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View Full Version : Hey, you guys, any FBI agents here? Questions?



BrynnaC
07-31-2008, 10:32 PM
Hey, AW's. Any of you guys agents, staff, cleaning ladies for the FBI? I have a bazillion research questions for a suspense novel I'm writing. I want it to be as realistic as possible, so is there anybody here willing to let me bug them with questions?

Linda Adams
08-01-2008, 01:35 AM
This thread might be worth a look:

FBI's 100th Anniversary (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110684)

The Grift
08-06-2008, 07:28 PM
You considerably decrease your chances of getting answers if you don't ask the questions.

As far as I know there aren't any actual agents, but there are plenty on here who have enough outsider's knowledge to give your book the verisimilitude to pass anyone's sniff-test short of Mueller's. There are people who know agents, people who have researched the agency considerably, people who can point you towards books by those in the know, and plenty others. You may have to sift through a little bit of misinformation, but it can get you started in the right direction.

So what's your first question?

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 12:37 AM
Where does the FBI keep evidence for use in a major trial?
If said evidence went missing, what steps would be protocol for retrieving it?
I've esubscribed to the FBI site for all sorts of updates.

I hope neither of these is a stupid question.

The Grift
08-09-2008, 12:44 AM
The FBI holds onto evidence until the trial, at which point it becomes the responsibility of the USMS, Court, and/or Clerk with certain exceptions.


United States Attorney's Manual USAM § 3-13.250
USAM § 3-13.250
§ 3-13.250 Evidence

Normally, United States Attorneys' offices (USAOs) should not have custody of evidence. Under most circumstances, evidence should remain in the custody of the investigating agency. When evidence is required in court the agencies handling the case, or other representative of the investigating agency, should bring the evidence and retain custody until the material is introduced as evidence, at which point it becomes the responsibility of the United States Marshal, the Clerk, and the Court.

Timely arrangements shall be made with the United States Marshals Service (USMS), or other agencies subject to the court's policy, for the storage of all evidence pending its formal disposition by court order, except drugs. If the evidence involves drugs or drug paraphernalia, such evidence will remain in the custody of the federal agent in charge of the case, who will ensure the integrity of the evidence is secured and all evidence is present at the court proceeding.

Documentary Evidence

Generally, the only occasion when evidence might be stored in the USAO is when documentary evidence, secured under a grand jury subpoena, is delivered into the custody of the United States Attorney. As long as such documentary evidence is needed, it should be kept under appropriate security arrangements. As soon as there is no further need for the evidence, such as when a determination is made that evidence will not be introduced and is unnecessary, it should be returned to the owner. Exhibits and abandoned or unclaimed property, in connection with litigation, which the USAO cannot return to its lawful owner, should be turned over to the USMS for disposal.

If additional space is needed to store such evidence, the usual procedures for procurement of space should be followed.

Physical Evidence

USAOs may be authorized storage of physical evidence under exceptional circumstances and for such short periods of time as necessary to present the evidence to the court or grand jury.

When accepting the custody of evidence is justified, USAOs shall, as a minimum, initiate the following procedures:

(1) Establish and maintain a permanent log of evidence transferred to and from their custody;

(2) Issue, as well as require, receipts for evidence transferred to and from their custody;

(3) Ensure all evidence is stored in secure facilities.

Sensitive High-Risk Physical Evidence

Storage of sensitive high-risk physical evidence, such as weapons, drugs, cash, negotiable instruments, or any other dangerous or valuable items, in USAOs is strongly discouraged. However, under exceptional circumstances storage may be allowed in areas and containers which have been approved by the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) and meet the following conditions:

(1) A one-time written request by the United States Attorney to EOUSA with full justification for the need to establish a sensitive high-risk storage area is approved by the Director, EOUSA;

(2) Written certification by the District Office Security Manager that the proposed storage area and containers meet EOUSA's sensitive high-risk physical evidence storage standards will satisfy interim certification requirements. Completion of a one-time, on-site security survey by the Security Programs Staff (SPS), EOUSA is required prior to final certification of the area;

(3) A written agreement between the USAO and the Special Agent-in-Charge or appropriate supervisory official of the investigative agency, requiring the storage of sensitive high-risk physical evidence. The agreement will state the USAO will not assume custody of the evidence, but will only provide storage facilities which will allow the agency to retain complete custody of, and full control over, access to the sensitive high-risk physical evidence;

(4) A one-time review and approval by SPS of the office's operational and administrative procedures for the storage of sensitive high-risk physical evidence to ensure compliance with EOUSA guidelines.

