From: Otis Willie
Subject: FBI Expands New Agent Training
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 14:59:09 EDT
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 18:59:09 GMT
FBI Expands New Agent Training
(EXCERPT) Wed Aug 28, 3:16 AM ET, by CHRISTOPHER NEWTON, Associated
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI ( news - web sites) has expanded training
for new agents to include more instruction on counterterrorism skills
like reading body language and assessing intelligence from foreign
Roger Trott, head of the FBI's new agent training program at Quantico,
Va., said the amount of time new agents are trained in
counterterrorism and counterintelligence will be more than doubled
beginning in October, from 23 hours to 55 hours.
FBI basic training, which usually lasts 16 weeks, will be extended by
a week to help accommodate the change. The FBI is also training some
longtime agents to read body language, officials said.
"Since Sept. 11, there has been an emphasis on preparing agents to
deal with terrorism cases," Trott said. "It is very rare that time is
added on to new agent training."
FBI training generally has focused on physical conditioning and
crime-solving techniques. Abilities like reading body language and
dealing with foreign intelligence are now receiving more attention.
"Training includes deciphering all the clues you can get — not just
what someone tells you in an interview, but all the signals they may
give off," Trott said.
Former FBI chief analyst Paul Moore said the expansion of basic
training was necessary, but was skeptical about whether the FBI was
"It is significant, but compared to what we need, it is a drop in the
ocean," said Moore, an analyst for the Centre for Counterintelligence
and Security Studies, a private research firm. "What we need to do is
focus on creating agents who have a better chance to intercept
intelligence and disrupt operations. One week probably won't be enough
to make a real change."
The usefulness of agents who are trained in the basics of reading body
language became clear as the FBI learned more about how terrorists
operated in the country undetected before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Two days before the attacks, for example, Ziad Jarrah roared past a
Maryland State Police trooper at about 90 mph. He got the usual
treatment: a ticket and a quick reprimand.
That ticket was found crumpled up in the car's glove compartment at
Newark Airport on Sept. 11, hours after Jarrah and three others
hijacked an airliner that crashed in western Pennsylvania.
Law enforcement officials, while being careful not to suggest the
officer should have done anything differently, say the story
illustrates that chance encounters can be important.
David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Spokane,
Wash., said it's relatively easy to learn the basics about body
"It's like any other language — you can get a few basic words that
will help you with easy situations very quickly," Givens said.
"Getting a working knowledge of the more subtle points can take
Givens said it's likely that terrorists give off obvious signs of
anxiety before they attack.
"There are certain human responses to great pressure that cannot be
easily controlled, if you accept the idea that they can be controlled
at all," Givens said. "It can be an effective law enforcement tool."
The FBI is also expanding training about Islamic fundamentalism.
In the hunt for al-Qaida members, the FBI has turned up troves of
computer records, operation manuals and other documents, most of which
are in Arabic. Translating the documents has been a slow process,
according to Justice Department ( news - web sites) officials, but
making use of the translated data is equally difficult.
It took the FBI three months to discover a picture of Saud Abdulaziz
Saud al-Rasheed among pictures of the Sept. 11 hijackers in one trove
of al-Qaida documents. The agency immediately issued a public alert
with al-Rasheed's picture, seeking information on his possible
A senior Justice Department official acknowledged the FBI is trying to
expand its ability to assess information in Arabic.
Juliette Kayyem, a terrorism expert and professor at Harvard
University, said the new training will only be useful if it focuses on
behavior. "The FBI gets into the most trouble when it views a certain
belief as dangerous," Kayyem said. "The behavior training or training
that focuses on dealing with people from other cultures is good, but
when agents begin to focus on belief systems you just get widespread
alienation in the communities where you most need help."
On the Net:
-- DEA Watch
The Voice of the Drug Enforcement Agent
American Victims of Substance Abuse Memorial