Federal Bureau of Investigation
Learn more about Federal Bureau of Investigation
|Federal Bureau of Investigation|
Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity
|Director: Robert Mueller|
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a federal criminal investigative, intelligence agency, and the primary investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). At present, the FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, making the FBI the de-facto lead law enforcement agency of the United States government.<ref name="quickfacts">Template:Cite web</ref> The motto of the bureau is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity."
Starting in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), the FBI did not receive its current name until 1935. J. Edgar Hoover, the first FBI Director, continuing his tenure from the BOI, was the longest-serving FBI director to date. He also is responsible for many of the advancements and changes that made way for it to become one of the top investigative agencies in the world. The J. Edgar Hoover building, the FBI Academy, and the Criminal Justice Information Services Complex serve as the main support offices for each of the field offices that are located throughout the country.
 Overall mission
The mission of the F B I is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.<ref name="quickfacts"/> Title 28 of the United States Code (U.S. Code), Section 533, authorizes the Attorney General to "appoint officials to detect ... crimes against the United States."<ref name="uscode">Template:Cite web</ref> Other federal statutes give the FBI the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes.
Information obtained through an FBI investigation is presented to the appropriate U.S. Attorney or Department of Justice (DOJ) official, who decides if prosecution or other action is warranted.
Currently, the FBI top investigative priorities have been assigned to these areas:<ref name="priorities">Template:Cite web</ref>
- Protect the United States from terrorist attack (see Terrorism);
- Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage (see Counter-espionage);
- Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes (see Cyber-warfare);
- Combat public corruption at all levels;
- Protect civil rights;
- Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises (see Organized crime);
- Combat major white-collar crime;
- Combat significant violent crime;
- Support federal, state, local and international partners; and
- Upgrade technology for successful performance of the FBI's mission.
As of June 2006, the FBI's top priority is counter-terrorism. The second priority is counter-intelligence. The USA PATRIOT Act increased the powers allotted to the FBI, especially in wiretapping and monitoring of Internet activity. One of the most controversial provisions of the act is the so-called sneak and peek provision, granting the FBI powers to search a house while the residents are away, and not requiring them to notify the residents for several weeks afterwards. Under the PATRIOT Act's provisions the FBI also resumed inquiring into the library records<ref name="library">Egelko, Bob, Maria Alicia Gaura. "Libraries post Patriot Act warnings Santa Cruz branches tell patrons that FBI may spy on them", San Francisco Chronicle, 2003-04-10. Retrieved on 2006-06-07. (in English)</ref> of those who are suspected of terrorism (something it had supposedly not done since the 1970s). The third and fourth priorities are cyber crimes and public corruption. The cyber crimes category includes distribution of computer viruses and other malicious code. It also includes online distribution of child pornography among other crimes.
The FBI continues its historic mission of fighting organized crime. The FBI targets the organization behind the crime rather than individual criminals committing individual crimes. The FBI's chief tool against organized crime is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The FBI is also charged with the responsibility of enforcing compliance of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 and investigating violations of the act in addition to prosecuting such violations with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The FBI also shares concurrent jurisdiction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
The FBI originated from a force of Special Agents created on July 26, 1908, by Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. At first, it was named the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) and it did not become the FBI until 1935.
On July 1, 1932, the Bureau was renamed the United States Bureau of Investigation. One year later on July 1, 1933, it was linked with the Bureau of Prohibition and became known as the Division of Investigation. Finally, in 1935, the bureau was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation. J. Edgar Hoover, who served as a BOI director and the FBI first director, served for forty-eight years. After Hoover's death, the FBI imposed a policy limiting the tenure of future FBI directors to a maximum of ten years. The Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (now known as the FBI Laboratory) officially opened on November 24, 1932 in which Hoover was a major force behind it opening. Hoover had a major say in most of the cases and projects the FBI handled all the way up to his death. During the 1930s, the agency played a prominent role in apprehending a number of well-known criminals who had conducted kidnappings, robberies, and murders throughout the nation. These included John Dillinger, "Baby Face" Nelson, Kate "Ma" Barker, Alvin Karpis and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. It also played a decisive role in reducing the scope and influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Through the work of Edwin Atherton, the FBI claimed success in apprehending an entire army of Mexican neo-revolutionaries along the California border in the 1920s.
