Category Archives: Agency Spotlight

ATF–History of the Badges

atf

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has had many badges over their history. Here’s a look at how the ATF badges have evolved.

atfOffice of Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Department of Treasury, 1791-1919

The ATF law enforcement legacy began in 1791 when the first tax on whiskey passed under President George Washington. ATF’s legacy evolved under the U.S. Department of Treasury, first as part of the Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and then with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Today’s ATF Special Agents and Investigators are directly descended from the earliest Internal Revenue Collectors, Deputy Collectors, Assessors, Gougers, Store keeps, and Inspectors. This star badge is believed to be the original issue of that era.

atfProhibition Unit, Bureau of Internal Revenue, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1920-1926

On January 19, 1919, Congress ratified the 18th Amendment banning the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition led to underground distilleries and saloons supplying bootlegged liquor. This prompted the U.S. Department of Treasury to strengthen its law enforcement capabilities. Eliot Ness emerged on the scene as a temporary Prohibition Agent.

atfBureau of Prohibition, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1927-1930

In 1927, the Prohibition Unit was reorganized into the separate and distinct Bureau of U.S. Department of Treasury. As criminals gained control over the illegal liquor industry, a new mission of the Bureau emerged; crime fighting.

atfBureau of Prohibition, U.S. Department of Justice, 1930-1933

By 1930, the crime fighting mission began conflicting with the Treasury Departments’ philosophy of voluntary compliance with the laws. Crime fighting was transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Treasury Department created the Bureau of Industrial Alcohol to carry out its remaining regulatory functions.

In 1933, the 21st Amendment ended prohibition. The Bureau of Prohibition and Alcoholic Beverage Unit were dismantled. President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order consolidating any federal agencies enforcing and regulating the liquor industry into one entity. That new entity became the Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU) of the Internal Revenue Service.

atfAlcohol Tax Unit, Bureau of Internal Revenue, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1934-1951

There was still an illegal liquor problem in the country during this time. ATU seized many plants in the first few months of their existence. ATU managed to dismantle large liquor syndicated and the attitudes of prosecutors, judges, and courts began to change.

atfAlcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1952-1967

In 1952, the IRS consolidated enforcement responsibilities of alcohol and tobacco under one unit known as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division. Moonshine production became a problem and moonshine related deaths became widespread.

atfAlcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1968-1971

Investigations of firearms and explosives-related crimes and regulation of those industries became a high priority within the U.S. Department of Treasury. Congress delegated the enforcement of laws and regulations to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, which had expanded responsibilities in firearms. Therefore, it became known as the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division.

atfBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, U.S. Department of Treasury, 1972-2002

ATF became an independent bureau on July 1, 1972, and reported directly to the Treasury Department’s Office of Enforcement, Tariff and Trade Affairs, and Operations. Responsibilities changes with ATF, moving from primarily the investigation of illicit alcohol, to crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson.

atfBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Department of Justice. 2003-Present

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred law enforcement responsibilities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with the Treasury Department to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Agency Spotlight–Eliot Ness

agents

Eliot Ness is one of the most famous federal agents in the history of law enforcement. He and his team, the Untouchables, broke organized crime in Chicago, which was dubbed the “crime capital of the world”. They put away famous criminals and gangsters, including Al Capone and became so well known that a comic strip was based on their stories, and the famous character Dick Tracy was born.

He entered service in 1926, and by that time three of the Treasury Departments six law enforcement arms—Prohibition Unit, Coast Guard, and Customs—were working together, sharing information, and conducting joint operations against the organized crime threat.

During his 10 years with ATF, Ness demonstrated he possessed intelligence, ability, honesty, and integrity. After cleaning up Chicago, he went on to clean up two other cities with corrupt law enforcement agencies; Cleveland and Cincinnati. He resigned after 10 years and became the Cleveland Public Safety Director. Criminals completely controlled the liquor industry. Assassinations, bombs, bullets, and corruption were routine. Bootleggers and gangsters who forged close ties with local authorities were common. Chicago was one of those cities.

agentsNess’ Chicago Assignment

Al Capone all but owned Chicago. The collective force of 3,000 police officers and 300 prohibition agents couldn’t bring down his empire. 1930 brought two major events that not only changed the course of Ness’ career but also redirected the federal law enforcement trajectory; ATF’s legacy in particular.