Under no circumstances will the storage of explosives, high quantities of ammunition, flammable devices, or chemicals be allowed."




As far as where the Bureau stores it, I don't know 100%, but I believe they have folks called Evidence Control Technicians who control the evidence. For the labs, anyway. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/html/ecu1.htm and it is stored at Evidence Control Centers. This might only be certain sorts of evidence, I don't know. If you search the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility (http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/)), you can see when various Evidence Control Technicians have been investigated for suspected theft or mishandling of evidence.


"Evidence Control Unit

The Evidence Control Unit (ECU) is the first stop for all evidence received at the FBI Laboratory. With 10 separate units in the Laboratory examining evidence, the ECU is the focal point for managing the inherent administrative aspects of each piece of evidence. Before transporting the evidence to the Laboratory’s examining units, the ECU enters the case information into an automated evidence-control system, inventories each piece of evidence received, and designs an examination plan to direct the path the evidence will take through the Laboratory.

As the central point for the administrative management of evidence, the ECU provides a single point of contact for contributors. Each case is assigned to an ECU physical scientist, who tracks and manages the evidence from receipt to final disposition. The point of contact immediately establishes liaison with the contributor to acknowledge receipt of the evidence and to discuss pertinent case issues. This direct contact allows contributors to check the status of their evidence as well as to receive advice and guidance on packaging, transporting, and storing evidence.

The positive effects of this centralized evidence work flow can be seen in the ECU’s successful management of every piece of evidence the FBI Laboratory receives, whether it comes from high-profile major-case incidents or from the myriad pieces of evidence submitted every day to the Laboratory from all over the world. "
http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/labannual05/labannual05.htm

Again, this is just for the lab, from what I can glean. But they FBI lab processes a whole lot of evidence.

Anyway, that's all I could do on short notice. This is the sort of stuff that I don't really know, being an outsider.

What sort of evidence is it?

As far as the procedures they would take to investigate, those are almost certainly going to be OpSec sensitive, and you're unlikely to find anyone who would tell you. However, they would almost certainly aggressively interview anyone who had signed off on the chain of custody, leaning especially heavily on the ECT, if it was lab evidence.

Jeesh! I thought you were just going to ask what kind of guns they used or something! ;-)

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 01:01 AM
okay? I had guessed the US Attorney would have it. I'm talking right after an arrest though.

The Grift
08-09-2008, 01:22 AM
US Attorney would not have it. No idea where it goes in the short term. Sorry.

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 01:26 AM
US Attorney would not have it. No idea where it goes in the short term. Sorry.

Thanks anyway.

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 01:28 AM
The FBI holds onto evidence until the trial, at which point it becomes the responsibility of the USMS, Court, and/or Clerk with certain exceptions.





As far as where the Bureau stores it, I don't know 100%, but I believe they have folks called Evidence Control Technicians who control the evidence. For the labs, anyway. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/html/ecu1.htm and it is stored at Evidence Control Centers. This might only be certain sorts of evidence, I don't know. If you search the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility (http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/)), you can see when various Evidence Control Technicians have been investigated for suspected theft or mishandling of evidence.



Again, this is just for the lab, from what I can glean. But they FBI lab processes a whole lot of evidence.

Anyway, that's all I could do on short notice. This is the sort of stuff that I don't really know, being an outsider.

What sort of evidence is it?

