The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in late-October quietly revealed their ongoing Cyber Assistant Legal Attaché ( Cyber ALAT) program. The Cyber ALAT program is designed to deploy FBI Special Agents to work directly with foreign partners. 

Who knew? This program has been in place since 2011, “when several FBI Cyber Division personnel were deployed to a handful of Legal Attaché offices to address significant cyber threats in those regions impacting U.S. interests and FBI investigations.”

Where are the Cyber ALAT positions located?

The eight permanent cyber ALAT positions can be found in London, Bucharest, Canberra, The Hague, Tallinn, Kiev, and Ottawa. In addition, several cyber ALAT equivalent positions are filled for temporary duty deployment.

What is the purpose of the Cyber ALAT?

Their mission is to work within a host nation’s capabilities to identify, disrupt and dismantle cyber threat organizations.

How does one become a Cyber ALAT? 

First and foremost, you must be a full-on Special Agent of the FBI. This individual will have processed successfully through the rigorous agent training required of all Special Agents. In addition, they will have a good deal of field experience under their belt. This is not a position for the new employee.

The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM ) program within the FBI serves as the root source for indoctrinating and training the Special Agent in the technical skills they will need to operate in the field, including that of a Cyber ALAT.   Within this program exists the Technically Trained Agent (TTA) Program. Individual Special Agents receive cross-training in the many skills required for the Cyber ALAT to handle most, if not all collaboration involving cybercrime.

Why only Special Agents?

The position requires the incumbent to engage with host country law enforcement in a liaison capacity. The Special Agent will be the voice of the FBI to the host country’s entities, they will be providing investigative advice and counsel. In addition, they will be the conduit for the transmission of evidence both to and from the legal entities of the United States and the host country. For this reason, the Cyber ALAT comes from within the Special Agent cadre.

Available to assist the Cyber ALAT from afar, and on occasion temporary duty, are those individuals who process through the STEM career tracks – these include computer scientists, electronic surveillance operations, electrical engineering, electronic technicians (think networks, both radio and data), information technologies and information technologist with forensic specialization).

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Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of