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Macklin You Son of a...

Is being in the FBI like it is in films?

And should we be afraid of ISIS?

Religious Divorce-Coercion AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

IF YOU ARE in Dungarvan in Waterford between Monday and Wednesday and think you notice an increase in security, don’t be alarmed.

The town will play host to a global conference on intelligence this week, with members and former members of intelligence agencies from around the world, including the FBI and US Secret Service, will convene on the town for the Global Intelligence Forum.

Hosted by The Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University, the forum will see speeches from the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, former US Secret Service director Lewis C Merletti and former FBI agent Kevin Giblin, who is now the Executive Manager of Mercyhurst.

Global Intelligence Forum launch 3 Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan (speaker) with John Deasy, T.D. and Kevin Giblin, Executive Manager at Mercyhurst College Ireland Robbie Reynolds Photography Robbie Reynolds Photography

Giblin says that the conference is designed around discussing information best practice with businesses and individuals.

There is a great attention on data protection. We’re in a world where we live online. That means that there is an unbelievable amount of information available. We can share photographs and a lot of fun and enjoyment comes from it, but at the same time, a lot of information is being made available to people who shouldn’t have it.

“That should matter whether you’re a company or business.

“I have three children, who are 27, 25 and 23, they have grown up online and people that age have a tremendous trust of what they put online. But you have be careful and take stock like you would in every other way – you lock your home, you lock your car.”

Bert Macklin, FBI


Giblin started life as a high school teacher before becoming an FBI agent, spending time teaching at the Bureau’s Quantico training facility, even training members of the gardaí.

But how much like the movies is the life of an FBI agent?

I get many questions about the life of an FBI agent as I travel and the reputation is similar in the US because there’s a number of TV shows and movies about what we do.

“But it’s an organisation that has huge responsibilities across the country and outside the country and has 30,000 employees.

“There are positions in national security and counter-terrorism, but there are general field operatives.”

The new face of terror

Isis Company Names AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

There is some suggestion that major terrorism in the future will be less focused on full-scale attacks and more on how we use infrastructure and the internet. That, Giblin says, is something world governments and intelligence agencies should be aware of.

“There is a lot of resources dedicated to what we call infrastructure intelligence. That is telecommunications, energy and transportation networks.

“Those types of threats and their counter-measures are hugely important.”

To that end, the increasing savviness of a group like ISIS in using the internet and social media makes them a breed apart from a group like al-Qaeda in this day and age.

The individuals involved in that group are intelligent and have a knowledge of the world and can use technology in a way that can hurt us.

“Their ability is not superficial. I am no longer a member of an intelligence service, but they certainly have a great deal of concern over ISIS.

“How deeply they can penetrate communities and how skilfully they represent themselves is very current, very 2015.

“It’s very real.”

Read: FBI agent ‘spent drug money’ on plastic surgery for his wife, Vegas trip for his girlfriend

Read: Secret police files of Republican activity in Dublin in 1916 now online

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