What It's Like to Be an FBI Agent

fbi agentJack Owens attended law school although he never wanted to be a lawyer. He chose a profession based on rules, regulations, and bureaucracy, but he wasn't much of a rules guy. For 30 years, Jack Owens was an FBI agent, catching bad guys, working Cold War counterintelligence, and earning a spot on the S.W.A.T. team, often while bending the rules a bit. He chronicled his career in a memoir: "Don't Shoot, We're Republicans."

The Old-Fashioned Way

Jack Owens, 66, joined the FBI in 1969. J. Edgar Hoover was FBI director and technology meant secure phone lines. No computers; information was kept on index cards. Even radio lines couldn't be counted on.

For a little perspective, when Owens started, he used a revolver that shot six rounds. When he retired, he had a semi-automatic that held 15 rounds. But Owens was still trained to be an expert marksman, and most importantly, a good interviewer.

"I loved developing informants. I got interviews with people from the Klan, from organized crime members," he tells AOL Jobs. "I established a relationship with them when they were in prison and when they got out they would call me."

He says that establishing relationships is paramount in law enforcement, which is independent of technology. Mothers of fugitives often would be his best sources.

"They hear momma calling and they come home," he says. "I get them by developing a relationship with the mother.

"Many mothers told me about their fugitive children. They would say, 'Take them off the street because they're going to get hurt,' that's their concern."

Rules? What rules?

As a law enforcement organization, the FBI has many rules. In Owen's time, mostly spent in Birmingham, Ala., that ranged from wearing dark suits to never apprehending someone alone. He often bucked those rules and, luckily, never fired his weapon nor was fired on.

fbi agent"You don't fire your weapon unless it's in defense of yourself," he says. "You fire your weapon and you spend the rest of your career explaining why. If they're shooting at us, we shoot to kill."

He tells a story of how he apprehended a hard-to-catch Army deserter not in a suit with a regulation FBI unmarked sedan, but in bell bottoms and his VW bug, with one headlight out. Further, he sat down to breakfast with the guy and didn't handcuff him!

Owens loved that his job was never boring. Every day, week, or month brought new experiences. The title of his book, "Don't Shoot, We're Republicans," refers to a case when he and other agents had set up a roadblock to catch a fugitive. Two cars approached the road block. The first car held the fugitive who exited his car, hands in the air. The occupants of the second car, two elderly women, also exited their car, arms in the air. "Don't shoot, we're Republicans!"

Oddly, the only times Owens admits to being truly scared on the job was when he was following the rules - once when an armed drug dealer walked right up to him in a stakeout position, and another, before dealing with a prison riot. He got his man in the first instance; in the second, he got called off the assignment.

"That's what law enforcement's all about. You get this adrenaline rush then nothing happens and you go to the Waffle House and have coffee," he says.

Before His Time

When Owens first worked at the FBI, his co-workers were white men. All of them. But from the beginning, Owens knew that the FBI was missing a great opportunity by not actively recruiting women and minorities. J. Edgar Hoover did not agree, so when he died, Owens made it his mission to change recruitment.

"From the time my brother and I were kids, our parents felt that all people had worth. I grew up with that," he says. "I was able to make Birmingham one of the top recruiting offices. I took it as my charge and my legacy. Especially since I had daughters."

While Owens focused on recruiting women specifically for agent positions, currently, the FBI employs women for almost 50% of it's 35,000 workforce and 25% are minorities.

Work-Life Balance

Owens joined the FBI as a cocky 24-year-old, feeling invincible and and übercool. He chose to put his work before his wife and three sons, and he paid for that decision. He learned his lesson with a second marriage.

"I had to grow up. I ruined my first marriage. I just thought I had to be at work. It stopped being that way around 30 or 31," he says.

"I wanted to do it all. As my three sons started getting older, and then I had three daughters, they became much more important to me than the job. I was a good agent. I was very productive. But I was able to be a good agent and go home."

