Tools for Tuesday – The FBI gives thriller writers yet another reason to make them the bad guys

As writers, we’re always looking for tools to help us suspend our readers disbelief. We are always searching for cutting edge technologies, clever plans, and yes, even boring things like newly enacted legislation to help make our stories more believable. As a thriller writer who loves a good conspiracy, I often turn to our friends at the government agencies – namely the FBI, CIA, and NSA, to help me out. So, yesterday when I saw the headline  “F.B.I. agents get leeway to push privacy bounds” from a New York Times article, the buzzer went off in my brain.

According to the article, “some of the most notable changes apply to the lowest category of investigations, called an “assessment.” The category, created in December 2008, allows agents to look into people and organizations “proactively” and without firm evidence for suspecting criminal or terrorist activity. Under current rules, agents must open such an inquiry before they can search for information about a person in a commercial or law enforcement database. Under the new rules, agents will be allowed to search such databases without making a record about their decision.”

To me, allowing agents to search databases without making a record of their search would allow a nefarious character to manipulate databases in all kinds of ways, and all behind the scenes. What a great tool a rogue FBI agent in your story could use to cause all kinds of mayhem, wouldn’t you say?   


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

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