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The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is an agency that is part of the United States Department of Justice. It serves both as a federal criminal investigative body and an intelligence agency for internal affairs. The FBI holds investigative jurisdiction for violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes. The Bureau is made up of various departments such as cyber crime, counterterrorism, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, and major theft/violent crimes.
The mission statement of the FBI includes protecting and defending the United States of America from terrorists and foreign intelligence threats. They strive to uphold and enforce criminal laws and provide leadership and criminal justice aid to federal, state, municipal and international agencies around the world. Along with protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks, the organization's major priorities include protecting the country from cyber-based attacks, protecting the citizens civil rights, combating public corruption at all levels, transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises, white-collar criminals, significant violent crime, and keeping up with technology to successfully carry out the FBI's goals and jobs.
Based on numbers collected in late March of 2010, the FBI had a total of 33,925 employees, including 13,492 special agents and 20,433 support professionals, such as intelligence analysts, language specialists, and scientists.  The budget of this government organization was about $7.9 billion in the fiscal year 2010. This budget includes the $618 million spent in programs that enhance our counterterrorism and counter white-collar crime units, prevention of cyber-crimes and weapons of mass destruction, and training programs. The FBI is located all around the world. Along with the headquarters located at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., the organization has 56 field offices in major cities throughout the U.S., more than 400 resident agencies in smaller towns across the nation, and more than 60 offices in other countries around the world.
The history of the FBI dates back to 1908. It originated from a force of Special Agents created by the then Attorney General, Charles Bonaparte, during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. In 1892, the two men met and discussed law enforcement. Roosevelt shared the idea that the Border Patrol applicants should have to pass marksmanship tests, with only the most accurate earning the jobs.  At this time law enforcement was often political rather than professional. The people with the best connections in politics were given jobs, not the individuals who were the most qualified. But, these two men shared the idea that efficiency and expertise, should determine who could serve best in government, not political connections. When Roosevelt was elected to office in 1901, he appointed Bonaparte to be Attorney General four years later. Bonaparte took this position and immediately integrated his Progressive philosophy into the Department of Justice by creating a group of Special Agents. It didn't have an official name at the time, but these men are known as the forerunners of the FBI. 
Stanley Finch was the first director of the FBI when it was still in its early stages. In 1909, the organization of Special Agents was first referred to as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) by the then Attorney General, Wickersham. At this time, the Bureau only consisted of about 70 employees.  Over the following several years the Bureau was referred to as the Division of Investigation, but this title never officially stuck. For 20 years following 1913, the Bureau remained the BOI, but in 1933 it was named the United States Bureau of Investigation. It wasn't until 1935 that President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress officially named the Division as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The name became effective in March of 1935 when President Roosevelt signed the appropriation bill and they've been known under this name ever since.
The colors and symbols on the official seal of the FBI, which can be found on the title page, each have a special significance. The blue color of the seal represents justice. The circle of 13 stars symbolizes unity of purpose as demonstrated by the original 13 states. The laurel leaf signifies academic honors, distinction and fame and it contains 46 leaves in the two branches, since there were only 46 states in the union when the FBI was founded. The connotation of the red and white parallel stripes lies in their colors, red stands for courage and strength, while white conveys cleanliness, truth and peace.  The rugged edge which surrounds the entire seal symbolizes the extreme challenges that confront the FBI and the ruggedness of the organization and it's gold color simply conveys its over-all value. The FBI's motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity" which not only shares the same acronym of the Bureau, but it also describes the encouraging force behind the men and women who work for the organization. Not surprisingly, any unauthorized use of the FBI seal or motto is subject to prosecution in a federal criminal court.
The hiring process for the FBI is believed to be one of the most in-depth and selective in the United States. In order to apply to become an FBI agent, an applicant must be at least 23 but no older than 37. He or she must be an American citizen, have a clean record and hold at least a four-year bachelors degree. All employees require a Top Secret security clearance, and in some case, they need a higher level, TS/SCI clearance. In order to get said clearance levels, all applicants must pass a series of extensive background investigations. Special Agents candidates must also pass a physical fitness test that includes a 1.5 mile and 300 meter run, sit-ups, and push-ups. There is also a polygraph test that personnel have to pass, which focuses on topics such as possible drug use. 
After potential special agents pass the TS clearance procedures, Form SF-312 is signed and they're next step is to attend the FBI training facility located in Quantico, Virginia. This academy lasts approximately 21 weeks and includes 500 classroom hours along with 1,000 simulated law enforcement hours of training. After the candidates graduate, they are placed all around the United States and the world, depending on their areas of expertise and excellence. 