As far as the procedures they would take to investigate, those are almost certainly going to be OpSec sensitive, and you're unlikely to find anyone who would tell you. However, they would almost certainly aggressively interview anyone who had signed off on the chain of custody, leaning especially heavily on the ECT, if it was lab evidence.

Jeesh! I thought you were just going to ask what kind of guns they used or something! ;-)

Just read this post. Stolen museum diamonds.

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 01:30 AM
MMM, the diamonds were there and then they wen't missing. No one knows why or where to at the moment, or who to yell at first. YEah, what kind of gun do they use?
Don't stress, Grift!

BrynnaC
08-09-2008, 01:32 AM
Would an agent who had taken over a local case, allow a detective to help with the investigation or undercover work?

The Grift
08-09-2008, 01:38 AM
I can't vouch for the accuracy of this website, but this pdf (http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/US_v_Shnewer_FBI302_5092007.pdf) purports to be an after-action FD-302 report for the FBI, which is at least the actual number of the report that must be filed. Take note of the last sentence:


The photographs, sketch and FD-59? have been included in the 1-A envelope associated with this FD-302. All evidence seized has been' submitted to the FBI Philadelphia evidence control room.

So right after a search or arrest, it goes to an evidence control room at the FO where the agents are based.

reigningcatsndogs
08-09-2008, 07:13 AM
I worked for the RCMP -- does that count?
Evidence, the minute it is gathered, is bagged and tagged with the file number, the investigator, the location it was gathered, the time and the date. It is sealed with special tape that is damned near impossible to remove without leaving a mark behind, and it is initialled. Every time it is removed and replaced in the bag, the time, date, reason and person touching are again recorded, and it is resealed and that seal is signed on. It is processed, meaning the information on the bag and the details of the contents are recorded in a ledger as well as in the file. It is then stored in an evidence room that has high security and can be accessed by specific clerks or officers... depending on the situation of the office. Typically it will be piled into evidence boxes that are labelled with the file # for easy access and to keep it all together. The evidence will not leave the custody of the police and the evidence room until after all legal processes are complete and the chance for appeal has passed. Up here, at least, the lawyers do not see or touch the actual evidence until they are sitting in a courtroom -- they have copies and pictures and all the details, but they will not have the evidence. I don't know if that helps, but that's how it was done here.

The Grift
08-09-2008, 08:37 AM
Would an agent who had taken over a local case, allow a detective to help with the investigation or undercover work?

FBI agents do not "take over" local cases. If their jurisdiction is concurrent with local cops, they work a joint investigation (and then take all the credit ;-) )

If the FBI gets involved in a local case that does not fall under federal law or have an interstate aspect to it, it is because the locals have asked for assistance. If you're talking stolen diamonds, this would probably have to be the way they get involved unless there's an interstate character to the crime. Although, the FBI does have an Art Recovery section, so it may fall under this purview.

So, yes, they would work side by side with the locals.


MMM, the diamonds were there and then they wen't missing. No one knows why or where to at the moment, or who to yell at first. YEah, what kind of gun do they use?
Don't stress, Grift!

They'd probably yell at the guy in charge of the Evidence Room, or whoever last signed for the evidence. What catsanddogs was referring to is chain of evidence and it must be impeccable and unbroken or the evidence will most likely never make it to court.

NAT's (New Agent Trainees) are issued a .40 caliber Glock pistol, Model 22 (full-size) or 23 (slightly smaller) upon graduation from Quantico. Older agents may still be grandfathered in and may be able to use SIG P226's, SIG Sauer P229's, 10mm Smith & Wesson 1076's, and a few others. Or they may no longer be able to do that. SWAT and HRT qualified agents can use a Springfield Armory Bureau Model 1911 in .45 caliber. That's all just issued sidearms.

I'm not stressed! I love this stuff! You just managed to stump me with your very first question!

StephanieFox
08-09-2008, 09:37 AM
I'm not an FBI agent, but I used to watch "THE FBI" – (In Color!) on TV. Quinn/Martin surely knew something.

:D