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FBI Confidential explores undercover program

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI’s undercover program is the focus of the next two episodes of FBI Confidential, as host Sheryl Worsley learns how, when and why agents pretend to be someone they’re not.

Katrina Amos, Supervisory Special Agent, oversees the undercover program for the FBI Salt Lake City Division. One question Amos gets a lot is whether the advent of new technology, such as smartphones, has reduced the need for traditional undercover work.

“I would say no,” Amos says. “It’s a totally different technique, in the sense of surveillance being viewing from afar or being able to track. The undercover program is a much more intimate type of investigative technique.”

She says typically, the goal is to befriend or otherwise gain the trust of someone suspected of serious criminal activity.

“That’s how we gather intelligence and evidence for cases,” she adds.

She explains the training process is rigorous. Agents get additional training at the FBI’s Quantico facility beyond what every agent receives. Additionally, there are rules in place governing when an agent is able to go undercover.

The length of an undercover investigation varies greatly, from cases like Agent Joe Pistone’s six-year-long “Donnie Brasco” operation, to those that are a lot shorter and less complex.

Next time, hear from a recently retired agent who spent 22 years doing various undercover cases — including getting tattoos to play his part and avoid discovery.

Users can find FBI Confidential on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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