CIA, FBI, etc [tertiary law enforcement?]

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Senior Member
Hello. You know how grade 1 to 12 education is called "secondary education", and higher learning (like when you go to college) is called tertiary learning. And you call police officers "law enforcement". If this is the case, then what do you call forces like the CIA, FBI, or the CSIS of Canada? I don't think we can call them "tertiary law enforcement".

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    Senior Member
    American English
    I'm not sure why you have schooling in there ... there is no link between your "secondary/tertiary" and law enforcement (or there would be a "secondary" in that field, as well).

    In any case, I would call all three of those "intelligence agencies."


    Senior Member
    bilingual CE/AE, understand BE
    The CIA and CSIS are concerned with national security, whereas the FBI and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) are concerned with breaches of federal (country wide) laws. Local police forces and state and provincial police deal with laws of a more limited geographical application. The situation is much more complicated than I have described and there is plenty of overlap.
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