As a second installment in Horizons’ new series of FBI Career profiles, we interviewed long-time Arizona resident Supervisory Intelligence Analyst (SIA) Mary Clark. She has been with the FBI since 2003 and spent almost 17 years as an Intelligence Analyst herself before moving into the supervisory position about 6 months ago.`
Clark manages and mentors 11 analysts working in the sectors of Violent Crimes, Violent Gangs, Indian Country Crimes, Human Trafficking, and Crimes Against Children. “Intelligence Analysts are working hand-in-hand with the agents to do research and make connections between targets of our investigations,” Clark says.
In contrast to Special Agents that work directly to close cases, the analysts are also developing a birds-eye-view of the threat environment in their area of responsibility: the state of Arizona. “Analysts find the missing puzzle pieces and leverage their research skills to advance cases and maintain threat awareness,” Clark describes. This helps the local and even national branches of government flesh out the criminal and national security threat picture in their jurisdiction.
On a daily basis, Clark’s analysts could be completing any variety of research and analysis tasks related to their intelligence products (the deliverables that summarize their findings). This could mean piecing together the associates of a criminal suspect or identifying a gang network that may be evolving in the area. This field is “very reactive,” says Clark. “There’s a lot of activity that we are trying to identify and mitigate.”
Of course, Clark spent many years as an analyst herself. “I wanted to feel confident in my research, writing, and briefing skills before I moved into this supervisory role,” she says. As a supervisor, she not only approves intelligence products, research results, and database checks, but also serves as a mentor to the analysts on her team. “I love to see how their work is not only driving investigations, but helping our executives at FBI Phoenix like our Special Agent In Charge maintain awareness of emerging threats in the state of Arizona,” says Clark.
The intelligence deliverables the group produces help to inform a number of other parties, from neighboring FBI branches and local law enforcement to the national level of FBI headquarters and other government agencies. On the local level, the information supports active cases being worked by Special Agents and informs law enforcement partners.
Products generated by the Intelligence Analysts can also be used to indicate areas for resource allocation. “It feeds our local folks here in Arizona because it enhances their understanding of threats and vulnerabilities. That helps executives make resource allocation and staffing decisions. If we have a surge of criminal activity in a specific area or program, for example a new violent gang emerging, they can mitigate the threat by surging resources to that particular squad to tackle the threat head-on and keep it from becoming a bigger issue.
The work in Clark’s team at FBI Phoenix is also a part of the effort to understand these issues on a nationwide scale. Clark recently worked in collaboration with another Intelligence Analyst on a long and comprehensive product that was used in conjunction with those from other sites to develop a national picture. “That information was very valuable and was used to inform a national product that went to FBI headquarters leadership to help inform their understanding,” Clark recalls of the project.
Before coming to the FBI, Clark got her Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. During undergraduate, she had an internship at the Tempe police department as a Crime Analyst that changed her career trajectory completely. “I had planned to go to law school, but I got the criminal justice bug and decided to take a different route,” she says.
Clark got a Master’s in Justice Law and Society from American University in Washington, D.C. and was accepted into the Presidential Management Fellowship Program, where she got her first FBI job as an analyst from a career fair in 2003. She highly recommends students look out for internships that can tip them off to what could be their dream job. “From then on, that was everything that I wanted to do. My entire career, I can trace back to that internship,” she recalls.
Reflecting on being an Intelligence Analyst and now supervisor of a few, Clark says, “My job is intellectually challenging. Analysts face hard problems every day. I love that, that’s the job of an analyst. As with most job types in the FBI, it’s never boring.” More information on becoming an Intelligence Analyst can be found at [https://fbijobs.gov/career-paths/intelligence-analysts].