1. #1
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    CIA Operations Officer vs FBI SA

    What are the main differences between being a CIA spy and being an FBI Special Agent in the Intelligence division? I'm aware of the core difference that FBI primarily works in the US while CIA works overseas. I'm also aware that neither job is like they show it on TV and is quite boring but with that in mind which job has more "action"? Thanks.

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    If you have to ask which job has more "action" then you definitely don't quite realize the difference between TV and reality. I recommend you join the military as an 11B or a 0311 and learn exactly what "action" entails. I am sure humping a 100 lbs of gear in the bush with a squad leader or platoon sergeant riding your *** will cure you of your need for "action." Both jobs require intelligent people willing to spend a lot of time analyzing a lot of information who are more interesting in getting the job done than in getting involved in a shooting situation. I guarantee you neither agency wants their assets running around half cocked trying to start an incident.

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    Two very competitive and coveted jobs! One has arrest authorities and one doesn't. The primary difference is that one involves managing a large network of spies without getting caught overseas while the other is based on making cases. I recommend you read Ali Soufan's book "The Black Banners", he was a FBI Special Agent that worked extensively with the Agency. A healthy dose of eastern foreign language proficiency is a must these day in Intel Ops. Most guys I know who didn't get hired directly or intern came through the military CI/HUMINT (35M). I've worked in both communities and I can tell you that the culture is different. Intel is way more laid-back and taking off work was never a problem for A/L. The pay is great in both career fields, however living overseas with overtime can push your paycheck into the 250k range as a GS-13. However, if your heart is with law enforcement go the 1811 route.

    Good Luck,

    Your question was completely valid one. It's always hard to know what you're getting into prior to going through the process.

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    Two completely different jobs. Different cultures, didn't ends and means.

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    You are missing the point here. Forget the "Action" part, it's meaningless if no one likes or gets along (FBI) with you. CIA is the way to go, everyone one will love you, but you cant tell them who you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timmyy19 View Post
    What are the main differences between being a CIA spy and being an FBI Special Agent in the Intelligence division? I'm aware of the core difference that FBI primarily works in the US while CIA works overseas. I'm also aware that neither job is like they show it on TV and is quite boring but with that in mind which job has more "action"? Thanks.
    1st off- employees of the CIA are not “spies” per se but Case Officers, Operations Officers and so on.
    Slightly distilled but the FBI is a law enforcement agency and the CIA is an intelligence agency. Yes, the FBI is part of the Intelligence Community, but the primary focus of the FBI is to enforce the law while the CIA’s primary focus is to collect and analyze intelligence.

    An FBI agent working intelligence may do criminal investigations related to foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, protection and so on. A CIA Case Officer manages assets and sources to collect intelligence.

    There is so much more you need to learn about each and what the distinct differences are. In this endeavor I would suggest you do some deliberate research- through with you will hopefully come away with a true appreciation of what they do and more.
    Quote Originally Posted by SSD View Post
    It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
    And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

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