On Monday this week, I attended a full day seminar with 100 other writers at the FBI’s New York city office as part of the #thrillerfest writers conference. The seminar was outstanding. At the end of the day, we were escorted across the road to 26 Federal Plaza and spent money at the FBI employee store (the general public is not allowed). I bought enough swag and Tshirts to equal the cost of the actual workshop.
The FBI took a case by case approach to the day. After being welcomed by the Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez, we learned about FBI tackled organized Eurasian crime (Taiwanchik), Cyber criminals, (Silk Road) Human trafficking with the Queen of the Snakeheads (Sister Ping), disrupting illegal equipment from getting into the hands of countries under US Sanctions (Chinese missile man), Murderers and Jewel thieves.
The FBI’s mission of course includes Counter Terrorism and one of the agents took us through a high profile case on how they tracked and stopped a group planning to manufacture and detonate explosives on US Soil. We also learned that the FBI’s reach is around the world when US citizens are involved (Somali Pirates). A band of Somali pirates a couple of years ago mistook a US navy boat for an easy target. Unfortunately, one of the pirates lost a leg in the takedown and the FBI agent remarked that since it was his case, he had the opportunity to interview a real one legged pirate.
Lots of questions were asked an answered about working life at the FBI, if relationships were frowned upon and how well the FBI worked with other law enforcement agencies but unfortunately for us writers, most of the agents talked about how well all the groups worked together and how NYPD and the FBI worked together as a team. So much for using inter-agency strife as a basis for a good plot line!
I personally found all the agents to be warm and welcoming. ALL of them loved their job and coming to work. Most had other jobs and careers before joining the FBI, ranging from School teachers, lawyers, IT and ex-military.
However.. no agent was willing to talk about the X-files 🙂
I’m looking forward to the rest of the conference!