By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

What can the FBI investigate? What is allowed under constitutional protections? At 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21, Old Dominion University will host a Constitution Day talk, "In Defense of the Constitution: The FBI's Response to the Attack on the Capitol," featuring Supervisory Special Agent Scott Buchner of the FBI Field Office in Norfolk. The event will answer questions about the FBI's investigatory powers.

The event is free and open to all, and no registration is required. Join the event on Zoom.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day are observed each year to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and to "recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens." ODU hosts an event annually to commemorate the day.

Buchner is the supervisor of the Joint Terrorism Task Force responsible for international terrorism, domestic terrorism, weapons of mass destruction investigations and crisis response. He answered a few questions before the event.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was adopted from South Korea when I was 5 months old. Throughout my life I have been extremely grateful for the opportunities I have had growing up in the United States and have been dedicated to giving back from a very early age. 9/11 was a pivotal event. Although I knew, prior to 9/11, I wanted to serve in the U.S. military, this event further motivated me. I attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. These deployments strengthened my resolve to join an organization that took a proactive approach to combating terrorism. The FBI, as the lead federal agency for investigating terrorism, was the organization I knew I wanted to be part of. I have worked terrorism cases for my entire career in the FBI. Every day I view my role as not only protecting innocent people from violent acts, but also ensuring we are able to mitigate terrorist activity before it causes the deployment of U.S. armed forces into harm's way.

How did you end up working for the FBI? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Living through the events of 9/11, I knew I wanted to be part of the team that protected America from terrorist organizations and actors. While in the Marine Corps, I obtained a master's degree in homeland security and volunteered with the local police department's intelligence unit, which was headed by a retired FBI agent. Between interactions with him and extensive reading about and studying of international terrorism, I knew the FBI was the team I wanted to be part of.

Please discuss the talk you'll be giving for our Constitution Day event.

This presentation is a great way to show the public how the FBI works domestic terrorism investigations, but more importantly, how the FBI conducts these investigations related to constitutional protections. I hope it clears up questions from the audience as to what the FBI is authorized to investigate and what we cannot investigate due to First Amendment protections, even if the message from the individual or group is offensive.

Do you have any career advice for students who may want to follow a similar career path?

Your process for the employment with the FBI starts now. Due to the rigorous requirements for security clearances and trust emplaced in you as a federal law enforcement officer, decisions you make now could impact the hiring decision for the FBI in the future. If you are self-driven, a leader and want to part of a mission that's bigger than yourself, I would strongly encourage you to research the FBI, and reach out to FBI employees you know to gather more information to make an informed decision if the FBI is correct for you. There is no template for the FBI wanting you. I generally get asked if a law or criminal justice degree is needed to be accepted. My advice is obtain a degree and a job in something you are passionate about. The FBI is looking for people who excel in what they do, and it is much easier and fulfilling to excel in something you truly care about.

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