Bioterrorism Risk Assessment Group
The FBI’s Bioterrorism Risk Assessment Group helps evaluate whether a person or entity, such as scientific researchers, can have access to biological select agents and toxins.
As one of the agencies in the Federal Select Agent Program, the BRAG conducts a Security Risk Assessment (SRA) of each applicant. This contributes to the overall decision on whether someone poses a risk to national security if they are allowed to handle this material.
In response to a 2001 anthrax case, Congress passed a law creating safeguards for biological select agents and toxins. The law created the Federal Select Agent Program, which is the responsibility of:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The FBI's Bioterrorism Risk Assessment Group (BRAG)
- An applicant fills out an FD-961 and an FD-258 (fingerprint card), through their sponsoring agency (either the CDC or the USDA).
- The FBI enters candidate’s FD-961 information into the BRAG’s bioterrorism database.
- The FBI researches the applicant’s case, using criteria in the Bioterrorism Act.
- The FBI sends a recommendation to the sponsoring agency.
- The sponsoring agency grants or denies access. (The FBI does not share its findings with the applicant.)
For a list of restrictions, refer to the “restricted person” categories. An applicant who falls into one of these categories can be denied access.
In addition, you are not eligible for access if you:
- Have used or possessed marijuana in the past year, regardless of state or local laws
- Have been arrested and convicted of misdemeanor drug use or possession in the past year
- Have a felony drug use or possession conviction
- Are in the U.S. as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or the Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs
The FD-961 must be physically signed. The BRAG does not accept digital signatures.
- The BRAG does not accept electronic fingerprints.
- You can request more fingerprint cards (FD-258s) by e-mailing email@example.com or faxing your request to 304-625-2198. Include the quantity needed and complete mailing address.
If your SRA is Restricted, you can appeal through your sponsoring agency (either the CDC or USDA). The sponsoring agency will forward the appeal to the FBI for review.
Contact the BRAG Customer Service Line at 304-625-4900.