  • The first was the Bureau of Prohibition was transferred from the U.S Department of Treasury to the U.S. Department of Justice. Their mission increasingly focused on fighting violent crime.
  • The Second was President Herbert Hoover declared war against Capone. It set into motion a two-armed investigative attack on Capone. One led by the Bureau of Prohibition Investigative Division Special Agent Eliot Ness—ordered to cripple Capone’s operations and gather evidence of prohibition violations. The second led by lawmen Elmer Irey and Frank Wilson of the Internal Revenue Service. They investigated Capone’s finances for evidence of money laundering and tax evasion.

The team damaged Capone’s organization and it led to the indictment of Al Capone on over 5,000 prohibition violations under the Volstead Act. They also went on to successfully apprehend many of Chicago’s notorious gangsters and bootleggers.

agentsCincinnati and Cleveland Assignments

In September 1933, Ness transferred from Chicago to Cincinnati as a Sr. Investigator. Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933, and the Bureau of Prohibition was reorganized as the Alcohol Beverage Unit briefly before being transferred back to the Treasury Department as the Alcohol Tax Unit.

ATU faced many challenges. The country wasn’t prepared to re-establish the legal liquor industry because criminals continued to illegally produce and distribute distilled spirits. Organized crime once again rose. ATU seized many alcohol distilleries in the first few months after its creation. They managed to bring down large liquor syndicates, changing the perception of federal law enforcement, as well as the attitudes of prosecutors, juries, and courts.

agentsIn December 1934, Cleveland had a need for a lawman like Eliot Ness. The city was infested with so much crime and corruption that it earned a reputation as an untamed town. He was 31 years old when he arrived as the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s ATU in the northern district of Ohio. Thirty-four agents were under his command and they tracked down, raided, and destroyed a string of illegal liquor operations, earning a reputation of taking down a still a day.

Ness would serve as Investigator in Charge of the Cleveland Office of ATU until January 1, 1936, when he resigned to become the Cleveland Public Safety Director. His new position put him in charge of police and fire departments where he successfully headed a campaign to clean up corruption and modernize both service institutions.

Today, Eliot Ness symbolizes that no matter how challenging the times, circumstances, or mission, the badge continues to represent the tradition of “untouchable” honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior for those who serve and protect.

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Agency Spotlight–History of the ATF

revenue

The agency was formerly part of the U.S. Department of Treasury, which was formed in 1886 as the “Revenue Laboratory” within the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue. Their history can be traced back to a time of revenuers, or “revenoors” and the Bureau of Prohibition, formed as a unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1920. ATF was made an independent agency within the Treasury Department in 1927, transferred to the Justice Department in 1930 and briefly became a division of the FBI in 1933.

When the Volstead Act, which established Prohibition, was repealed in 1933, the unit was transferred from the Department of Justice back to the Department of Treasury, where it became the Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

In 1942, responsibility for enforcing federal firearms laws was given to ATU. Then in the early 1950’s, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was renamed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and ATU was given the additional responsibility of enforcing federal tobacco tax laws. ATU’s name was changed to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division (ATTD).

With the passage of the Gun Control Act in 1968, the agency changed its name again to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the IRS and first started using the initials “ATF”.

In Title XI of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Congress enacted the Explosives Control Act which provided for close regulation of the explosives industry and designated certain arsons and bombings as federal crimes. These responsibilities were designated to the ATF division of the IRS.

In 1972, ATF was established as a separate bureau within the Treasury Department when Treasury Department Order 221 (Effective July 1, 1972) transferred responsibilities of the ATF division of the IRS to the new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

During Rex D. Davis’ tenure (ATF’s first director), the primary mission of the agency became federal firearms and explosive laws addressing violent crimes. Taxation and other alcohol issues remained priorities as ATF collected billions of dollars in alcohol/tobacco taxes and undertook major revisions of federal wine labeling regulations.

