Welcoming opportunities and exploring innovation
Carl Ghattas began his professional career with the Broward County, Florida State Attorney’s Office before spending 20 years as a special agent with the FBI. Today, as a senior vice president at Booz Allen, he continues to support both the Bureau through their mission-critical work in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as other federal clients.
Regarding his circuitous career path, Carl says he never had a lifelong plan or a childhood dream of becoming an FBI agent. Instead, he’s always been guided by “a mindset open to different possibilities” and driven by a desire to make an impact.
Read on to learn more about Carl’s journey, his work at Booz Allen, and how he sees technology shaping law enforcement today.
A Legal Career Leads to the FBI
“I come from a family that’s involved in the medical health field, and it was something that I aspired to,” Carl explains. “But during college, I realized that probably wasn’t the path for me, and I had always had the law in the back of my mind as another potential career.”
This led to law school, and then a job in south Florida. As a state prosecutor, he was involved in dozens of jury trials, including violent crimes and drug cases. “I was getting a lot of critical and tremendous courtroom experience and felt that I was having an impact on these cases and the victims I was representing,” he says.
Then a friend from law school told him about life working for the FBI—and Carl was intrigued. Beyond those stories, he says, “I didn’t really know what an FBI agent did or what an FBI career looked like. But I saw it as an evolution of my career in law enforcement and thought I could continue to have an impact.”
“And so, I applied,” says Carl, “And I was fortunate to be accepted.”
Fighting Terrorism Around the World
More surprises were ahead. “I had my mind set on investigating bank robberies, kidnappings, and drug cases—the traditional types of cases that you would associate with being an FBI agent. But I was actually assigned to a counterterrorism squad,” he remembers.
What’s more, the last thing he wanted to do was travel. “But the FBI said, ‘You’re going to be assigned to a group that goes around the world,’” he recalls. “So, I was open to that possibility. And I ended up not just loving it but making a career out of it.”
Over the next two decades, Carl investigated numerous high-profile terrorism cases, including the bombings of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000.
Then it was time for retirement—and more career decisions.
“One of the main reasons I came to Booz Allen was because I wanted to continue to have an impact in the law enforcement world,” Carl says. “I also wanted a place where I was part of a values-driven culture.”
Technologies and Teams That Keep Americans Safe
Carl is now a senior leader within Booz Allen’s civil business, helping federal law enforcement agencies develop and deploy investigative tools and technologies. “Our clients are serving the American public and keeping the nation safe,” he says.
He works with colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds: security IT specialists, engineers, experts in intelligence analysis and training, business transformation professionals, and senior members of the law enforcement and counterterrorism communities. “I interact with our teams, making sure they have what they need to serve our clients’ needs,” he says.
This includes leading the industry with new innovations. “Our business is evolving, not just with the needs of the market but also with new technologies,” Carl says.
AI is one example. “It may be new to others, but we’ve been very much steeped in it for a number of years,” he says.
In law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts, agencies can more quickly and efficiently analyze vast amounts of information to identify threats. “We’ve been working to make sure our clients are ready in areas like data collection, management, governance, and analytics,” says Carl.
Carl has also been focused on the people behind these solutions, recruiting new talent and using training and certifications to help Booz Allen’s workforce stay ahead with these technologies.
“We’re developing a diverse team of critical thinkers and the next generation of leaders,” he says. “So, if you have a desire to make an impact and have a passion for a meaningful career, reach out to us.”
Work at the intersection of innovation and law enforcement.
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