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To uphold the law through the investigation of violations of federal riminal
law; to protect the U.S. from foreign intelligence and terrorist activities; to
provide leadership and law enforcement assistance to federal, state, local, and
international agencies; and to perform these responsibilities in a manner that
is responsive to the needs of the public and is faithful to the constitution of
the U.S.: this is the mission of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The agency now known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was founded
in 1908 when the Attorney General appointed an unnamed force of Special Agents
to be the investigative force of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Before that
time, the DOJ had to borrow Agents from the U.S. Secret Service to investigate
violations of federal criminal laws within its jurisdiction. In 1909, the
Special Agent Force was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, and after a series
of name changes, it received its present official name in 1935.
During the early period of the FBIs history, its agents investigated
violations of mainly bankruptcy frauds, antitrust crime, and neutrality
violation. During World War One, the Bureau was given the responsibility of
investigating espionage, sabotage, sedition (resistance against lawful
authority), and draft violations. The passage of the National Motor Vehicle
Theft Act in 1919 further broadened the Bureau's jurisdiction.
After the passage of Prohibition in 1920, the gangster era began, bringing
about a whole new type of crime. Criminals engaged in kidnapping and bank
robbery, which were not federal crimes at that time. This changed in 1932 with
the passage of a federal kidnapping statute. In 1934, many other federal
criminal statutes were passed, and Congress gave Special Agents the authority to
make arrests and to carry firearms.
The FBIs size and jurisdiction during the second World War increased
greatly and included intelligence matters in South America. With the end of that
war, and the arrival of the Atomic Age, the FBI began conducting background
security investigations for the White House and other government agencies, as
well as probes into internal security matters for the executive branch of the
In the 1960s, civil rights and organized crime became major concerns of the
FBI, and counterterrorism, drugs, financial crime, and violent crimes in the
1970s. These are still the major concerns of the FBI, only now it is to a
With all of this responsibility, it is logical to say that the FBI is a
field-oriented organization. They have nine divisions and four offices at FBI
Headquarters in Washington, D.C. These divisions and offices provide direction
and support services to 56 field offices and approximately 10,100 Special Agents
and 13,700 other employees. Each FBI field office is overseen by a Special
Agent in Charge, except for those located in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Due to their large size, those offices are each managed by an Assistant Director
FBI field offices conduct their official business both directly from their
headquarters and through approximately 400 satellite offices, known as resident
agencies. The FBI also operates specialized field installations: two Regional
Computer Support Centers; one in Pocatello, Idaho, and one in Fort Monmouth, New
Jersey -- and two Information technology Centers (ITCs); one at Butte, Montana,
and one at Savannah, Georgia. The ITCs provide information services to support
field investigative and administrative operations.
Because they do have so much responsibility, their investigative authori
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