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law. In addition to this creating the Department of Homeland Security, the law shifted ATF from the Department of Treasury to the Department of Justice. The agencies’ name was changed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—however, the agency is still referred to as ATF.

Also, the task of federal tax revenue collection derived from the production of tobacco/alcohol products and regulatory function related to protecting the public on issues related to the production of alcohol, previously handled by ATF, was transferred to the newly established Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

The next post in this series will look at one of the most famous ATF agents, Eliot Ness.

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Agency Spotlight–ATF

atf

This month we will be spotlighting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Mission

Their mission is to protect the public from crimes involving firearms, explosives, arson, and the diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. They do this by regulating lawful commerce in firearms and explosives and provide worldwide support to law enforcement, public safety, and industry partners.

They strive to protect communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, illegal use and trafficking of firearms, illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.

The major functions of ATF are to reduce the risk to public safety caused by:

  • Illegal firearms trafficking
  • Criminal possession and use of firearms
  • Criminal organizations and gangs
  • Bombs and explosives
  • Criminal use of fire
  • Reducing the loss of tax revenues caused by contraband alcohol and tobacco trafficking

They also want to improve public safety by increasing compliance with Federal laws and regulations by firearms industry members and explosives industry members.

Vision

They strive to be a world class law enforcement organization committed to safeguarding lives by protecting the public from violent crime.

Values

ATF pledges an unwavering personal and organizational commitment to:

  • Preserving and protecting human life and public safety
  • Fairness and respect for the worth, dignity, and diversity of all people
  • Supporting the well-being of all members of the ATF family
  • Professionalism, honesty, integrity, accountability, ethical behavior, and excellence
  • Innovation, critical thinking, continuous learning, and development
  • Uphold the Constitution and laws of the U.S. in the pursuit of justice

Responsibilities

Their responsibilities include investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arsons and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. They also regulate licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of these activities are carried out in partnership with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers.

Divisions

Alcohol and Tobacco

The goal of ATF’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement programs are the following:

  • Target, identify and dismantle criminal enterprises with ties to violent crime that traffic illicit liquor or contraband tobacco in interstate commerce.
  • Seize and deny their access to assets and funds.
  • Prevent their encroachment into the legitimate alcohol or tobacco industry.

Firearms

ATF targets, investigates, and recommends prosecution of these offenders to reduce the level of violent crimes and enhance public safety. They issue firearms licenses and conduct firearm licensee qualification and compliance inspections to curb illegal use of firearms and enforce federal firearms laws.

Explosives

Federal explosives law and regulations affect all persons who import, manufacture, deal in, purchase, use, store, or possess explosive materials. These regulations also affect those who ship, transport, or receive explosive materials.

Arson

ATF is the primary federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing criminal and regulatory provisions of federal laws pertaining to destructive bombs, explosives, and arson.

The next post about ATF will look at their history.

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Agency Spotlight–FBI Worker Injuries/Conditions

conditionsTo conclude our series on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we’ll look at some common ways an FBI worker can get injured during work. FBI employees often engage in dangerous work, particularly their work environments and dealing with people of special investigation. The nature of their job puts them at a significant risk for intentional violent injuries. Below are a few clients we have helped/are helping.

Investigative Specialist

A person in this position uses a variety of equipment and must infiltrate businesses or homes without being detected. They must follow subjects unnoticed, collect and disseminate intelligence, organize surveillance teams, and offer advice to Special Agents.

This particular client is part of FBI’s elite Special Surveillance Group. This group is tasked with conducting physical surveillance of FBI targets of investigations. His conditions include:

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome—an extreme version of never compression or inflammation in the lower part of the spinal canal, and considered a surgical emergency if left untreated because it can lead to permanent loss of bowel and bladder control and paralysis of the legs.
  • Neurogenic bladder and bowel
  • Severe lumber Disc Degeneration
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Dysesthesias in the right foot—an abnormal sensation caused by lesions of the nervous system (peripheral or central) and involves sensations such as burning, wetness, itching, electric shock, and pins and needles.

