Leadership Roots of a Successful Latino FBI Assistant Director

Diego Rodriguez FBI Assistant Director

Diego Rodriguez’s Journey through the ranks

 

It was twenty-five years ago, the world was a much different place. A dedicated school teacher named Diego Rodriguez loved his job and his work with the community. At that time the FBI was recruiting Hispanics with a strong command of the Spanish and bilingual agents were in high demand.

It was a time when a FBI agent friend invited Diego to take the FBI exam. After some soul searching he decided to pass on the opportunity.

A few weeks later, his FBI agent friend shared in greater detail the depth of service to the community and the nation as part of the FBI. Based on that discussion Diego decided to take the FBI exam and passed it. From that day forward Diego found his calling at the FBI.

Diego’s insights on the FBI

The FBI is an intel-driven national security and law enforcement agency that investigates the most dangerous criminal and security threats facing our country. Such threats include terrorist attacks, foreign intelligence operations, espionage, cyber-based attacks, and high-technology crimes. In other cases, the FBI combats public corruption at all levels, including national/transnational criminal organizations and enterprises, violent crime, and the protection of civil rights.

Diego and his team’s responsibilities

My job as Assistant Director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office is to oversee 2,000 employees working on matters related to terrorism, insider trading, cyber fraud, and public corruption, among other things, throughout the five boroughs of New York City, eight counties in New York state, and La Guardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

My team’s responsibility is to ensure we successfully complete assigned New York cases.

Our team is a mix of talented and experienced people who are not only special agents, but also a variety of specialized professionals including: intelligence and financial analysts, investigative specialists, support services technicians, language specialists, paralegals, electronics technicians, and security experts. We are always seeking the help and acumen of IT professionals, and anyone interested working as a special agent for the FBI can start applying at the age of 23.

How we do our job 

Our strength lies primarily in our investigative abilities. The collection, analysis, and dissemination/sharing of the intelligence that drives and supports our investigations, both locally and nationally, is the heart of our operation. In every case, we work to objectively gather facts and develop evidence that will stand up in a court of law.

To accomplish this, we interview witnesses, run undercover operations, analyze financial records, map and manage crime scenes, develop informants, make arrests, conduct surveillance, and gather information and intelligence from around the globe. Our cases today are often complex and multi-faceted, involving a range of public and private sector partners and covering multiple jurisdictions.

Character and leadership

Above all else, leading an extremely competent FBI team has required character of me, and over time I have come to consider character the number one trait that defines a good leader. Some believe we are born with character and others believe we’re born without it; some think we cultivate this trait as we move through life.

I, for one, believe that character is cultivated, and I started building my character at a young age, when I joined the Boy Scouts and began honing and fine tuning a wealth of personal skills.

This early, formidable experience has helped me throughout my years working at the FBI, as I have used the knowledge and skills learned via Boy Scouts countless times, which has also allowed me time to look back and reflect on the education I received while I was a scout member.

Next- SWAT training and the Boy Scouts

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About the author

Diego Rodriguez

Diego graduated from St. John’s University and worked as a Spanish teacher in New York public schools before joining FBI in 1990. He was a member of the SWAT team and the organized crime and drug enforcement task force. In 1997, he was transferred to the San Juan division to join drug money laundering task force. Later, Diego was transferred to the Miami field office to supervise multi-agency drug squad. He moved to FBI Headquarters in Washington where he was responsible for the development of intelligence groups in 56 field offices. In 2010, he was appointed special agent in charge of criminal division in New York office and two years later, he was assigned to run Dallas office. In 2015, he returns to New York to head the Bureau’s largest field office.  As the Assistant Director in Charge New York Field Office, Mr. Rodriguez oversees all operations and personnel in the five boroughs of New York City, eight counties in New York state, and La Guardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

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