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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Life as an Intelligence Analyst

05/05/06

Intelligence cycle graphic

Luis Arias’ work as an intelligence analyst for almost nine years in the FBI’s El Paso field office has placed him at the heart of some interesting cases. Among them: investigation of the Texas 7, a band of murderers, robbers, and felons who escaped a South Texas prison in 2000 and killed a Dallas police officer. He was on the multi-agency task force that gathered and developed the intelligence that helped round-up the convicts in less than two months. A probation officer for 14 years before joining the FBI, Luis now supervises a team of analysts who work both national security and criminal cases. Luis talked to us about his job and his critical role in the FBI mission.

Q. What is your typical day like?

Luis: As a supervisor, I spend much of my time leading a team of intelligence analysts. I review, assign, cover leads given to intelligence analysts, and I review and approve their work. I often meet with executive management and special agents to find out what they need and to show results of our analysis. Also, I sometimes coordinate the work of analysts from state and local agencies targeting primarily drug trafficking in the region.

Q. What is the most challenging part of the job?

Luis: Just knowing that it’s up to us to prevent the next terrorist attack. We have to be on our toes every day. The analysis we provide to national security leaders and local law enforcement has to be timely, insightful, and on the mark. The country is counting on us. Local communities are counting on us. We can’t let them down.

Q. What do you like best about the job?

Luis: Every day brings new challenges, and I have to adjust all the time to meet them head-on. One day I’m leading a team of intelligence analysts track down fugitives; another day I’m investigating leads on a Mexican drug cartel unearthed at a crime scene on the U.S.-Mexico border. Another day I might be traveling with the analysts and special agents to brief other FBI divisions, the Intelligence Community, and law enforcement agencies on how we perform strategic analysis. I also get a lot out of my work with the El Paso division’s Community Outreach Program, where I created a law enforcement education program for a local Job Corps center, and I was the brainchild of the Sandra Day O’Connor Criminal Justice/Public Service Academy at a local high school.

Q. Do you have any advice for prospective FBI recruits?

Luis: Yes, I would say this: If you want to make a significant contribution serving this country and making a difference, then please apply. It’s a rewarding career; you’ll leave each day having the sense you’ve served and protected the country’s interests and feeling good about what you’ve done. As a supervisor, I can also tell you what we’re looking for in prospective FBI recruits: a positive attitude, a solid work ethic, integrity, and motivation. You need good communication skills and you need to be organized. And, of course, you need to be flexible, because in the FBI you never know what task the next day may bring.

Links: Apply today at FBI Jobs | Up Close and Personal Stories