Excerpted From: Karie Gibson, Pathway to Targeted Violence: Can Early Intervention Work?, 71 Department of Justice Journal of Federal Law and Practice 39 (August, 2023) (111 Footnotes) (Full Document)


KarieGibsonWithin the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Critical Incident Response Group are the FBI Behavioral Analysis Units. Specifically, the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit-1 (BAU-1) has a long history of preventing acts of terrorism and mass casualty targeted violence. Many are not aware of how the FBI has been instrumental in operationally preventing these attacks; assisting our local, state, and federal partners; providing training; and conducting research. BAU-1 is the subject-matter expert in preventing acts of terrorism and mass casualty targeted violence both domestically and internationally.

In 2010, BAU-1 created the Behavioral Threat Assessment Center (BTAC), which is the only federal national level, multi-agency, multidisciplinary task force focused on preventing terrorism and targeted violence through applying behavioral-based support, training, and research. BTAC is staffed by agents, analysts, mental health professionals, and researchers from the FBI, ATF, U.S. Capitol Police, U.S. Marshals Service, and Department of Defense. In this unique capacity, BTAC provides investigative and operational support for the FBI's most complex, concerning, and complicated international and domestic terrorism investigations. In addition, BTAC provides threat assessment and threat management support to federal, state, local, tribal and campus law enforcement partners, as well as community stakeholders, all working diligently across the United States on targeted violence prevention. Significant lines of effort on targeted violence prevention include persons of concern, potential active shooters, threats of school shootings, stalking, and workplace violence concerns.

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XVI. How does BTAC get contacted?

BTAC continues to be committed to preventing acts of terrorism and targeted violence. Everyday cases are being successfully managed, allowing the persons of concern to be moved from the pathway to violence onto the pathway to hope. Many can be successfully managed without even entering the criminal justice system. Early intervention is key to this process. For cases that would be appropriate for TATM resources or need assistance with the prosecution options, contact the local FBI field office BAUC or TMC. Through the TMC, a referral to BAU-1 and BTAC can be accomplished for assessment and ongoing management of the risk the person of concern poses to the community. BTAC continues to conduct social science research related to terrorism and acts of targeted violence and post-attack analysis of mass attacks to better inform our prevention efforts. In addition, BTAC will continue to evaluate lessons learned as local processes are refined and additional TATM teams are established throughout the United States. As subject matter experts in the field of TATM, the FBI's BAU-1 and BTAC remain committed to preventing acts of terrorism and mass casualty targeted violence both domestically and internationally..

Dr. Karie Gibson has been a Special Agent with the FBI for 16 years and currently serves as the Unit Chief for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit-1 (BAU-1), Behavioral Threat Assessment Center (BTAC), a national-level, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary task force focused on the prevention of terrorism and targeted violence through the application of behaviorally-based operational support, training, and research for local, state, federal, and international partners. BTAC routinely completes threat assessments, threat management strategies, statement analysis, interview and interrogation strategies, prosecutorial strategies, media strategies, and unknown offender profiles. Before being promoted to Unit Chief, Dr. Gibson was a Supervisory Special Agent and Profiler at BAU-1 for over six years.