Beginning with the 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, the agency investigated cases of espionage against the United States and its allies. Eight Nazi agents who had planned sabotage operations against American targets were arrested, six of whom were executed (Ex parte Quirin). Also during this time, a joint US/UK code breaking effort (Venona) - which the FBI was heavily involved in and working on - broke Soviet diplomatic and intelligence communications codes, allowing the US and British governments to read Soviet communications. This effort confirmed the existence of Americans working in the United States for Soviet intelligence.<ref name="nsa">Template:Cite web</ref> Hoover was administering this project and did not even notify the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) until 1952. Other notable cases included the arrest of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in 1957.<ref>Romerstein, Herbert, Eric Breindel (2001). The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors. Regnery Publishing, Inc., p. 209. ISBN 0-89526-225-8.</ref>
During the 1950s and 1960s, FBI officials showed increased alarm about civil rights leaders who were perceived to be overly militant. In 1956, for example, Hoover took the rare step of sending an open letter denouncing Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a civil rights leader, surgeon, and wealthy entrepreneur in Mississippi who had criticized FBI inaction in solving recent murders of George W. Lee, Emmett Till, and other blacks in the South. The FBI carried out controversial domestic surveillance in an operation called COINTELPRO.<ref name="coinpro">Template:Cite web</ref> It aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States, including militant organizations and non-violent movements, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading civil rights organization.<ref name="latimes">Template:Cite web</ref>
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a frequent target of investigation. The FBI found no evidence of any crime, but attempted to use tapes of King involved in sexual activity for blackmail. Washington Post journalist Carl Rowan 1991 memoirs, asserted that the FBI had sent at least one anonymous letter to King encouraging him to commit suicide.<ref name="washingtonpost">Template:Cite web</ref>
When President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed, the jurisdiction fell to the local police departments, but then President Lyndon B. Johnson directed the FBI to take over the investigation.<ref name="history_postwar">Template:Cite web</ref> To ensure that there would never be any more confusion over who would handle homicides at the federal level, Congress passed a law that put investigations of deaths of federal officials within FBI jurisdiction.
After the RICO Act took effect, the FBI started investigating the former Prohibition organized groups, which by now become fronts for crime in major cities and even small towns. All of the FBI work was done undercover and from within these organizations using the provisions provided in the RICO act, these groups were dismantled. Although Hoover initially doubted the existence of a close-knit organized crime network in the United States, the bureau later conducted operations against known organized crime syndicates and families, including those headed by Sam Giancana and John Gotti. The RICO act is still used today for all organized crime and any individuals that might fall under the act.
In 1984 the FBI formed an elite SWAT<ref name="history_rise">Template:Cite web</ref> team to help with problems that might arise at the 1984 Summer Olympics including terrorism and major-crime. The formation of the team arose from the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich, Germany when terrorists murdered Israeli Athletes. The team was named Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and acts as the FBI lead for SWAT related procedures and all Counter-Terrorism cases. Also formed in 1984 was the Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) that would investigate all matters into and including gathering evidence.<ref name="history_coldwarend">Template:Cite web</ref> During the end of the 1980s and the early part of the 1990s, saw the reassigning over 300 agents from foreign counter-intelligence duties to violent crime and making violent crime the sixth national priority. But with reduced cuts to other departments that have already been established, bearing in mind that terrorism was no longer a threat due to the Cold war ending<ref name="history_coldwarend"/>, the FBI became a tool by local police forces for finding and hunting down fugitives that crossed state lines which was an established federal felony at the time. The FBI Laboratory also helped in their development due to DNA testing just as they do with their fingerprinting system in 1924.
Between 1993 and 1996 the FBI however increased its terrorism role in wake of the first 1993 World Trade Center Bombing in New York, New York, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (1995) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the arrest of the UNABOMBER in 1996. Improvements in their technology and Laboratory skills paid off when all three of these cases were successfully prosecuted, but the FBI would also have a string of public outcry during this time, which still haunts the agency today.<ref name="history_wired">Template:Cite web</ref> Once the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPA) of 1996, and the Economic Espionage Act, also in 1996, were passed in congress the FBI followed suit also upgrading their technological skills in 1998, just as it did in 1991 with the CART team. Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center (CITAC) and the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) were created to deal with the increased growth of the World Wide Web related incidents from virus, worms, and other malicious programs that might cause havoc on the US Internet structure. This helped the FBI also conduct court-authorized electronic surveillance in major investigations affecting public safety and national security in the face of telecommunications advancement.