Due to these conditions, he is no longer able to stand, sit, or walk for more than 10 minutes without severe pain, numbness, or weakness. He loses his balance. He is unable to climb more than 15 steps. Applying self-defense and driving techniques is near impossible. He is also unable to “run from a hazardous situation”.

Operational Support Technician

A worker in this position performs data analysis on phone records, maintain case documents, conducts physical surveillance related to national security and criminal investigations, and helps Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts.

This person is suffering from cervical herniated discs, bulging lumbar discs, Fibromyalgia, generalized anxiety, and thyroid disease. Because of these conditions, she is no longer able to carry heavy items, limited to desk work such as typing, however, she is unable to sit for prolonged periods of times, including while driving.

Special Agent

This persons’ job is to investigate crimes and enforce laws, interview suspects, participate in raids, arrests, search warrants, and other dangerous activity. They are likely involved in investigations of large scale criminal activities such as organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and cybercrime. The position is on duty 24/7.

This client is suffering from failed inguinal hernia mesh repairs. This occurs when tissue, such as part of the small intestine protrudes through a weak spot in abdominal muscles, resulting in chronic pain.

He has difficulty standing, sitting up, and walking. He cannot move with ease, run, jump, or engage a subject due to his lack of mobility.

Supervisory Program Analyst (Unit Chief)

A person in this position is responsible for:

  • Supervising the development of complex studies
  • Analyzing staff activities related to long-term planning
  • Determining goals and objectives in their unit
  • Preparing reports on management initiatives and studies the overall coordination of the allocation of resources
  • Directing and monitoring the progress of administration activities
  • Coordinating and facilitating the processing of all administrative issues such as staffing and recruiting
  • Managing and overseeing workforce management, intern program, HR management, auditing, and inventory management
  • Receiving and resolving a variety of complex employee matters
  • Preparing and presenting briefs to FBI management

She is suffering from:

  • Lumber facet arthroplasty—degeneration and arthritis in that part of the back
  • Lumber facet disease
  • Sacroiliitis—inflammation of one or both sacroiliac joints (where the lower spine and pelvis connect)
  • Migraines

Because of these conditions, she can no longer have great attendance at work, which is required by supervisors, sit, or stand for long periods of time, or concentrate or focus due to the chronic pain.

If you are an FBI employee who has found you can no longer perform the duties of your job because of your medical condition, you may qualify for federal disability retirement. We offer FREE consultations, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form.

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Recent Headlines from the FBI

fbiBelow are some of the most recent headlines out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Plans to Move FBI Headquarters Halted

The General Service Administration, along with the FBI, have decided to scrap plans to build a new FBI headquarters because of funding gaps. The GSA initially asked Congress for $1.4 billion for the project in FY2017, and only $523 million was appropriated, leaving an $882 million funding gap.

The funding gap made it too risky to pursue the project because it could make the government vulnerable to cost escalations. Further, it would potentially reduce the value of the FBI’s current property, the J. Edgar Hoover building. The GSA had planned to trade the building into a developer for additional funding.

“The cancellation of the project doesn’t lessen the need for a new FBI headquarters. GSA and FBI will continue to work together to address the space requirements of the FBI,” GSA said.

A few Senators/Representatives oppose the move saying it could endanger national security. “This is a decision that will have a major impact on the security of our country. The core missions of the FBI are being compromised by the decision made by the Trump administration today. It puts our homeland security at greater risk, and our national security at greater risk,” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin said.

FBI Director James Comey is Fired

President Trump made a shocking announcement in May by firing Director James Comey. The Trump administration attributed his dismissal to the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clintons’ email server, however, some suggest his firing was because he was getting too close to the White House with the probe into Russian ties.

Law enforcement sources said that Comey learned of his firing from TV, as he was addressing the FBI workforce in Los Angeles.

A signed letter from Trump informed Comey he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately” and that he reached the conclusion Comey was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”. Also in the letter was, “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

Comey’s term wasn’t due to end until 2023. FBI directors’ tenure is a decade long to shield them from being drawn into politics, however, the position is subject to dismissal at the pleasure of the President.

