The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a longstanding governmental agency of the United States, and was founded in 1908, when Theodore Roosevelt ordered then Attorney General Charles Bonaparte to appoint 34 special agents for the purpose of “investigating violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust act” (Bohm, 1997, pg. 154). With a wide breadth of jurisdiction over crimes against the United States, the FBI dabbles in a variety of affairs—from bank robberies to technological crime. With a budget of approximately $8.1 billion, the FBI attempts to achieve consistency in satisfying its motto of “fidelity, bravery, and integrity” in fulfilling its mission of protecting its country and standing as an exemplar of criminal justice services.
The FBI investigates an array of crimes that fall beneath a general umbrella. The organization itself lists these as terrorism of both domestic and national origin: counterintelligence in the form of espionage; cybercrimes such as hacking, internet fraud, or identity theft; public corruption in terms of governmental or election fraud; civil rights that are damaged by hate crimes; human trafficking; organized crime such as the plethora of mafias that operate in some degree in the United States; white-collar crime that ranges from antitrust to money laundering; and especially violent crimes or major thefts (FBI, 2013, May 8). The organization is certainly not limited to working in the United States, however, and works globally with “more than 60 international offices called “legal attachés in U.S embassies worldwide” (FBI, 2013, May 8). They maintain a strong United States presence, of course, and with its authority being the “broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies” (FBI, 2013, May 8), the FBI tends to work in lockstep with other agencies. According to the Department of Justice, crimes that occur in “waters subject to jurisdiction of the United States” (U.S. Department of Justice, 2006, pg. 5) typically are prevented by the Coast Guard; however, the FBI might also work alongside them in a particular case, especially during a case of maritime terrorism. In any of the cases, the FBI might be a part of, their primary goal is to reduce United States’ vulnerability and create countermeasures.
Of all these listed crimes, the FBI is especially concerned with the threat of terrorism both domestic and abroad, and they use a “growing suite of investigative and intelligence capabilities to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives” (FBI, 2013, May 8). The neutralization can take the shape of cutting of financing “provided by terrorist sympathizers” (FBI, 2013, May 8) or even simply preventing the construction or coordination of weapons of mass destruction. It is, namely, a game of prevention that is becoming more capable with time and technological advancement. The FBI makes clear that communication is also essential for preventing these crimes from occurring, and they will “talk constantly with [their] local, state, and federal partners” (FBI, 2013, May 8). Because of the “proliferation of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons” (Bohm, 1997, pg. 159), the FBI has been forced to adapt to these changes. Essentially, as technology grows, it improves our advantages in warfare, but it also increases the origin of threats.
In sum, the FBI operates on an overwhelmingly large scale and has no solitary focus. Instead, the FBI must consider any and all scenarios above state authority that threatens American society and our homeland’s security and well-being. Ultimately, while the FBI does not operate under a single focus, they have multitudes of significant purposes to investigate and to use the intelligence that they accrue for the purpose of protecting the United States. This protection does not end at any specific crime because the FBI investigates into nearly everything.
Bohm, Robert M., and Keith N. Haley. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 7th ed. New York, NY: Glencoe, 1997. Print.
FBI. FBI, 08 May 2013. Web. 20 July 2013. http://www.fbi.gov/.
U.S. Department of Justice. (2006). The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s efforts to protect the nation’s seaports (pp. I-103) (United States, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Inspector General Audit Division). Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0626/final.pdf