Operational Technology Division


OTD provides its customers with a wide variety of sophisticated investigative techniques and equipment, but the many skills of our employees can be broken down into seven core capabilities that can be used across all FBI investigative programs. Some are newer capabilities, while some are our traditional strengths that date back decades, but all are vital in the fight against terrorism and crime. They include:

Digital forensics: the collection and examination of digital evidence from computers, audio, video, images, and portable electronic devices, among other items. Included under our digital forensics umbrella are the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Crime Laboratories around the country, and our Computer Analysis Response Teams (CART), which provide assistance in the search and seizure of computer evidence for FBI investigations and for our law enforcement partners.

Electronic surveillance

Electronic surveillance: tools and techniques for performing lawfully-authorized intercepts of wired and wireless telecommunications and data network communications technologies; enhancing unintelligible audio; and working with the communications industry as well as regulatory and legislative bodies to ensure that our continuing ability to conduct electronic surveillance will not be impaired as technology evolves.

Physical Surveillance: technology and capabilities required to covertly surveil, track, or locate targets of interest in operational matters (i.e., tracking devices, night vision support, video surveillance)

Communications expert in an FBI field office

Special Technology and Applications: interception and exploitation capabilities for customer/target-specific technologies; integration of evidence and intelligence derived from court-authorized intercepts and seizures of electronic data into databases that can be shared within the Bureau and, when appropriate, with our partner agencies.

Tactical Communications: oversight of voice, data, and video communications for day-to-day operational needs of the Bureau; facilitation of communications for the FBI and its partners during critical incidents or designated special events.

Technical Support

Tactical Operations: tools, systems, and equipment used in surreptitious entries and covert search operations.

Technical Support/Coordination: countermeasures to ensure FBI facilities/computer networks are secure from physical or technical compromise; target and risk analysis; research and development; operational assistance


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