If you’ve watched any of CNN’s recent segments on the Russia investigation, James Comey or a myriad of other topics related to the FBI you’ve probably seen Asha Rangappa. The former special agent is now one of the most recognizable talking heads when it comes to federal investigations and law enforcement.
A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, Rangappa once explained her decision to join the Federal Bureau of Investigations thusly: “Law firms pay a lot of money and they do interesting work, but it just wasn’t where my heart was. It occurred to me that I could be an FBI agent,” she said. “It was a theoretically valid thing to do after law school, the ‘order’ part of the ‘law and order.’”
Rangappa would join the Bureau in 2002, two years after graduating from law school. As one of the first Indian Americans to work in counterintelligence at the FBI, she immediately stood out. “I believe I was one of the first, if not the first Indian-American female recruits in FBI, going by what my coworkers told me at that time,” she told India Abroad last year. “I was excited to have been offered the job as special agent.”
She would end up working in the field of counterintelligence and the way she described her job makes it clear why she is seen as an expert analyst on the current investigation being led by former FBI director Robert Mueller. “I was doing a lot of surveillance. Tracking people, behavioral analysis, trying to flip people to work for the US government versus their government,” she said in an interview with Princeton’s Career Services office. “We were targeting diplomats, people from other countries who are here spying for their country. We want to stop them from doing that and ultimately get them to give us information.”
Rangappa would move on from the FBI in 2005, when she returned to Yale to become an Associate Dean at the law school. She is currently the Director of Admissions at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. But Rangappa remains best known for her time at the FBI and her Twitter account, where she often goes viral for her takes on the news and the judicial process.
FBI pro-tip: You usually don’t find evidence of something when you don’t actually investigate it.
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 27, 2018
As she has stressed repeatedly in recent interviews, Rangappa believes that the Russian interference with the 2016 election was the equivalent to a terrorist attack on the United States. As she told Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper in October, “Russia is not our friend. Russia wants us to turn against each other,” she explained. “Essentially they want us to lose faith in our democracy. We have to believe in our democracy. We have to insist on it and we have to fight for it.”