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What Is Your IQ in Intelligence?

July 9, 2017

The United States uses seventeen different agencies to gather intelligence.



Have you read about them in the news lately? They are hard at work keeping America safe.


And that might work out really well, or not so much in your next novel - whether you are reading one or writing one.





1. Office of the Director of National Intelligence 
  • Created by Congress in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks

  • Coordinates intelligence collection and sharing among U.S. intelligence agencies. 

  • The director is the one who heads of the intelligence community is the principal advisor to the president, National Security Council, and Homeland Security Council on national security intelligence matters.

2.Central Intelligence Agency 
  • They collect intelligence data abroad.

3. National Security Agency
  • Once referred to as “No Such Agency” 

  • Technologically sophisticated. 

  • Focuses on signals intelligence

  • Cracks secret codes. 

  • It also protects U.S. information systems from outside penetration. 

  • Oversees PRISM and other mass surveillance programs exposed bySnowden . 

  • Hires math geeks :)

4. Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Pentagon’s top spy agency

  • Responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence on foreign militaries

  • The DIA shares this information with military leaders, fighters and defense policy makers in order to “prevent and decisively win wars.”

5. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • The FBI has both law enforcement and intelligence functions. (Unlike the CIA that only does intelligence.)

  • Works to protect the U.S. against terrorism, cyberattacks and foreign intelligence operations and espionage. 

  • Maintains the government’s terrorist watch list 

  • Sometimes the over lapping roles makes them clash with the CIA but that's why there's Iniquus!

6. Department of State – Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  • This bureau collects and analyzes intelligence on global affairs

  • They advise the secretary of State and other diplomats. 

  • Conducts foreign opinion polls and tracks and analyzes issues that may undermine U.S. foreign policy including 

      • weapons proliferation 

      • human trafficking

      • drug smuggling. 

7. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  • Emergency preparedness

  • Border control

  • Transportation security 

  • Biodefense (Like Ebola)

8. Drug Enforcement Administration – Office of National Security Intelligence
  • Illegally manufactured, distributed or dispensed. 

  • Responsible for the seizure and forfeiture of assets connected withdrug trafficking. 

9. Department of the Treasury – Office of Intelligence and Analysis -focuses on:
  • Sanctioned countries

  • Money launderers

  • Terrorists

  • Drug kingpins

  • Works to keep weapons of mass destruction sellers from using U.S. financial system.

10. Department of Energy – Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
  • Technical intelligence on:

      •  foreign nuclear weapons

      •  energy security

      •  science and technology

      •  nuclear energy

11. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

I talk about GIS in my books Relic and Deadlock both in my Uncommon Enemies series.

  • Support the Defense Department

  • provides of geospatial intelligence  “GEOINT” for

      •  combat

      • humanitarian and disaster relief

      • border security

      • transportation security 

      • security planning for special events. 

12. National Reconnaissance Office
  • Declassified in 1992. 

  • Designs, builds and operates the nation’s reconnaissance satellites

  • Provides

      •  navigation

      • early warning of missile launches 

      • (near) real-time imagery 

      • survey natural disatser

      • Environmental research - This was in my book DEADLOCK 

13. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  • 25th Air Force,

  • "Uses airplanes, drones and satellites to identify hideouts, bunkers, mobile launchers and weapons caches." (1)

  • Code-breaking (within the Air Force). 

14. Army Military Intelligence
15. Office of Naval Intelligence


16. Marine Corps Intelligence


17. Coast Guard Intelligence


  • Both military and the Department of Homeland Security

  • Covers more than 100,000 miles of coastline and inland waterways. 

  • Helps with criminal investigations 

  • Povides other agencies with intelligence from 

      • domestic and foreign ports

      • coastal waters 

      • Oceanic waters




I hope you find the right intelligence agency for your novel! Having information come in front different agncies might just be the twist your plot needs to make it interesting.




This article is based on the work and research of LA Times - please read more HERE