Confession of former undercover FBI agent: “It took them 20 years to figure out my dual citizenship”

With cathode ray tubes, dark rooms, and station novels, “FBI stuff” got many people thinking. If there’s one industry that’s made money off of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it’s Hollywood. Over the years, how many investigations have we seen conducted by junk agents? Sometimes very improbable, very caricature-like stories… Of course, fans of this genre can resist the fact that these films and series highlight the best flower of the judicial police and the internal intelligence of the United States. But the campaign also worked perfectly. Millions of young people, for a moment, dreamed of being Keanu Reeves point spacing Or as Jodie Foster The silence of the cubs.

Only here, when the world of entertainment chose to entertain, did Mark Ruskin try to protect the American people. He can testify to that: In more than 27 years, including seven as an “undercover” agent: this Franco-American born with Argentine blood has been one of the most active FBI agents in the field. A look at the service record of this former special agent – now retired – shows how often this elite cop risked his life. In his book Chameleon: Memoirs of an Undercover FBI Agent (Hugo Doc, 488 pp., €19.95) Recently available, this 68-year-old describes his extraordinary destiny, above all, by borrowing a dozen different identities known as “myths” in the profession – , he succeeded in fooling and imprisoning the worst kind of criminals. . In the pages, we learn how this former assistant district attorney from Brooklyn decided overnight to apply to Quantico, Virginia. Inside this training camp, FBI recruits struggle with their full strength — physical endurance testing, marksmanship drills, mastering the art of intelligence — to integrate the police force. Many aspirants but very few who are finally selected are the FBI legend’s classified interview.

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How would you define the function of a secret agent?

He is an agent, under the guise of multiple identities, establishing relationships with all kinds of criminals. The goal is to gain their trust first. to gather evidence that would allow the FBI to take them into custody.

Trained as a lawyer. What inspired you to become an FBI agent?

I have always been adventurous. I wanted to be in great company and do complex and sometimes dangerous investigations. I don’t want to be behind a desk for the rest of my life. I targeted the FBI not really believing I was going to be accepted into this elite corps. It is an organization of 10,000 agents. And among them, to penetrate, there are a hundred.

What are the criteria to be enlisted in the FBI?

There are two types of agents. white collars who are behind computers and doing research; And blue-collar workers like me who work in the fields. The number one quality a secret agent needs is the ability to adapt to any individual in any situation. Of course, you need to be physically and psychologically on top. When I applied, there were 60,000 applicants. On further review, only 12,000 candidates remained after the written test. Skimming continues with only 20% of these 12,000 applicants selected. 10 to 20 percent leave the academy before graduation because they fail to correctly answer the FBI’s detailed questions.

Two Belgian liberals were spies for Poland in the 1950s

How is this investigation going?

For two hours, three FBI agents ask you all kinds of questions, to which you have to give arbitrary answers. The pressure is huge. After that, you pass medical tests, then a physical and finally, the FBI conducts a thorough investigation of you. Agents follow your former classmates, your teachers, your ex-soccer team, your ex-girlfriend…for about six months delving into your past and following neighborhood surveys everywhere you’ve lived. Nothing left. Only then will you be allowed to go to the training center in Quantico, Virginia.

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Are these FBI recruitment methods 100% reliable? For example, could a bipolar agent like the one played by Claire Dane in the Homeland series go undiagnosed?

We strongly ensure that the persons applying are not members of Cosa Nostra or terrorists. If there is any doubt, the investigation will last for two years. The process is so advanced that it is difficult to imagine the selection of corrupt, unstable or unmanageable agents. He said there are agents who turn criminals and go to jail. We also know colleagues who have committed suicide due to stress related to this job.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew Charles J. Bonaparte first set up a service of special investigators against organized crime in the United States in 1908, the “Bureau of Investigation” (BOI), which in 1935 became the FBI. Did being of French descent make it easier for you to get hired?

The FBI likes to recruit financial analysts, computer scientists and lawyers. But if you speak a rare language, that is also a plus. French is not considered a “core” language. In principle, to be admitted to the FBI, you only need to be a US citizen. But in my case, I also have French citizenship. Except it took the FBI 20 years to notice. When I filled out the form to become a federal agent, I was asked if I had a passport from a country other than the United States. I answered in the negative because I didn’t have one at the time. “Are you a citizen of another country or were you born in another country?” If there had been a question, it would not have been the same. As a lawyer, I’ve always learned to never answer questions that aren’t asked of you.

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