With months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, current FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was only sworn in three days before the attacks, called for a re-engineering of FBI structure and operations. In turn he made every federal crime a top priority, including prevention of terrorist attacks, countering foreign intelligence operations, addressing cyber crime-based attacks, other high-technology crimes, protecting civil rights, combating public corruption, organized crime, white-collar crime, and major acts of violent crime all of which now fall under the top investigative priorities of the FBI mission.<ref name="history_current">Template:Cite web</ref>
The FBI is headquartered at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., with 56 field offices<ref name="organization">Template:Cite web</ref> in major cities across the United States. The FBI also maintains over 400 resident agencies across the United States, as well as over 50 legal attachés at United States embassies and consulates. Many specialized FBI functions are located at facilities in Quantico, Virginia, as well as in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The FBI is in process of moving its Records Management Division, which processes FOIA requests, to Winchester, Virginia.<ref>Reid, Sarah A.. "One of the biggest things the FBI has ever done", The Winchester Star, July 26, 2006.</ref>
The FBI Laboratory, established with the formation of the BOI<ref name="labhistory">Template:Cite web</ref>, did not appear in the J. Edgar Hoover Building until its completion in 1974. The lab serves as the primary lab for most DNA, biological, and physical work. Public tours of FBI headquarters ran through the FBI laboratory workspace before the move to the J. Edgar Hoover Building. The services the lab conducts include Chemistry, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), Computer Analysis and Response, DNA Analysis, Evidence Response, Explosives, Firearms and Tool marks, Forensic Audio, Forensic Video, Image Analysis, Forensic Science Research, Forensic Science Training, Hazardous Materials Response, Investigative and Prospective Graphics, Latent Prints, Materials Analysis, Questioned Documents, Racketeering Records, Special Photographic Analysis, Structural Design, and Trace Evidence.<ref name="labwork">Template:Cite web</ref> The services of the FBI Laboratory are used by many state, local, and international agencies free of charge. The lab also maintains a second lab at the FBI Academy.
The FBI Academy, located in Quantico, Virginia, is home to the communications and computer laboratory the FBI utilizes. It is also where new agents are sent for training to become FBI Special Agents. Going through the eighteen week course is required for every Special Agent.<ref name="school">Template:Cite web</ref> It was first opened for use in 1972 on 385 acres (1.6 km²) of woodland. The Academy also serves as a classroom for state and local law enforcement agencies who are invited onto the premiere law enforcement training center. The FBI units that reside at Quantico are the Field and Police Training Unit, Firearms Training Unit, Forensic Science Research and Training Center, Technology Services Unit (TSU), Investigative Training Unit, Law Enforcement Communication Unit, Leadership and Management Science Unit's (LSMU), Physical Training Unit, New Agents' Training Unit (NATU), Practical Applications Unit (PAU), the Investigative Computer Training Unit and the "College of Analytical Studies."
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division<ref name="cjis">Template:Cite web</ref>, located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. It is the youngest division of the FBI only being formed in 1991 and opening in 1995. The complex itself is the length of three football fields. Its purpose is to provide a main repository for information. Under the roof of the CJIS are the programs for the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), Fingerprint Identification, Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), NCIC 2000, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Many state and local agencies use these systems as a source for their own investigations and contribute to the database using secure communications. FBI provides these tools of sophisticated identification and information services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.
The FBI often works in conjunction with other Federal agencies, including the United States Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in seaport security, <ref name="sea">Template:Cite web</ref> and the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating airplane crashes and other critical incidents. The FBI has the authority to take the charge of any federal investigation because of the broad power the FBI carries. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the only other agency with the closest amount of investigative power. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the FBI always maintains a role in most federal criminal investigations.
 BOI and FBI directors
FBI Directors are appointed by the President of the United States. They must be confirmed by the United States Senate and serve ten-year terms. J. Edgar Hoover, appointed by Calvin Coolidge, was by far the longest serving FBI Director, serving until his death in 1972 because there was no law limiting the amount of years a director could serve. The current FBI Director is Robert Mueller, who was appointed in 2001 by George W. Bush.
