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One Briefing at a Time

FBI Director Robert Mueller meeting with his intelligence briefer.
FBI Director Mueller gets the latest intelligence on national security from one of his daily briefers

“It’s pretty amazing to know that after I provided information to Director Mueller, he turned around and gave it to the President.”

This—according to Jennifer, one of our intelligence briefers—is one good reason why she feels a sense of accomplishment at the end of a day on the job. It’s heady stuff: playing a small but vital role in the national security decision-making process at the highest levels of our government.

We have several such briefers at any given time—experienced analysts who typically spend a year briefing the FBI Director, the U.S. Attorney General, and both of their executive staffs, covering the full range of our priorities but focusing on national security matters.

Among the briefers’ duties: sifting through mountains of raw intelligence, investigative reports, analytical reports, open source material, and intelligence assessments—from both from the Bureau and our intelligence community partners—and then delivering clear and concise presentations on the most relevant information.

For more details on their roles, we went straight to the source—current and former FBI briefers. Here’s some of what they had to say: 

Best part of the job?

“Seeing up close the real contribution that the FBI makes to combat terrorism in the U.S. and around the globe—and playing a part in that,” says John.

For Jennifer, it’s knowing that “policy discussions are being deliberated based on the intelligence you’ve provided.”

It’s participating in the unfolding intelligence cycle—“how intelligence is created by the intel community and consumed by senior cabinet members,” explains Jed.

FBI Director Robert Mueller with his intelligence briefer and other senior executives.
In addition to briefing the FBI Director and his senior staff, our briefers also participate in similar daily sessions with the U.S. Attorney General.

Most challenging aspect?

“Working night shift hours—but overall, the amazing experience of briefing the executives is worth the sleep sacrifice!” says Ayn.

According to Lucian, “The series of morning briefings are fast-paced, intense, and stressful…the long hours of continual preparation are exhausting…but there is immense satisfaction in knowing one’s words assist executives in making critical decisions.”

What makes a good briefer?

“Excellent analytical abilities,” says Pradeep, “along with strong oral and written skills, and definitely the ability to be decisive and calm under demanding time constraints.”

Brian believes you have to be a straight-shooter: “If you don’t know the answer to a question, you have to look the executive in the eye and say ‘I don’t know, but I will find out for you.’ And then find out.”

The bottom line. FBI briefers—who not only work with representatives from across Bureau programs but also with fellow briefers at other agencies—make sure vital intelligence gets to the people in a position to act upon it. Explains Jason, “We’re brokers of information…we provide senior FBI officials and our partner intelligence agencies with the facts and perspectives they need to get the job done.” 

And FBI national security executive Phil Mudd adds, “It’s hard to overestimate the importance of briefers…they not only present facts but help us understand context. They describe problems and outline opportunities in ways that give the Department of Justice and the FBI teams a concise way to start every day. We could not succeed without them, their talent, and their dedication.”

If you like what you hear—and are interested in joining the FBI as an analyst and possibly as a future briefer—it’s a good time to apply. We’ve just posted more than 2,100 professional staff jobs, including analyst positions, on our FBI Jobs website.

Hiring blitz story
- More stories on FBI analysts
- FBI Intelligence Directorate

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