The FBI’s Minneapolis office will make a recruitment push this summer as part of an ongoing effort to better diversify its workforce, the office’s new leader said Friday.
“Getting anybody in here from a different background just makes us better,” Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn told a group of reporters on Friday.
The FBI’s Diversity Agent Recruitment initiative will come to Minneapolis for the first time this year on Aug. 2 for an invitation-only event that the bureau plans to advertise on its fbijobs.gov website.
Sanborn said she hopes to attract candidates for special agent jobs and other roles at the FBI, and she identified diverse professional backgrounds as an additional priority. FBI leaders have described the agency’s lack of diversity as a crisis and Minneapolis’ field office has hovered around 80 percent white and male in recent years.
Sanborn spoke to reporters Friday in a roundtable-style briefing. She is about eight weeks into the job, which also includes leading the FBI in the Dakotas. She said she has so far met with agents at resident agencies in Indian Country and South Dakota, and will soon make her first trip to North Dakota.
Before coming to Minneapolis, Sanborn spent most of her 20-year career investigating terrorism — including the 2015 San Bernardino, Calif., attack — and identified international terrorism as the top threat facing jurisdictions nationwide. She has met twice with leaders from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Minneapolis. Sanborn said, “There is nothing telling me I have a specific problem here in Minnesota and the Dakotas.”
However, Sanborn said, she is concerned about “homegrown violent extremists” who may be inspired by peers or propaganda online and may be difficult to detect before they carry out an attack.
Sanborn said the FBI is in the process of preparing a yearly threat assessment that will determine to what extent other forms of extremism, such as the anti-government militia that allegedly traveled from Illinois to Minnesota to bomb a Bloomington mosque, are present in Minnesota.