Now, he is a grandparent. Owens doesn't miss his bureau days. He's happy with his second career as a writer and novelist. But he's had to adjust to an audience that isn't as impressed with his new job.

"I used to show my FBI credentials and the water would part," he says. "Now I walk into a room and say, 'I'm an author' and it's like 'Who gives a sh-t?' "

So You Want to Be an FBI Agent?

It used to be that FBI agents were recruited from a legion of law and accounting graduates. It's not that way anymore; prospective agents can study anything. Owens once recruited a dentist who was tired of dental work. He suggests developing reading and speaking skills.

"Read books. You have to expand and deepen and widen your vocabulary. Get off the computer," he says. "Force yourself to speak publicly."

He says that in comparing the FBI to local police forces, police have a much tougher job. Often, police and the FBI work together on cases like bank robberies.

"They have to be all things to all people. They sometimes work alone," he says. "In the U.S., we lose 150 police officers a year. In 103 years of the FBI, we've only lost 43 agents. It's the nature of the beast. It's our training. We can plan and outnumber people. Cops can't do that."

It also helps to have a sense of humor. Owens says that people would be surprised at how laid-back many agents are. Before a prison raid, he and his fellow agents watched "The Naked Gun" while they waited for the signal to proceed with their mission.

Next: What it's like to be a Navy SEAL

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October 11 2011 at 5:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Farmer

I imagine being an FBI Special Agent is similar to being a U.S. Secret Service, Border Patrol, DEA, or
Customs Agent: perhaps demanding! Your life wouldn't be your own of course and in additon to a
demanding lifestyle there would certainly be stress, maybe depresssion at times, and high expectations
and accountability. Also being on call 24/7. Afterall, isn't that the lifestyle of those who serve in law

May 31 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Extreme Full Body Muscle Toning Enhancement

Flex Enervive® is designed to exercise muscles fast and effectively. It has been proven time and again by clinical trials to work for 100% of users. Flex Eervive’s® EMS technology works by stimulating muscles, causing them to contract and relax as though they were actually lifting weights or exercising. The product sends tiny electrical impulses to specific muscles, copying the same command the brain would send to make the muscle work during an exercise. Because of this ability, Flex Enervive® can be used to tone, reshape, and firm most body parts. But the best part is that it can do this without a sweaty hour at the gym. And what’s more – Flex Enervive® is a great supplement to your normal workout routine. Just look at Jerry Rice, hall of fame wide receiver, or Bruce Lee, everyone’s favorite martial arts legend, or Lee Haney, the body building champion of the world – these guys all used the EMS technology that’s employed by Flex Enervive® to boost their athletic performance.

Flex Enervive® is made by a medical device company out of Galway, Ireland. The company has 40 years of experience when it comes to designing, manufacturing, and marketing EMS technology. Their EMS devices are designed for medical and consumer use, and they’re used in 5,000 clinics across the globe. And if this isn’t enough – Flex’s® product line is the first EMS product line to be cleared by the FDA as a class II medical device suitable for consumer needs and use.

But how does it work, you ask? Flex Enervive® employs two pre-positioned, medical-grade Gel Pads that cover whatever muscle you put them on. Flex Enervive® then sends a signal from the control unit to concentrated areas of nerves. These nerve bundles spread out to the muscles in that location, and the signal causes them to contract and relax naturally. There’s your workout!
Flex Enervive® - Electronic Full-Body Muscle Toning

May 16 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Natural Shampoo Recipes

Natural homemade shampoos have so many benefits over store bought, chemical loaded shampoos. It's better for you and the environment. Homemade shampoo is cost effective. And the best part... you can customize every shampoo recipe to your hair care needs. Make your own shampoo with these simple natural recipes: Chamomile Shampoo Recipe, Dry Shampoo Recipe, Shampoo for blonde hair, Moisturizing shampoo, Homemade dandruff shampoo, organic Castile shampoo, Castile shampoo recipes for dry hair, oily hair, normal hair, herbal shampoo and more! Also check out Deep conditioner recipes.