Since the 1930's the FBI has been frequently portrayed in popular media mediums such as movies, TV shows and novels. The Bureau has attempted to get directly involved in the process to a degree in an effort to present the organization in a favorable light. However, in March of 1971, an FBI resident office in Pennsylvania was robbed. The thieves took secret files and mailed them anonymously to various newspapers. The files included information on investigations into the lives of ordinary lives, including the daughter or Congressman Henry Reuss of Wisconsin and an ordinary black student at a Pennsylvania military college. When word broke that the FBI was wire tapping ordinary citizens for no clear reason, the country was in shock. The actions of the Bureau were denounced by various members of Congress including House Majority Leader, Hale Boggs. This is just one example of a time in history when the FBI has endured public criticism in the past. The organization was also scrutinized in 2000 when the organization began a project to upgrade it's outdate information technology software. The project was originally designed to take 3 years and cost about $380 million, but it ended up going far over budget and behind schedule. More notably, in 2004, the 9/11 Commission's final report stated that the CIA and FBI failed to pursue intelligence that could have prevented the September 11, 2001 attacks. The report declared that the country had not been well served by either of the two agencies and listed a series of recommendations for changes within the Bureau.  Another public case involving the FBI happened in February of 2001, when Robert Hanssen, a person of high position within the FBI, who was caught selling information to the Russians since as early as 1979. He pleaded guilty to treason and received a life sentence in 2002.  This incident led many to question the hiring process of the FBI and further led people to scrutinize the internal affairs of the organization.
Don't think the FBI is full of corruption and deceit though, the organization provides many services for the well-being of the country. To start, the FBI provides access to FBI records for all Americans through the internet. By logging onto www.foia.fbi.gov one is able to view records previously released by the Bureau or request unreleased records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act. The FBI has created records to organize their investigation in order to help carry out their responsibilities, such as investigative files, personnel files, and criminal "rap sheets." 
The FBI has a variety of responsibilities and duties to perform in order to protect our country and assist their law enforcement partners. Some of the investigative techniques and operational capabilities used to solve cases and provide support to said enforcement partners includes behavioral analysis, cryptanalysis (code breaking), composite sketches, crisis negotiation, DNA analysis, digital forensics, evidence recovery, firearms identification, fugitive and mission person searches, hostage rescue, SWAT teams, undercover operations, and the list goes on and on. More specifically, the Bureau uses behavioral analysis to help profile suspects in order to further cold cases or cases that need an initial push. In addition to working cases, the units train law enforcement officers the science of profiling and teach others the ways to sleuth cases. The typical agent working in Behavioral Analysis Units are generally seasoned FBI investigators with analytical minds, an understanding of human behavior and psychology, and lots of experience working with cases. 
In today's modern society local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies are joining together to further protect communities and take down fugitives by helping each other out and sharing information. Tips from concerned citizens around the world also help to track down these fugitives.
The FBI is often in charge of many stressful crisis situations such as hostage negotiations, SWAT missions and barricade situations. Unlike what is depicted in the media, one group doesn't overpower the other, instead they all act as one and move in tandem.  The negotiators of the FBI take pride in their ability to negotiate a situation. In fact, most barricades and hostage negotiations are resolved through negotiations. Only a fifth of incidents require solely tactical force. The Bureau even manages a database that includes information on over 5,000 barricade incidents.  This database is used by local and state jurisdictions to see how other situations were resolved, how long they lasted, and how communications were handled. Agents who want to become a hostage negotiator are put through a rigorous two-week National Crisis Negotiation Course, located at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The course requires students to act in real-life scenarios where their skills are tested with no second chances.
The Bureau also has a unit that specializes with composite sketches, called the Investigative and Prosecutive Graphic Unit (IPGU). They were the ones that took credit for bringing the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, to justice by releasing an accurate sketch of the suspect until he was recognized by a local motel worker. The unit specializes in taking dated pictures of suspects or missing persons and "aging" them to show what they would look like today. They use lifestyle trends such as facial hair and hair styles to be as accurate as possible. The IPGU also uses skeletal remains to reconstruct almost identical facial images. The unit also creates 3-D animated digital diagrams to help reconstruct crime scenes and revolutionize court room presentations. 
During the civil-rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's the FBI became heavily involved and concerned about the influence of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. The Bureau carried out controversial surveillance operations that were aimed at investigating and disrupting rebellious political organizations including radical and non-violent organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading civil rights group. King was often a frequent target for the FBI during this time.  The Bureau searched for evidence of King committing a crime but was never able to stick him with anything illegal. The organization did, however, obtain video tapes involving King performing sexual activities. They allegedly used these tapes to blackmail King. In fact, Washington Post journalist, Carl Rowan, accused the FBI of sending King an anonymous letter encouraging him to commit suicide, but this was left an accusation, with no proof.
On the day that no American will ever forget, when John F. Kennedy was shot in the streets of Dallas, Texas, the jurisdiction fell to local police departments. But, when President Lyndon B. Johnson took over, he directed the FBI to take over the investigation.  To make sure that there would never be confusion over which department gets jurisdiction over homicides at the federal level, Congress passed a law that ordered all investigations over the death of federal government officials to be handled by the FBI.
