Imagine You A Member of the F.B.I.

"IMAGINE YOU A MEMBER OF THE F.B.I." (Courtesy of Coleen Rowley) The Feminine Touch by J. Edgar Hoover The FBI stenographer casually glanced out the office window. For a moment she wistfully admired the latest spring fashions in a shop across the street. Then her eye strayed to a nearby automobile. Suddenly she jumped back. For there in the bright sunlight she caught the glint of a gun barrel—a barrel which seemed to be pointing right up to her. Quickly, the young lady notified her office supervisor. An FBI Agent soon ascertained that the glint came from a .22 automatic being cleaned by a young man seated in the car. Local police were called and within minutes the culprit—a fugitive from justice—was in custody. Such an occurrence is, of course, unusual in the day's work of a woman employee of the FBI. But it points up the alertness so typical of these young ladies—alertness which is a vital factor in the work of this organization. Time and again the quick thinking of our female employees has proved the valuable link in bringing a case to a successful conclusion. Let's consider for a moment the work of women in the FBI. There are no female Special Agents. This policy necessarily stems from the nature of the work an investigator is called upon to perform. His job may entail the hot pursuit of criminals involving great physical hazard. Or he may be required to spend days and nights away from home tracking down a dangerous fugitive. Sometimes this mean hours in rugged terrain or in isolated areas. But, while none of the FBI's 6,506 women employees carry the title of "Special Agent," they do hold many responsible positions. As stenographers, typists, switchboard and teletype operators, clerks, radio dispatchers, laboratory aides—they render valuable services. Without the competent performance of our female employees, the FBI could not function properly. One of the most indispensable jobs performed by women in the FBI is that of stenographer. The FBI stenographer may be called on to transcribe a report setting forth vital details of an espionage case. Or she may be required to take notes about a serious crime, such as kidnaping or a bank robbery. Perhaps she must type a telegram notifying a field office of the possible location of a vicious criminal. As you can see, such assignments require the utmost in speed and accuracy on the part of the FBI stenographer. On a number of occasions the alertness of these stenographers and typists has resulted in the solution of a case. Just recently our New York Office received an inquiry from an automobile rental agency concerning a stolen car. An individual who had rented the vehicle had apparently absconded with it. "Did the New York Office have any record of the automobile?" A check of Office records reflected no information on the vehicle, and accordingly, a Special Agent dictated a reply to that effect to his secretary.

DOES THE FBI EMPLOY WOMEN AS SPECIAL AGENTS? IF NOT, WHY? DOES THE FBI EMPLOY WOMEN AS SPECIAL AGENTS? IF NOT, WHY? No. Because of the hazardous nature of some of the duties Special Agents are called upon to perform, the FBI does not employ women in this position. Special Agents must be qualified to cope with any situation they may be called upon to face. Women do, however, hold many important positions in the FBI.

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Coleen Rowley

is Special Agent in the Minneapolis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (She speaks in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the FBI.)

Since September 11, 2001, she has been examining her own deepest motivations and has become a counselor and role model for others. In this program, she speaks about her personal experiences and how her conscience has developed. What might the high-profile courage of this plainspoken woman have to do with the rest of us, in other fields of work?

is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and facilitator. He's the past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and former Vice President and Editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

Tim McGuire connects the morality of whistleblowing with a larger movement sometimes called spirituality in the workplace. McGuire writes a weekly syndicated column, More Than Work, for United Media addressing ethics, spirituality, and values in work. He traces his interest in this field to a period in which he was searching for ways to reconcile his own values and his style of leadership.

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