When I arrived as a new agent on my squad, I was the only female and the youngest. Everyone was polite, but my caseload was full of dead-end leads that the older and more experienced agents didn’t want to waste their time on.
My desk was at the end farthest from the supervisor, where all new agents were dumped. The agents closest to the throne of leadership were the older and more experienced ones.
The supervisor always stopped and chatted to the older agents, and they would often head out for breakfast together. When a good case arrived on his desk, guess to whom it was assigned? One of his buddies.
At the same time, an undercover operation was launched against one of the targets of an investigation. They were looking for an Undercover Agent (UCA), and I thought that my young age would be an advantage in this situation. I was afraid to suggest that I take the UCA role because I didn’t want to come across as being too aggressive or overly confident. After all, maybe they knew something that I didn’t.
I was afraid, so I kept my mouth shut.
The selected UCA failed to ingratiate himself with the target of the investigation, and the operation closed down.
This is a great quote from Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
That’s how I felt. I could have waited until one of the older agents came up with another idea for an undercover operation, but one day I found my courage. I wasn’t going to let fear stop me. I believed that I had the ability to make a difference in this case. That gave me courage.
I believed that my job mattered and that what I did mattered. That gave me courage.
I’d been side-lined long enough, so I decided to pre-empt another undercover operation by coming up with an idea of my own. One that would require a younger agent to fit into the population we were targeting.
I wrote it up and handed it to my supervisor. He shrugged his shoulders and told me good luck because FBIHQ would be the ones to give it the green light. My budget was too big, and the backstopping needed to protect my identity would require…