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For 20 years, I worked as an FBI counterintelligence agent and loved the challenge of being a spy catcher. However, when I was offered the position of spokesperson for the FBI in Northern California, I jumped at the chance. It felt like the next step in professional development.

I felt empowered because I could draw the media's attention to my colleagues' good work and how they kept the public safe. Nothing irritates those in the trenches as much as watching the ridiculous portrayal of the FBI in movies, TV and books. No, FBI agents are not rogue supervillains who operate above the law and abuse the civil rights of citizens, nor are they superheroes who beat the bad guys into submission.

The FBI operates within the laws of the federal government, with judicial oversight. As the spokesperson, I could give people a reality check on how the FBI does its job. I didn't count on two things. First, the media has little interest in positive news stories. Instead, they prefer stories that point out how FBI agents could have done better or how they messed up. Second, most of my colleagues did not yet desire to share their successes with the media. Many resisted my attempts to get them interviewed about their cases; a few went so far as to report me to the special agent in charge when they felt I pushed too hard.

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