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Alumni & FriendsFBI Analyst Jose Mijares seated at his desk. FBI analyst Jose 'Jay' Mijares is part of San Francisco's Joint Terrorism Task Force, one of 66 teams located in field offices across the country, a number which has nearly doubled post Sept. 11. Photo courtesy FBI San Francisco



Analyze This
In his spare time, Jose "Jay" Mijares (B.A., '95) studies Iaido, a Japanese martial art which stresses the need to be prepared for any situation. Staying one step ahead of the game is also a large part of his counterterrorism work for the FBI.

"There's an inherent danger with al Qaeda. They're very adaptive. Every time they raise the bar, we have to catch up and try to figure out their next move," says Mijares, who was working as an analyst in the bureau's civil rights and public corruption department until Sept. 11, 2001. Soon after, he was transferred to a Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of state and local law enforcement officers, FBI agents and other personnel.

In an effort to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism from Monterey to the Oregon border, Mijares sifts through documents, shares information with other government agencies, and briefs managers on his findings.

Researching and writing papers for his history classes, he says, was great preparation for the job.

"[A good analyst has] to be detail-oriented, someone who likes to solve puzzles. But sometimes you have just one piece out of a hundred, so you need patience, diligence," Mijares says. "One case can go on for two or three years."

Sometimes the pieces come together. In March 2003, Mijares's analytical skills played a key role in confirming suspicions that not only the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge had been targeted by terrorists, but also the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. He recalls his heart racing until the information was released and bridge security heightened.

Mijares was pursuing his bachelor's degrees in geography and history at SFSU when he discovered Tom Clancy novels and grew determined to follow in protagonist Jack Ryan's footsteps. After answering an employment ad in the student newspaper, Mijares spent three years interning in the CIA's cartography department before he was hired at the FBI.

"There's satisfaction in knowing that as part of a team, I'm doing something to keep this area safe," Mijares says, "so that nothing happens to prevent people from going about their
business every day."

-- Adrianne Bee


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Last modified Sept. 2 , 2005, by the Office of Public Affairs and Publications