The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, which simultaneously serves as the nation's prime federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is concurrently a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.
Although many of the FBI's functions are unique, its activities in support of national security are comparable to those of the British MI5 and the Russian FSB. Unlike the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has no law enforcement authority and is focused on intelligence collection overseas, the FBI is primarily a domestic agency, maintaining 56 field offices in major cities throughout the United States, and more than 400 resident agencies in lesser cities and areas across the nation. At an FBI field office, a senior-level FBI officer concurrently serves as the representative of the Director of National Intelligence.
Despite its domestic focus, the FBI also maintains a significant international footprint, operating 60 Legal Attache (LEGAT) offices and 15 sub-offices in U.S. embassies and consulates across the globe. These overseas offices exist primarily for the purpose of coordination with foreign security services and do not usually conduct unilateral operations in the host countries. The FBI can and does at times carry out secret activities overseas, just as the CIA has a limited domestic function; these activities generally require coordination across government agencies.
The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI). Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. The FBI headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, located in Washington, D.C.
Budget, mission and priorities Edit
In the fiscal year 2012, the Bureau's total budget was approximately $8.12 billion.
The FBI's main goal is to protect and defend the United States, 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.
Currently, the FBI's top priorities are:
- Protect the United States from terrorist attacks
- Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
- Combat public corruption at all levelsProtect civil rights
- Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
- Combat major white-collar crime
- Combat significant violent crime
- Support federal, state, local and international partners
- Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission
In 1896, the National Bureau of Criminal Identification was founded, which provided agencies across the country with information to identify known criminals. The 1901 assassination of President McKinley created an urgent perception that America was under threat from anarchists. The Department of Justice and the Department of Labor had been keeping records on anarchists for years, but President Theodore Roosevelt wanted more power to monitor them.
The Justice Department had been tasked with regulating interstate commerce since 1887, though it lacked the staff to do so. It had made little effort to relieve its staff shortage until the Oregon land fraud scandal erupted around the start of the 20th century. President Roosevelt instructed Attorney General Charles Bonaparteto create an autonomous investigative service that would report only to the Attorney General.
Bonaparte reached out to other agencies, including the Secret Service, for personnel, investigators in particular. On May 27, 1908, Congress forbade this use of Treasury employees by the Justice Department, citing fears that the new agency would serve as a secret police. Again at Roosevelt's urging, Bonaparte moved to organize a formal Bureau of Investigation with its own staff of special agents.