Chamomile Shampoo Recipe: Great for blondes to brighten light hair!


4 bags of Chamomile tea

4 tablespoons pure soap flakes

1 1/2 tablespoons glycerin


Steep the tea bags in 1 1/2 cups of boiled water for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard. Add the soap flakes to the tea and let stand until the soap softens. Stir in glycerin until well blended. Keep in a dark, cool place in a sealed bottle.

See these and more recipes; http://hairrecipes.homestead.com

May 15 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
People with hypertension often need several medications to control blood pressure. But lifestyle changes can ratchet it down too, and maybe even eliminate the need for drugs.

Eat bananas
You probably know that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, but most people aren’t aware of the benefits of potassium, which counters sodium’s ill effects. Most don’t get enough of this mineral.

Don’t smoke
Smokers are at higher risk of hypertension. But even though tobacco and nicotine in cigarettes can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, smoking itself is not thought to cause chronic hypertension.(Instead, factors associated with smoking, like heavy alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, might be responsible.)

Cut back on alcohol
Even though moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for women, and two a day for men—has heart-health benefits, drinking too much can elevate blood pressure in some people.

Managing the stress in your life effectively may help reduce your blood pressure, but there’s not enough research to offer a step-by-step stress-reduction plan for everyone,

Skip caffeine
Coffee has some health benefits, but lowering blood pressure isn't one of them. Caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure, even in people without hypertension.

May 15 2011 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Weight Loss Basics
Despite the way it feels, losing weight isn't a mysterious process. It's a simple matter of burning more calories than you eat. But, if it were really that simple, none of us would have a weight problem, would we? Weight loss can be such a struggle that we start thinking we have to do something drastic to see results -- diets, pills or those weird fitness gadgets on infomercials that promise instant success. The true secret to weight loss is this: Make small changes each and every day and you'll slowly (but surely) lose those extra pounds. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run.


To lose one pound of fat, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities. That sounds like a lot of calories and you certainly wouldn't want to try to burn 3500 calories in one day. However, by taking it step-by-step, you can determine just what you need to do each day to burn or cut out those extra calories. Below is a step by step process for getting started.

Calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Calculate your Activity Level by Using a Calorie Calculator (Keep track of how many calories you eat)

Add It Up: Take your BMR number, add your activity calories and then subtract your food calories from that total. If you're eating more than you're burning, (your BMR + activity is 2000 and you're eating 2400 calories) you'll gain weight. If you're burning more than you eat, you'll lose weight.


Mary's BMR is 1400 calories and she burns 900 calories in daily activity with regular exercise, walking around and doing household chores. To maintain her weight, she should be eating 2300 calories but, after keeping a food journal, Mary finds that she's eating 2550 calories every day. By eating 250 more calories than her body needs, Mary will gain one pound every 2 weeks.

This example shows how easy it is to gain weight without even knowing it. However, it's also easy to lose weight, even if the process itself can be slow. You can start by making small changes in your diet and activity levels and immediately start burning more calories than you're eating. If you can find a way to burn an extra 200 to 500 calories each day with both exercise and diet, you're on the right track.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?

Exercise is an important weight loss tool, but how much you need varies from person to person. The guidelines recommend at least 250 minutes per week, which comes out to about 50 minutes, 5 days a week. If you're a beginner, start small, for example with 3 days of cardio for 15-30 minutes, gradually adding time each week to give your body time to adapt. Learn more about getting in shape and getting started with exercise.

Suggested Reading
•Burn 300 Calories in 30 Minutes
•Workout Center
•How to Exercise

May 15 2011 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can Herbal Hair Remedy Help To Bring Back Your Locks?
Though hair loss (alopecia) is not a debilitating or life threatening sickness, the very thought of becoming bald can lead to emotional stress and traumatic experience for those who suffer from premature or excessive hair loss. Many will try anything and everything to bring back their locks. Or at least, some of their once full head of hair. Hair loss sufferers spend billion of dollar annually on remedies ranging from drugs, vitamins to special tonics and shampoos.

