The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.
To perform its mission, the FBI employs a number of core tools, including investigative techniques, forensics, information technologies, and strategic partnerships. Intelligence is also one of those core tools. As a core tool and competency, intelligence is an integral part of the FBI’s investigative mission. It is imbedded in the day-to-day work of the FBI from the initiation of preliminary investigations to the development of FBI-wide investigative strategies.
The tool of intelligence is more important than ever in today’s threat environment. The threats facing the United States are evolving. Threats are global, and often emanate from transnational enterprises that rely on sophisticated information technology. As such, threats transcend geographic boundaries,as well as the boundaries of authorities in the U.S. national security infrastructure. In this threat environment, having the right information at the right time is essential to protecting national security.
The FBI has a mandate from Congress, the President,the Attorney General, and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to protect national security by producing intelligence in support of its own investigative mission, national intelligence priorities, and the needs of other customers. The FBI must serve the American people with an enterprise-wide intelligence program that makes its investigations most effective for national security, homeland security, and law enforcement purposes, while meeting external needs for FBI information and analysis.
Requirements are identified information needs--what we must know to safeguard the nation. Intelligence requirements are established by the Director of Central Intelligence according to guidance received from the President and the National and Homeland Security Advisors. Requirements are developed based on critical information required to protect the United States from National Security and criminal threats. The Attorney General and the Director of the FBI participate in the formulation of national intelligence requirements.
Planning and Direction is management of the entire effort, from identifying the need for information to delivering an intelligence product to a consumer. It involves implementation plans to satisfy requirements levied on the FBI, as well as identifying specific collection requirements based on FBI needs. Planning and direction also is responsive to the end of the cycle, because current and finished intelligence, which supports decision-making, generates new requirements. The Executive Assistant Director for Intelligence leads intelligence planning and direction for the FBI.
Collection is the gathering of raw information based on requirements. Activities such as interviews, technical and physical surveillances, human source operation, searches, and liaison relationships result in the collection of intelligence.
Processing and Exploitation involves converting the vast amount of information collected to a form usable by analysts. This is done through a variety of methods including decryption, language translations, and data reduction. Processing includes the entering of raw data into databases where it can be exploited for use in the analysis process.
Analysis and Production is the conversion of raw information into intelligence. It includes integrating, evaluating, and analyzing available data, and preparing intelligence products. The information's reliability, validity, and relevance is evaluated and weighed. The information is logically integrated, put in context, and used to produce intelligence. This includes both "raw" and finished intelligence. Raw intelligence is often referred to as "the dots" --individual pieces of information disseminated individually. Finished intelligence reports "connect the dots" by putting information in context and drawing conclusions about its implications.
Dissemination--the last step--which directly responds to the first, is the distribution of raw or finished intelligence to the consumers whose needs initiated the intelligence requirements. The FBI disseminates information in three standard formats: IIR's, FBI Intelligence Bulletins, and FBI Intelligence Assessments. FBI Intelligence products are provided daily to the Attorney General, the President, and to customers throughout the FBI and in other agencies. These FBI intelligence customers make decisions--operational, strategic, and policy--based on the information. These decisions may lead to the levying of more requirements, thus continuing the FBI Intelligence Cycle.BACK