Thursday, January 15, 2015

FBI Is Part of US Intelligence Community

Are you surprised to learn that the FBI is officially part of the United States Intelligence Community? Did you know there's actually a list?

If you visit the Intelligence Community Web site at, you can learn more about the IC. The member agencies page lists all 17 organizations.

The FBI didn't always emphasize an intelligence role. The Directorate of Intelligence appeared in 2005 and was part of the National Security Branch, as described here.

Now, as shown on the latest organizational chart, Intelligence is a peer with the National Security Branch. Each has its own Executive Assistant Director. NSB currently houses a division for Counterterrorism, a division for Counterintelligence, and directorate for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

You may notice that there is a Cyber Divison within a separate branch for "Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services." If the Bureau continues to stay exceptionally engaged in investigating and countering cyber crime, espionage, and sabotage, we might see a separate Cyber branch at some point.

The elevation of the Bureau's intelligence function was a consequence of 9-11 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

If you want to read a book on the IC, Jeffrey Richelson publishes every few years on the topic. His sixth edition dates to 2011. I read an earlier edition, and noticed his writing is fairly dry.

Mark Lowenthal's book is also in its sixth edition. I was able to find my review of the fourth edition, if you want my detailed opinion.

In general these books are suitable for students and participants in the IC. Casual readers will probably not find them exciting enough. Reading them and related .gov sites will help keep you up to date on the nature and work of the IC, however.

With this information in mind, it might make more sense to some why the FBI acted both as investigator for recent intrusions and as a spokesperson for the IC.

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