Celebrating Women Special Agents: Kathleen L. (2012)

Special Agent Kathleen L. knew she wanted to be an FBI agent when she was 18. After working as for a police department, she decided to apply for a position at the FBI. She is currently a supervisory special agent of a counterterrorism squad.

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When I was in the army, when I was like, I think I was 18, cause I remember writing that I had goals that I wanted to accomplish and I had like FBI was number-one because I worked as an MP, I worked with some FBI agents when I was out, I was in Seattle. And so ever since that day I wanted to be an FBI agent so everything I did as far as my … I went to grad school because the recruiter told me that if you get more education you have a better chance of getting in the FBI, so I went to grad school out in Kansas … and then I put in for the FBI. They didn’t take me the first time, but they took me the second time, because I kept stalking them.

I always felt as a female you have to set a good role model because a lot of times, cause I was the only female on my drug squad for a long time and I felt like if I didn’t do the right thing, that they would see it’s a female, not an agent. Most of the times I really never … it was, we were agents. I mean I’ve got some great friends and I don’t think it really matters if you are a female or a male. I didn’t see it as much … I’ve heard some stories. Most of the times it’s you have to prove yourself regardless if you are a woman or a man.

My favorite thing is working with sources. I know that’s absolute crazy, but I feel like if you build a relationship personally with your source, then they will do so much more for you. I called his daughter when she was in the hospital and different things along the way and I think that. And I’d call him on his birthday … those things. And that’s important because maybe nobody has ever called him on his birthday.

I think as an FBI agent, like I can be a female, but I can also be tough and sometimes I think that can be a challenge for women coming in. Because I had a new, one of my girls that worked for me, she’s no longer there but she moved on, she’s like, but I don’t want to be a guy. I said do I look like a guy? And she’s like no you don’t. I said you can be female and still be an FBI agent and in fact I’ve seen some very small ladies that are FBI agents that do really well on interviews and you know people really gravitate towards them.

I think it’s about, more about the relationships you build whether or not you are male or female. And I think also it’s important when you are an agent, you are a female. Like don’t become a guy like still be a woman. Be proud of being a woman, but you know you can still do your job to the best that you can do. I just don’t think that you should give up your being a female.

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