, Office of Partner Engagement, Office of Private Sector, and Bureau Intelligence Council.

Leadership

  • Executive Assistant Director Joshua D. Skule, Intelligence Branch
  • Assistant Director Stephen Laycock, Directorate of Intelligence
  • Assistant Director Kerry Sleeper, Office of Partner Engagement
  • Assistant Director Michael Sullivan, Office of Private Sector

FBI Intelligence Program

Our Responsibility to Protect Civil Liberties

Intelligence activities conducted within the U.S. require special consideration because they directly affect privacy rights and civil liberties protected by the Constitution and other laws.

The FBI’s authority to collect information is very clearly laid out in law and is directed by the attorney general. Intelligence collection is done only in accordance with the intelligence priorities set by the president and is guided at every step by procedures mandated by the attorney general. The FBI is subject to and follows the attorney general’s guidelines and procedures for FBI national security investigations and foreign intelligence collection.

The FBI’s collection authorities are also controlled by the federal courts. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, a federal judge must still approve search warrants and wiretaps for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. Agents must still prove probable cause in order to obtain a warrant authorizing searches and wiretaps. The FBI only collects and disseminates intelligence under guidelines designed specifically to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, and the Bureau is committed to using its authorities and resources responsibly.

The FBI puts a premium on thoroughly training its personnel about their responsibility to respect the rights and dignity of individuals. In addition to extensive instruction on Constitutional law, criminal procedure, and sensitivity to other cultures, every new FBI agent and intelligence analyst visits to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., to see for themselves what can happen when law enforcement becomes a tool of oppression.

Lab Technician Working With Trace Evidence

Evolution of FBI Intelligence

The FBI has always used intelligence to investigate and solve cases. Throughout the Bureau’s history, its ability to successfully adapt to new threats included the development of increasingly sophisticated methods of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence. The FBI history page provides a glimpse at the Bureau’s intelligence role from its founding to the present day.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI recognized the need to establish centralized control over intelligence operations throughout the Bureau.

The FBI was first directed to create a Directorate of Intelligence through a November 23, 2004 presidential memorandum for the attorney general (titled “Further Strengthening Federal Bureau of Investigation Capabilities”) and later through The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 reiterated this guidance and formally acknowledged the significant progress made by the FBI in improving its intelligence capabilities since the 9/11 attacks.

The Directorate of Intelligence was established in February 2005 as a dedicated national intelligence workforce within the FBI—a service within a service. The central mission of the FBI’s Intelligence Program is to optimally position the Bureau to meet current and emerging national security and criminal threats. The Bureau does this in cooperation with its partner intelligence organizations.

Citing the continued evolution of the FBI’s Intelligence Program, the Intelligence Branch was created in August 2014. The Directorate of Intelligence, Bureau Intelligence Council, and Office of Partner Engagement are now part of the branch, under the leadership of an Executive Assistant Director.

Related FBI Programs