Federal Bureau of Investigation

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the investigative arm of the US Department of Justice. The FBI's investigative authority can be found in Title 28, Section 533 of the US Code. Additionally, there are other statutes, such as the Congressional Assassination, Kidnapping, and Assault Act (Title 18, US Code, Section 351), which give the FBI responsibility to investigate specific crimes.

The mission of the FBI is to uphold the law through the investigation of violations of federal criminal law; to protect the United States 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 United States.

The FBI's mandate, the broadest of all federal investigative agencies, authorizes it to investigate all federal criminal violations that have not been specifically assigned by Congress to another federal agency. The FBI's investigative functions fall into the categories of applicant matters; civil rights; counterterrorism; foreign counterintelligence; organized crime/drugs; violent crimes and major offenders; and financial crime.

The FBI is headed by a Director who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. On October 15, 1976, in reaction to the extraordinary 48-year term of J. Edgar Hoover, Congress passed Public Law 94-503, which limits the term of each FBI Director to ten years.


FBI Headquarters is currently located in the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC The Special Agents and support personnel who work at Headquarters organize and coordinate FBI activities around the world. Headquarters personnel determine investigative priorities, oversee major cases, and manage the organization's resources, technology, and personnel. Headquarters also has a role in gathering and distributing information. If a Special Agent in Boise, Idaho, has some information that would help an Agent in New York City solve a case, Headquarters is responsible for making sure the information gets from Boise to New York.

Headquarters plays a key role in fighting terrorism. It is the focal point for intelligence, not only from around the country, but from the CIA and various countries overseas. Headquarters takes the intelligence information it collects, analyzes it, and sends it to field offices, state and municipal police departments, and other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.

As the FBI has grown, some Headquarters functions have been moved to other locations. The Criminal Justice Information Services Division is located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The Laboratory and Investigative Technologies Divisions are located in Quantico, Virginia. Other specialized facilities, such as high-tech computer forensics centers, are at various locations across the country.


In executing the following priorities, the FBI will produce and use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack.
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes.
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels.
  5. Protect civil rights.
  6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises.
  7. Combat major white-collar crime.
  8. Combat significant violent crime.
  9. Support federal, state, county, municipal, and international partners.
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission.


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