Conventional treatments of hair thinning includes drugs therapy and hair transplant. Minoxidil and Propecia (Finasteride) are the only two drugs approved by the FDA for hair growth in men. Minoxidil is the only drug available for women with androgenetic alopecia. These drugs have been proven to show positive results for balding conditions on the vertex region of the scalp.
Though these drugs are effective, many are wary of their unknown long term effect and potential side-effects. This has led to increase interest in alternative remedies such as herbal medicine.

Herbs For Hair Loss
Here we take a look at some of the herbs that are believed to reduce the rate of hair loss and at the same time stimulate new hair growth.

Algae Extract
Seaweeds or sea vegetables have long known to have curative power as they contain high level of essential amino acid, minerals and vitamins. Out of thousands of different species found throughout the world’s oceans, about 400 species are used by people as medicine, health supplement, skin care, fertilizers etc. Some seaweeds such as Atlantic Kelp, Himanthalia Elongata are used as hair growth remedies. They act as anti-oxidant to reduce and heal damages to the scalp and hair and also provide rich source of essential building blocks (e.g. amino acid and vitamins) to help in growing new hair and adding the shine to the hair.

Aloe Vera
The gel that is taken from Aloe Vera plant is known for its ability to calm irritated skin and has the properties of anti-inflammatory and anitoxidant. When massage onto the scalp, the gel restores the PH balance of the hair and seals in the moisture content of the hair, making it an excellent hair conditioner. Beside protecting the scalp and hair, Aloe Vera also stimulates hair production and is used as a remedy against Alopecia.

Green Tea (Camellia Sinesis)
Green tea is another popular herbal remedy as it is believed that the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is inhibited by the catechins found in the green tea. Some herbalists claim that you will reduce the risk of male pattern type baldness if you drink several cups of green tea or take it in capsule form on a daily basis.


Horsetail is traditionally used to treat genito-urinary system problem. It is also widely recognized that its high content of silica helps to repair connective tissues in the skin, rejuvenate hair and stimulate hair growth. www.herbsforhairloss.com

May 15 2011 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do you like reading? Have you ever considered the thought to write your own book, but you don't really know what to do? This article will help you.
If You're Writing Fiction
1. Figure out what you want to write about. Is it a drama, romance, comedy or informational? For some people, ideas come naturally, but for others, it's a difficult step. If you’re having trouble, figure out what kind of books you like to read. Perhaps if you enjoy a lot of Stephen King, consider writing a horror or suspense novel. However, don't make your novel too similar to the one you got your ideas from. People love a new, interesting, original book to read.
Know The Elements of a Good Novel
2. The setting. The setting of a book is the time, place, and circumstances in which a book takes place. You don't state this outright, of course. A sentence such as the following will state this: Maria walked down the large slope surrounding the castle. Before she could get very far, though, one of her father's maids stopped her and said "King Ferdinand would like to see you." This suggests that Maria, possibly a young girl, lives on castle grounds. This would give the reader clues that the book might take place in medieval times. Maria is also a Latin name, which could suggest where she lives. Background knowledge would confirm the time and place, because the wife of King Ferdinand, Isabel of Castilla, approved and funded Christopher Columbus's voyage to America. Although they both ruled Spain, he was only the king of Aragon, and Isabel, the more powerful of the two, was the Queen of Castilla. Columbus sailed to the New World about A.D. 1492, so this story probably takes place around that time.The characters. Every story has some main and minor characters. It's important that you make yours interesting and introduce them properly. There are several types of characters that a lot of books have. A protaganist would usually be a main character and one that the book follows. Another type is the antagonist, which might be a character that makes conflicts or is against the protaganist. A lot of "evil villans" in books would be antagonists. These types are important to make your story successful.The conflict. A conflict is a large problem that a character faces. Maybe Maria, the King's daughter, has been asked to make the decision whether or not to let Columbus use Spanish ships and sailors to explore. She continues to face this problem for most of the story. The climax. The climax is the point of highest tension in the book, the point where the reader is really holding their breath. Perhaps Maria has just decided against letting Columbus use Spain's money to explore when he shows up, begging her to let him go, saying he'll do anything to have this chance. This is the point where Maria has a big choice to make, one that changes the whole outcome of the story.The resolution. The climax is over, the problem has been solved, and any "loose ends" have been tied up.

