David Cariens

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 David Cariens, a career CIA analyst with five decades of experience as a practitioner and trainer, has written a clear, concise, and practical guide to intelligence and crime analysis writing. This step-by-step handbook covers the spectrum of analytical writing: from conceptualization, assumptions, key judgments, deception and opportunity analysis, to the timely and critical issue of politicization. It belongs in the reference library of every intelligence and crime analyst. – Robert C. Fahlman, O.O.M.,   Director General, Criminal Intelligence, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Ret’d.)   President, R & D Fahlman Consulting, Inc.




“Critical Thinking through Writing” is an essential book for all intelligence officers, analysts, and managers who want their intelligence to be read and understood. Drawing on his extensive CIA and teaching experience, David Cariens offers salient lessons in writing, critical thinking, and ethics. The English language is complex and this book offers practical instruction designed specifically for intelligence personnel. The writing and analysis exercises are invaluable and will improve the skills of any analyst, regardless of their prior experience. With the knowledge from this book, intelligence personnel will ensure their message is clear and concise. –Aaron Clack, Division Criminal Analysis Section Manager, Royal Canadian Mounted Police



Author and training specialist David Cariens reveals the eight steps to writing a meaningful memoir. “I truly believe writing for future generations is something we all need to do. In my work as an educator and trainer, I believe I have developed a sure-fire method for writing the stories of your life.”

Because writing about yourself is often a difficult type of writing, Carien’s book is a refreshing look at a methodology that proves successful for those who follow his eight-step plan.




“Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out” deals with the massacre at Virginia Tech and those who exploited the shootings for their own ideological and personal reasons. Along with a detailed analysis of the timeline of events, this book examines the motivations and character of the shooter, the lives and hopes of the victims, and the missed opportunities by government and school officials to do something significant to improve campus security and help prevent future school shootings in the wake of the events on April 16, 2007. David Cariens discusses his reasons and motives for writing, the problems the victims’ families have faced and continue to face in their efforts to find the truth, as well as the misconceptions about what actually happened before, during and after the Tech massacre. The book contains a detailed analysis of the Governor’s Review Panel Report and looks at what parents can do to help ensure the safety of their children on our school grounds. Mr. Cariens draws on over 47 years of work in intelligence and crime analysis, over ten years of research and writing on school shootings in Virginia, numerous scholarly works on school safety, personal interviews with victims and their families, and a plethora of news accounts and reactions to the shootings at Virginia Tech. Finally, he brings to the book his personal experience in having lost a family member in a Virginia school shooting. This book is a clarion call for action to stop this nation’s all to frequent school violence.


“The America We All Want” is the culmination of over a decade of research and writing on gun violence in the United States. The book draws on research as well as the author’s extensive writings including his books on the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law and Virginia Tech. The author brings to the problem more than 50 years of working in intelligence and crime analysis. He also has the added dimension of having lost a family member in a school shooting. The book is brutally honest in addressing the causes of the gun violence epidemic in the United States. The author asserts past failures of our national and state leaders to address that the root causes of violence are, in large part, why this country faces public shootings on a scale not known before. But the book does not stop there. The author factors in the growth of terrorism, racially motivated violence, and the horrendous targeting and murder of our police. The America We All Want suggests which action to take at the local level to curb these shooting rampages. The book does not have all the answers, but is a clarion call for people to think about what can be done and then follow up with actions.

During my nearly 50 years of working in intelligence and crime analysis, I have compiled a list of words, acronyms, and abbreviations associated with the profession. About a year ago, it dawned on me that pulling together the most frequent terms, with their definitions, might make a useful resource for all analysts. These definitions come from a large number of United States Intelligence Community members. I do, in some instances, give alternative definitions and indicate from what area or field they come from, such as crime analysis or the military. When I found close definitions of the same word from a number of organizations, I defaulted to the CIA or National Counterterrorism Center definitions. In a few cases I have reworked the definitions to make them fit a wider number of intelligence agencies. Unfortunately when I began making the list I had no idea that someday I would try to publish it, so I cannot identify where I got all the definitions for the acronyms. I plan on updating and/or correcting the list annually. If anyone reading this has additional words or acronyms, and their definitions, to suggest please contact me. The same is true if you find any errors. Given the size of the U.S. Intelligence Community, I am sure I have left out something. I also know that intelligence terminology is not stagnant. So please help me make the list more complete and useful. I hope you find this a useful publication beneficial and helpful for your work.


“Why do elected officials and private citizens continue to be so blind, callous, and unwilling to analyze and gain knowledge from tragedies in order to prevent their repetition?”

This is the question David Cariens addresses in his book about the murder of Angela Dales at the Appalachian School of Law on January 16, 2002. Cariens lays out the case that law enforcement and school officials failed in their responsibilities to protect students and faculty. His book details the warning signs indicating the shooter was known to be disturbed and potentially violent. He chronicles the instances where school officials ignored these signs, and finds that the shooting thirteen years ago and the shootings today have commonality that continues to be ignored.


David Cariens

David Cariens is a retired CIA officer–31-year career. Most of his time at the Agency was spent as a political analyst dealing with Eastern Europe. In this capacity, he wrote for all levels of the U.S. government–from the President to the working level analysts and policymakers. He headed the CIA University program to teach new analysts writing and briefing skills. He also served on the CIA’s Inspector General Staff.

Cariens currently teaches Intelligence Analysis and Writing for the Intelligence Community. He also teaches intelligence and crime analysis for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Correctional Service of Canada, and he has taught for the Singapore Police.

Cariens served as a member of the Ad-hoc Program Advisory Committee (PAC) relative to the development of the Bachelor of Applied Public Safety (BAPS) – Specialization in Crime and Intelligence Analysis at Seneca College, Toronto, Canada. He teaches at the University of Richmond’s Osher Institute and is an adjunct professor at VCU’s Homeland Security Department.

He is the author of A Question of Accountability: The Murder of Angela Dales–an examination of the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia in January 2002. Angela Dales, the mother of Cariens’ oldest grandchild, was killed in that shooting. His textbook, Critical Thinking Through Writing: Intelligence and Crime Analysis, is used by federal and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Cariens is a contributing author to the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Agency’s Criminal Intelligence for the 21st Century.

Cariens is a victims’ rights advocate (all volunteer) working with the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. He takes no money for his work on behalf of school shooting victims and their families. He published Virginia Tech: Make Sure This Doesn’t Get Out, in February 2014. After taxes and expenses, all profits from the book will go to the twelve families whose stories are told in the book. Cariens published A Glossary of Intelligence and Crime Terminology in March 2015, and his new textbook, A Handbook for Intelligence and Crime Analysis, is slated for publication in late summer or early fall 2015.