AMERICA FROM TERRORIST ATTACK
The FBI's Fly Team: Have Expertise, Will Travel
Who do we call when
we need an infusion of seasoned counterterrorism investigators who can
respond quickly to dangerous threats and major terrorist attacks around
the country and across the globe?
The FBI Fly
What is it,
exactly? A small, highly trained cadre of terrorism first
responders—including agents and analysts—based at FBI Headquarters
who have their bags perpetually packed and can get anywhere on the
map in just a few hours.
skills do they bring to the table? The ability to conduct
sensitive, high-profile counterterrorism investigations in often difficult
and dangerous environments. The agents and analysts collectively speak
about a dozen languages—Arabic, Spanish, French, Swahili, Dutch,
is intense. Agents and analysts—selected after rigorous
tests, drills, and team-building exercises (and agents need at least
five years’ experience under their belts)—go through five
months of in-depth training. They learn everything from advanced post-blast
investigative techniques…to how to use specialized weapons and
handle hazardous materials. They are taught combat medical skills,
fingerprinting, hostage survival and resistance, and cultural awareness.
They study all aspects of terrorism and get briefings from a range
of terrorism experts. Between deployments, they fine-tune their skills.
once the team is called? They quickly gather intelligence
reports and information about the situation…talk to their counterparts
in the impacted field office or overseas nation…assemble equipment…and
pull together situation-specific specialists as needed—evidence
experts, bomb technicians, HAZMAT
personnel, and others. They learn as much as they can about the
locale. Then, they head for a plane.
Once on the
ground, the Fly Team quickly sets up a command post—our initial
presence at the site. Team members assess the situation and
launch the investigation, keeping in constant contact with FBI Headquarters
about the unfolding operation. They share and compare information and
intelligence with FBI offices around the globe through a secure computer
network. They proactively identify potential terrorist targets and
work to prevent future attacks. Once the investigation is solidly in
motion, the team hands it over to our long-term investigators and heads
has the team been called? More than 70 times in the last two
years, including assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other recent
- To Saudi Arabia,
following the 12/6/04 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah;
- To Istanbul,
Turkey, for the 6/04 NATO summit—to help prevent attacks
and provide instantaneous response in the event of an incident
- To Indonesia,
following the 8/5/03 car bombing in Jakarta;
- To Morocco, following
the 5/16/03 terrorist bombings in Casablanca.
In the days
ahead, we'll tell you about other FBI teams that go on the road with
expertise and equipment. Stay tuned!