View Full Version : Federal law enforcement agencies

07-19-2012, 09:27 PM
I want to write a spy thriller in the vein of Jennifer Garner and Alias. I have one question before I start and this is a big one because it is the hinge of my entire script.

If the CIA had a leak within it would be able to go to another agency like the FBI for help?

07-19-2012, 10:24 PM
The CIA would do its best to handle it in-house.

If the leak constitutes espionage, and/or it took place on US soil/jurisdiction, the FBI has investigative jurisdiction. Were it to happen elsewhere (overseas) it would theoretically remain the CIA's problem to solve. However the reality is that the two agencies work together far better than Hollywood would have you believe. An ad hoc task force would not be unusual.

The disposition of the case can be a bit murky. National security, need-to-know clearance issues, and sensitive intelligence priorities may become serious considerations.

If it appears or is determined that the suspect would be prosecuted in the civilian US federal court system (the Attorney General would likely be involved in that decision process, but the final decision would be made in the Oval Office) then the FBI would assuredly be involved in the investigation.

07-20-2012, 04:10 PM
I am going to try to rephrase this since federal law enforcement isn't my area of expertise. Ironmikezero just said if the initial crime took place on US soil then the FBI would handle the case.

07-20-2012, 07:49 PM
Not always. CIA technically has no jurisdiction for its operations inside the US, but they can (and do) investigate their own security issues. NSA, FBI and the various DOD intel agencies could conceivably be called for help. The general Homeland Security department could very likely be involved.

In most cases, there's not much in the way of turf wars between agencies. If one needs help, the others provide it. The end goal is almost always the same.

It really depends on the specific incidents. And you can always make your work believable even if it's a little vague.


07-21-2012, 05:37 PM
Okay, thank you