The FBI director is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the FBI. Along with his deputies, the director makes sure cases and operations are handled correctly. The director also is in charge of making sure the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices are manned with qualified agents. Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, the FBI director would brief the President of the United States on any issues that arise from within the FBI. Since then the director now reports to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who in turn tells the President of the United States.
 Hiring process
While the exact process and details are classified, the process of becoming an employee of the FBI is arduous. At a minimum, FBI employees require a Top Secret (TS) security clearance, and in many instances, employees need a higher level, TS/SCI clearance.<ref name="tssci">Template:Cite web</ref> In order to get a security clearance, all potential FBI personnel must pass a series of Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBI), which are conducted by the Office of Personnel Management.<ref name="opm">Template:Cite web</ref> Special Agents candidates also have to pass a rigorous Physical Fitness Test (PFT) that includes a 300-meter run, one-minute sit-ups, maximum push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run.
After potential special agent candidates are cleared with TS clearance and the Form SF-312 non-disclosure agreement is signed, they attend the FBI training facility located on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Candidates spend approximately 18 weeks at the FBI Academy, where they receive over 500 classroom hours and over 1000 simulated law enforcement hours to train. Upon graduation, new FBI Special Agents are placed all around the country and the world, depending on their areas of expertise. Professional support staff works out of one of the many support buildings the FBI maintains. However, any Agent or Support staff member can be transferred to any location for any length of time if their skills are deemed necessary at one of the FBI field offices or one of the 400 resident agencies the FBI maintains.
Currently the FBI employs over 12,000 Special Agents and over 17,000 professional support personnel, although the exact number is classified. The website of the FBI places the number around 30,430 employees. That includes 12,515 special agents and 17,915 support staff.<ref name="quickfacts"/>
The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is published monthly by the FBI Law Enforcement Communication Unit<ref name="lecu">Template:Cite web</ref>, with articles of interest to state and local law enforcement personnel. First published in 1932 as Fugitives Wanted by Police,<ref name="history_newdeal">Template:Cite web</ref> the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin covers topics including law enforcement technology and issues, such as crime mapping and use of force, as well as recent criminal justice research, and VICAP alerts, on wanted suspects and key cases.
The FBI also publishes some reports for both law enforcement personnel as well as regular citizens covering topics including law enforcement, terrorism, cybercrime, white-collar crime, violent crime, and statistics. <ref name="pubs">Template:Cite web</ref> However, the vast majority of Federal government publications covering these topics are published by the Office of Justice Programs agencies of the United States Department of Justice, and disseminated through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
 Crime statistics
 Uniform Crime Reports
The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) compile data from over 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. They provide detailed data regarding the volume of crimes to include arrest, clearance (or closing a case), and law enforcement officer information. The UCR focuses its data collection on violent crimes, hate crimes, and property crimes.<ref name="pubs"/> Created in the 1920s, the UCR system has not proven to be as uniform as its name implies. The UCR data only reflect the most serious offense in the case of connected crimes and has a very restrictive definition of rape. Since about 93% of the data submitted to the FBI is in this format, the UCR stands out as the publication of choice as most states require law enforcement agencies to submit this data.
Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2005 was released on June 16, 2006. The report shows violent crime offenses rose 2.5%, but the number of property crime offenses decreased 1.6% compared to 2004<ref name="publications_ucr2005">Template:Cite web</ref>.
 National Incident Based Reporting System
The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) crime statistics system aims to address limitations inherent in UCR data. The system used by law enforcement agencies in the United States for collecting and reporting data on crimes. Local, state, and federal agencies generate NIBRS data from their records management systems. Data is collected on every incident and arrest in the Group A offense category. The Group A offenses are comprised of 46 specific crimes grouped in 22 offense categories. Specific facts about these offenses are gathered and reported in the NIBRS system. In addition to the Group A offenses, eleven Group B offenses are reported with only the arrest information. The NIBRS system is in greater detail than the summary-based UCR system. As of 2004, 5,271 law enforcement agencies submitted NIBRS data. That amount represents 20% of the United States population and 16% of the crime statistics data collected by the FBI.
