Celebrating Women Special Agents: Carol Lee (2012)

Carol L. became a special agent in 1986, serving first in the Honolulu Division and then the San Francisco Division, where she investigated Asian criminal enterprises. In 2005 she was named assistant special agent in charge of the San Diego Division, and two years later became a section chief in the International Operation Division. In 2009, she was named special in charge of the Albuquerque Division.

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When I first joined or was going through the process, my recruiter, again in Oregon, he told me he said well “You’re a triple for me.” I said “Oh what’s a triple?” He said, “Well you’re a woman, you’re an Asian American, and you’re a language speaker.” So he said that’s a triple for us in the recruiting world. I said great, I hope I can contribute to that. I was one of only 12 Asian American women as special agent at the time when I came in.

The one thing that I did feel that I wasn’t totally prepared for, is that I didn’t have law enforcement background, didn’t have military background. You know, coming in being a soft lawyer right out of law school into the Bureau, I thought that was challenging. But again, Quantico did such a great job. Everybody was on equal footing and we all could, we all could succeed together. I had a class of 50 starting out and I think we graduated 48 of us. Five women were in my class.

I’ve had the opportunity to do some incredible things all over the world. I was a section chief in International Operations. Again, how proud I was of the, not only the individuals, for example I went over and met the individuals who were injured in Pakistan and the bombing in London and their families. And just seeing the incredible support, too, that the families give and the sacrifices that they make. Not only the agents, but their families. Again, everyday you wish when you read in the paper something negative. You wish you know we had a counter-story of all the positives that we’re doing with the FBI

You know for myself I feel a lot of responsibility, for example, I’m, I guess in my own way a trailblazer. I’m the first Asian American woman to be in the position of SAC or even in the SES for the FBI. So I think I’m very proud of that. But again, I also feel a huge responsibility for the legacy for the future and I hope that every day I am living up and making it easier for the next generation because we have some incredible people.

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