Samuel Leo Fisher was born and raised in Towson, Maryland. After Fisher graduated from high school, he went on to attend the University of Maryland, College Park. Very soon after graduating from UMD with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice, he enlisted in the United States Navy.
Upon graduation from basic training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Fisher attended Intelligence Specialist "A" School at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center. Following that, he was accepted into the Navy SEAL training program. After completion of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, Fisher went on to the U.S Army Airborne School. Upon completion of airborne training, he attended SEAL Qualification Training. Afterwards, Fisher was assigned to SEAL Team 3.
He honed his field skills as a Navy SEAL during multiple combat deployments and eventually entered the Naval Special Warfare Development Group selection and training program. Upon its successful completion, Fisher was assigned to DEVGRU as a SEAL operator in Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron 2. As a member of SEAL Team 6, he received numerous commendations.
Fisher left the Navy after twelve years of service and then pursued a career with the National Security Agency as an investigator. After successfully completing the application process, he went through a formal investigative training period where he learned interrogative techniques.
As an NSA investigator, Fisher was responsible for conducting background investigations. At some point, his exemplary work caught the attention of U.S. Army Colonel Irving Lambert. Colonel Lambert believed Fisher would be perfect for a newly-established top-secret directorate tasked with protecting critical U.S. information systems by spearheading the American information warfare initiative. Dubbed "Third Echelon", this sub-agency within the NSA was formed in response to the growing use of sophisticated digital encryption to conceal potential threats to the national security of the United States.
For decades the National Security Agency has engaged in the passive collection of moving data by intercepting communications en route. But as communications become more digital and sophisticated encryption more expansive, passive collection is simply no longer sufficient. So hoping to bridge the chasm between simply gathering actionable intelligence and acting on that intelligence, the NSA formed Third Echelon as its own in-house covert operations unit.
Commanded by Colonel Lambert, Third Echelon marks a return to "classical" methods of espionage, enhanced with leading-edge surveillance and combat technology for the aggressive collection of stored data in hostile territories. Instead of filtering the world through satellites and antennas, Third Echelon field operatives physically infiltrate dangerous and sensitive enemy locations to gather the required intelligence by whatever means necessary. In other words, they go back to the nitty-gritty world of human spies out there in the field, risking their lives for the sake of taking a photograph or recording a conversation or copying a computer hard drive.
Although he was initially only told that he would be tasked with handling covert missions either too sensitive or too risky for traditional entities such as the Central Intelligence Agency or standard special operations forces, Fisher enthusiastically accepted the position. Afterwards he was informed of Third Echelon's mandate.
As a field operative of Third Echelon, Fisher is supported by a remote team. He is used in situations where more than one operative - even though highly secret - would arouse too much attention. His job is to infiltrate secure installations, seize critical intelligence, destroy dangerous data or equipment, and neutralize the enemy as needed, without leaving a trace. Fisher's authorized to work outside the boundaries of international laws and treaties. For example, he may kill in combat or by assassination, may torture or kidnap people, may deploy on U.S. soil, and may even spy on other U.S. government agencies. However, if he were to ever be captured or killed, the NSA would disavow him by claiming that he has gone rogue (i.e. is a "splinter cell").
Officially, Sam Fisher is simply a background investigator for the National Security Agency. In actually, he is one of the most extraordinary covert operatives employed by the U.S. government.