Robert J. Heibel

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Robert J. Heibel
Alma materGannon University
Georgetown University
OccupationIntelligence analyst, academic
Known forFounder of the Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies

Robert J. Heibel, is a retired FBI Agent that served as the deputy chief of the FBI Counter-Terrorism division and founder of the Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies (MCIIS). He received his master's degree from Georgetown University in 1987.[1]


Heibel graduated from Erie Cathedral Preparatory High School in 1955. Following graduation he attended Gannon University graduating with an undergraduate degree in Finance in 1959.[2] In 1988 he completed his master's degree from Georgetown University and has taken advanced history studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.[1][3]

Early career[edit]

Heibel served as a regular U.S. Army officer in Panama and South Carolina prior to his entry into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1963. An Airborne-Ranger qualified Infantry company officer he also functioned as a trainer using his Spanish language skills.[2]


Heibel retired from the FBI in 1987 with over 20 years of service and was assigned as the deputy chief of counter-terrorism in 1984.[1][4] He served in over twelve locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and as the Assistant Special Agent-in-charge of North Carolina. Heibel is a member of the Society of Agents of the FBI.[2]

Mercyhurst University[edit]

In 1992 Heibel founded the award-winning Research/Intelligence Analyst Program at what was then Mercyhurst College. The first four-year college undergraduate program of its kind, it was designed to generate qualified entry-level intelligence analysts for government and the private sector. In 2004 the college established the Institute for Intelligence Studies, which now houses the world’s largest full-time applied intelligence studies graduate and undergraduate programs and the Center for Intelligence Research Analysis and Training (CIRAT); a non-profit designed to exploit open source information. Over fifteen hundred students have graduated from its programs. In recognition of his service in 2012 the university announced the creation of an endowed chair in his name: The Robert J. Heibel Distinguished Chair of Intelligence Studies. Upon his departure of Mercyhurst in 2016 he was designated director emeritus of the Center for Intelligence Studies. He is currently directs Applied Intelligence Studies, LLC, which assists academic institutions in developing applied intelligence studies programs.

Activities, Awards and Organizational Memberships[edit]

Heibel has served on the board of directors of several international intelligence and law enforcement associations and is a founder and chairman emeritus of the International Association for Intelligence Education. In 2001 the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals presented him with its highest recognition, the Meritorious Award, and in 2006 he received a lifetime achievement award for his work in open-source intelligence.

Panels and Publications[edit]

Heibel has contributed to numerous law enforcement and intelligence panels since 1995. He has published articles in Cross Border Control, Transnational Organized Crime. He also contributed content in Criminal Intelligence Analysis for the Defense Intelligence Agency.[2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Heibel, Robert J., Catalyst and Enabler, "Liberal Studies At Georgetown", Vol. 3 No. 2 pp 13-15 [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Heibel, Robert J., Curriculum Vitae
  3. ^ Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies, Personnel
  4. ^ Breckenridge, James, radio interview about MCIIS on "We Question and Learn", a public interest show on FM 91.3 WQLN in Erie, Pennsylvania on 2 July 2006