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Here's What It's Like: Up Close and Personal


Photograph of Special Agent Brian T. Herrick Meet Special Agent Brian T. Herrick of the FBI's Office in Buffalo, New York.

Q: Brian, you were launched on a high-tech career in private industry. How on earth did you end up in the FBI?
It's a funny story. I was in a high-tech company that became interested in the FBI's program to improve information sharing between private industry and government to protect U.S. critical infrastructures. So I was signed up in the Philadelphia "InfraGard" chapter and later served as a chapter vice-president in Wilmington, Delaware. Working with FBI agents did it. They loved their work, and I could see why with my own eyes. I knew it was the right move to put my technical skills to work for the FBI--for both public service and personal satisfaction reasons. Today, among other things, I'm the coordinator for the Buffalo InfraGard chapter.

Q: Can you give me a thumbnail of what you've done in your two years as an agent?
To say it's been diverse and totally absorbing is an understatement. I focus mainly on Cyber crimes, but as a relatively "new" agent, I've cut my teeth on a variety of cases. Things like responding to bank robberies, providing security for undercover drug buys, monitoring organized crime Title III's (wiretaps), and working a kidnapping. I've even done aerial surveillance on a racketeering case that gave me the best view of Niagara Falls I've ever seen!

Q: What's a typical working day like?
Honestly, there is no such thing in the Bureau. This can make it difficult to plan sometimes, but I wouldn't want it any other way. In my computer forensic work alone on any given day I might be examining logs of a network intrusion...interviewing an Internet fraud victim...analyzing the seized computer of a child predator...doing research for a Cyber Terrorism case...readying evidence for presentation to a Grand Jury...or helping out with other cases. For example, helping the bank robbery squad retrieve some digital images of a recent hold up from a bank surveillance camera. Just recently I worked undercover to get evidence in an illegal software case--it was a completely interesting experience that got us the evidence and probable cause we needed to execute a search warrant on the subject's residence and website. I interviewed him in New Jersey and got a full confession, which is always nice--very satisfying.

Q: What do you like best about the job?
Believe it or not, I like the access to technology. Director Mueller has made technology improvements one of the FBI top priorities and it shows. I'm really pleased with the technical tools I have to do my job. Here in Buffalo I'm part of what we affectionately call CyberSWAT--a group of technically trained Agents who respond to network intrusions in real-time to help identify the attacker and assist with the preservation of evidence. We have some special software and equipment to help us--the access to emerging technology is really excellent.

Links: Apply at www.fbijobs.com | Cyber investigations | Buffalo Cyber Task Force | Infragard