In an effort to hinder the rapid growth of organized crime in the the 1950's, the Top Hoodlum Program was created in August of 1953. It required that all field offices to gather information on mobsters in their jurisdictions and send a report of their activities to Washington on a regular basis in order to form a centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers. After the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) was introduced, the FBI began investigations on the former Prohibition-organized groups, which were known to become fronts for crimes in major cities. All investigating was done undercover during this time under provisions provided in the RICO Act which dismantled these groups. At first FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, denied the existence of any organized crime networks in the United States simply because he didn't have the resources to deploy a force to stop organized crime. The Bureau later conducted operations that were aimed against known organized crime families, including those headed by John Gotti Sam Giancana. The RICO Act is still used today against all organized crime and any persons who might fall under the Act. 
Between the years 1993 and 1996, the FBI increased its counterintelligence programs in response to the first 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the arrest of the Unabomber in 1996. The technological innovation and the skilled agents in the FBI are to credit for ensuring that all three of these cases were solved and prosecuted, but the FBI was scrutinized and confronted by the public during this period for not acting "fast enough." The Unabomber case is known as the most costly investigations done by the FBI to this day.  After receiving scrutiny from the public during this period, the Bureau upgraded its resources such as a technological upgrade in 1998. It's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) was created in an attempt to harbor any viruses, worms or any other malicious programs that were unleashing havoc in the United States.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations includes a cyber crime division now that not only protects America from malicious computer viruses, but it also thwarts online sexual predators (with the help of Chris Hanson), counteracts operations that target intellectual property in the US, and dismantles national and international organized criminal enterprises that engage in fraud over the internet. On a typical hall of the Cyber Crime division of the FBI, a detective can be found posing undercover as a teenage girl in an online chat room, a forensic examiner can be found decrypting files on a suspected hacker's computer and an agent can be found taking calls from victims of various internet scams. 
Along with cyber crimes, the FBI investigates violent crimes and major thefts such as art thefts, bank robberies, cruise ship crimes, vehicle theft, crimes against children, and violent gangs. Thousands of FBI agents work closely with their state and local agencies on investigations and joint task forces. Beyond their casework, FBI agents attempt to analyze trends and threats and share this information with their partners on the lower levels such as state and local levels. In this division of the FBI state-of-the-art forensic services are used along with databases of criminal records and DNA/fingerprint records. 
After 9/11, the FBI has implemented plans that would transform the organization of the Bureau to enhance the ability to predict and prevent future terrorist from harming our country. They have overhauled the counterterrorism department, expanded their intelligence abilities, modernized their business practices, and improved their connections and coordination with their federal, state, and local partners. The National Security Branch (NSB) was created in 2005 in response to the presidential order to establish a "National Security Service" that combines the resources, missions and abilities of the counterterrorism elements of the FBI under the leadership of an experienced FBI official. In 2006 a Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate  was created within the NSB and now the NSB also includes a Terrorist Screening Center, which plays a vital role in providing actionable intelligence to state and local law enforcement.  The NSB strengthens the incorporation of the intelligence and investigative missions of the FBI. Now, information collected is not just used for one case, but instead, its used to derive predictions and trends for aid in future cases.
Due to the media and their interpretations, the American people often have some misconceptions about the FBI. Some of the most common misconceptions are the fact that people believe that the FBI stores records of everyone, they spy on all Americans routinely and that they keep X-Files. While the FBI does in fact keep files on Americans, they only keep records on serious federal law offenders and people who pose a serious threat to national security. Movies have also depicted the FBI as a secretive organization that spies on anyone and everyone. This is also not true. The Bureau follows a strict set of guidelines, rule and regulations about who they can spy on and conduct investigations around. As far as paranormal activity is concerned, the FBI has no extreme interest in the theory of aliens. While they do keep records of UFO sightings, they do not chase down supernatural creatures like they are depicted in the famous TV show, X-Files. 
Internet crimes have been drastically rising these days, increasing by 22.3% in just one year from 2008 to 2009, so a strong centralized law enforcement agency is almost necessary in order to protect American's from these new dangers.  The FBI continues to protect our country from both foreign and domestic threats every year. Most recently, they stopped an attempted bombing of Times Square in New York City on May 2, 2010. The Bureau acted quickly and tracked down the bomber as Faisal Shahzad so that another attempt couldn't be attempted in the future. This is just one of the things that the Bureau does to ensure American's safety. Overall, the Bureau has come a long way since it's beginning in 1908. The organizations success has always depended on the agility, determination and willingness to adapt of all of its personnel. But, after the attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001, the pace of the Bureau has been unprecedented. The FBI has adapted to globalizations as well as all the new technologies. They have developed new technologies to attack international criminal corporations, sophisticated internet scams, fraud that presents a danger to the US economy, and terrorists. With almost 34,000 workers employed  , the FBI has easily become one of the most feared government organizations for criminals all over the world.