 Media portrayal
Any author, television scriptwriter, or producer may consult with the FBI about closed cases or their operations, services, or history. However, there is no requirement that they do so, unlike the CIA's Office of Public Affairs, which does this so everything is "accurate", the FBI does not edit, approve their work, or do any special consulting. Some authors, television programs, or motion picture producers offer reasonably accurate presentations of the FBI's responsibilities, investigations, and procedures in their story lines, while others present their own interpretations or introduce fictional events, persons, or places for dramatic effect.
The FBI has endured public criticism and internal conflict in the past decade. As the FBI attempts to modernize technologically to taking on a greater counter-terrorism role, there have been times where the FBI is scrutinized.
Most of the recent controversies in the FBI have been involved with "terrorist" organizations or "operational" mishaps. In the early and late 1990s, for its role in the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents caused an uproar in how tactics where handled. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, the FBI was also criticized for its investigation on the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. It has recently settled a dispute with Richard Jewell along with the media organizations<ref name="leak">Template:Cite web</ref>, who was a private security guard at the venue, from leaking his name during the investigation. In the 1990s, it turned out that the fingerprint unit of the FBI's crime lab had repeatedly done shoddy work. In some cases, the technicians, given evidence that actually cleared a suspect, reported instead that it proved the suspect guilty. Many cases had to be reopened when this pattern of errors was discovered.
In 2000, the FBI began the Trilogy project to upgrade its outdated IT infrastructure. This project, originally scheduled to take three years and cost around $380 million, ended up going far over budget and behind schedule.<ref name="vcf">Template:Cite web</ref> Efforts to deploy modern computers and networking equipment were generally successful, but attempts to develop new investigation software, outsourced to SAIC, were a disaster. Virtual Case File, or VCF, as the software was known, was plagued by poorly defined goals, and repeated changes in management.<ref name="vcf2">Template:Cite web</ref> In January 2005, more than two years after the software was originally planned for completion, the FBI officially abandoned the project. At least $100 million (and much more by some estimates) was spent on the project, which was never operational. The FBI has been forced to continue using its decade-old Automated Case Support system, which is considered woefully inadequate by IT experts. In March 2005, the FBI announced it is beginning a new, more ambitious software project code-named Sentinel expected for completion by 2009.<ref name="sentinel">Template:Cite web</ref>
In February 2001, Robert Hanssen was caught selling information to the Russians. It was later learned that Hanssen, who had reached a high position within the FBI, had been selling intelligence since as early as 1979. He pleaded guilty to treason and received a life sentence in 2002, but the incident led many to question the security practices employed by the FBI. There was also a claim that Robert Hanssen might have contributed information that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks.<ref name="9_11">Template:Cite web</ref>
The 9/11 Commission's final report on July 22, 2004 stated that the FBI and CIA were both partially to blame for not pursuing intelligence reports which could have prevented the September 11, 2001 attacks. In its most condemning assessment, the report concluded that the country had "not been well served" by either agency and listed numerous recommendations for changes within the FBI.<ref name="abc">Template:Cite web</ref> While the FBI has acceded to most of the recommendations, including oversight by the new Director of National Intelligence, some former members of the 9/11 Commission publicly criticized the FBI in October 2005, claiming it was resisting any meaningful changes.<ref name="cbsnews">Template:Cite web</ref>
 See also
- State Level Organizations
- Other International Agencies
- Notable persons
 Further reading
- Powers, Richard Gid (1983). G-Men, Hoover's FBI in American Popular Culture. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-1096-1.
- Sullivan, William (1979). The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI. Norton. ISBN 0-393-01236-0.
- Theoharis, Athan G., John Stuart Cox (1988). The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition. Temple Univ. Press. ISBN 0-87722-532-X.
- Theoharis, Athan G., Tony G. Poveda, Susan Rosenfeld, Richard Gid Powers (2000). The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide. Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-4228-4.
- Theoharis, Athan G. (2004). The FBI and American Democracy: A Brief Critical History. Kansas: University Press. ISBN 0-7006-1345-5.
- Tonry, Michael (ed) (2000). The Handbook of Crime & Punishment. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514060-5.
- Trahair, Richard C. S. (2004). Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. Ballentine: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31955-3.
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