May 15 2011 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Careers in Law Enforcement on about.com
1. FBI Agent
FBI agents use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law. With almost 35,000 individuals on its payroll, the FBI reports a critical need to hire new Special Agents and support personnel to carry out the FBI's mission. Support personnel include intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, information technology specialists, and other professionals.
2. Police Officer
Police officers work in partnership with the public to reduce crime and enforce federal, state and local laws. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, increased crime and a more security-conscious society are contributing to the rising demand for police services while generous salaries and benefits are attracting more people to the profession. Individuals with college training in police science, military police experience, or both, have the best opportunities.
3. U.S. Marshal
U.S. Marshals are the nation's primary fugitive hunting organization and capture more federal fugitives each year than all other national law enforcement agencies combined, according to the United States Marshal Service. Deputy U.S. Marshals are charged with some of the most unique and exciting duties known to law enforcement. As a nationwide agency, the Marshals Service seeks qualified men and women capable of carrying out a broad range of law enforcement and administrative responsibilities.
4. Forensic Scientist
Forensic scientists use cutting-edge scientific techniques to preserve and examine evidence and develop investigative leads in connection with civil and criminal proceedings. Often, forensic analysts specialize in areas such as DNA analysis or firearm examination. As developments in technology increase the role of forensic science in the court room, the demand for forensic scientists will continue to grow.
5. State Trooper
State Troopers, also called highway patrol officers or state police officers, enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations on the nation’s highways. Skilled state troopers are in high demand due to a growing shortage in many states including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina. Increasing numbers of retiring troopers, state budget cuts and rising educational standards are a few of the reasons for the shortage.
6. Customs Agent
U.S. Customs Agents work for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The CBP's priority mission is preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. Customs Agents are also charged with facilitating international trade, collecting import duties and enforcing U.S. trade laws. The CBP employs more than 41,000 employees to manage, control and protect the nation’s borders and is actively recruiting for a number of openings in many locations around the country.

May 15 2011 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In recent years, teeth whitening has become a huge phenomenon. A whiter, brighter smile is one of the first things that people notice about your appearance. It’s no mystery that whiter teeth make us look better: younger, more attractive, more confident. This is why men and women of all ages are now opting for teeth whitening systems to improve their smile.

Although whitening is very popular, many people are still clueless about the wide array of different products and procedures that are now available. Today, there are hundreds of products that all claim to give you whiter teeth in a very short time. But results can range from impressive to disappointing, or even non-existent (if you’ve selected a fraudulent product.) Our site is community driven, allowing visitors to review and rate teeth whitening systems, view articles, get answers to frequently asked questions, and participate in message board discussions. Check out teethwhiteningreviews.

With so many different kinds of systems and products to choose from, people have a difficult time selecting the right one, especially when about a third of them misrepresent their effectiveness. That’s why it is important to get the right information before opting for any kind of teeth whitening. There is a lot of confusion about which products to use, which are worth the prices they charge, whether or not you should see a dentist with the system you’ve chosen - and what, if any, care is needed to use the system you’ve selected or maintain your new smile.

It’s unfortunate, but today, many teeth whitening products are sold purely through marketing hype - with little or no verification or proof of success. But here, at TeethWhiteningReviews.com, you’ll find useful reviews, articles and opinions from users and dental experts about the products, techniques, advantages, and disadvantages of today’s most popular (and unpopular) whitening systems. TeethWhiteningReviews.com will give you truthful information to help you in your buying process.

May 15 2011 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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