FBI Arrested NSA Contractor for Allegedly Leaking Classified Information

Back in June, a federal contractor, Reality Winner, who had Top Secret clearance, was charged with “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet”. Prosecutors said that when confronted with the allegations, Winner admitted to intentionally leaking the classified information.

An internal audit revealed she was one of six people who printed the document but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet.

“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nations’ security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.

Winner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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Branches of the FBI–Part 3

science

Science and Technology Branch

Established in 2006, this branch uses advanced scientific techniques and operational techniques to help counter terrorism and criminal threats. Workers in the branch are experts in areas such as biometrics, forensic science, and tactical operations.

Mission

Their mission is to support the FBI mission by discovering, developing, and delivering innovative science and technology capabilities that enhance intelligence and investigative activities.

Vision

Be the premier provider of applied science and technology capabilities.

Forensic Science

FBI’s scientists, lab technicians, engineers, and forensic examiners perform the following:

  • Biometric Analysis—provide accurate, complete, and timely forensic analysis, including reporting, training, testimony, and technical support for latent print and DNA exams.
  • Scientific Analysis—provide accurate, complete, and timely forensic analysis, including reporting, training, testimony, and technical support for cryptanalysis, chemistry, firearms/tool marks, questioned documents, and trace evidence exams.
  • Operational Response—Identifying, documenting, and safely collecting, preserving, transporting, and exploiting evidence—which can include chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials—from crime scenes within the U.S. or abroad.

Operational Technology

The following are some of the services provided by this branch to ensure national security:

  • Digital forensics—collecting and examining digital evidence gathered from computers, audio files, video recordings, images, and portable electronic devices.
  • Electronic surveillance—developing and deploying tools to perform lawfully authorized intercepts of wired/wireless telecommunications and data network communications
  • Tactical Operations—deploying tools, systems, and equipment used in covert searches.

Information Sharing

The following are a few types of information sharing by the Science and Technology Branch:

  • Crime reporting—collecting and publishing crime statistics from nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies.
  • Biometrics—expanding traditional law enforcement tools such as fingerprint identification to new forms including palm prints, iris, and voice and facial patterns.
  • Criminal background checks—network of databases including federal/state records for use by law enforcement during investigations and arrests.
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Branches of the FBI–Part 2

branch

In the first part of this series, we took a look at four of the six branched within the FBI: the National Security Branch, the Information Technology Branch, the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, and the Human Resources Branch. This post will look at the Intelligence Branch.

Intelligence Branch

This branch oversees intelligence policy and guidance. They ensure that the FBI’s intelligence production remains objective and strikes the correct balance between strategic and tactical work. The intelligence branch is responsible for all intelligence strategy, resources, policies, and functions.

“Intelligence” is defined as information that has been analyzed and refined so it’s useful to policymakers in making decisions, specifically about potential threats to national security. The FBI and other organizations that make up the U.S.  intelligence community use the term “intelligence” three different ways:

  • A product that consists of information that has been refined to meet the needs of policymakers.
  • The process through which information is identified, collected and analyzed.
  • Refers to both the individual organizations that shape raw data into a finished intelligence product for the benefit of decision makers and the larger communities of these organizations.

The Intelligence Cycle

The FBI uses the Intelligence Cycle for developing unrefined data into polished intelligence for the use by policymakers. It consists of 6 steps:

  • Requirements—identify information needs; what must be known to safeguard the nation. Requirements are developed based on critical information necessary to protect the U.S. from national security and criminal threats.
  • Planning and Direction—management of the entire effort, from identifying the need for information to delivering an intelligence product to a consumer.
  • Collection—gathering of new information based on requirements. Actions used include interviews, technical and physical surveillance, human source operation, searches, and liaison relationships.
  • Processing and Exploitation—converting a vast amount of information collected into a usable form. This is done through encryption, language translations, and data reduction. Processing includes entering raw data into databases where it is exploited for use in the analysis process.
  • Analysis and Production—conversion of raw information into intelligence. This includes integrating, evaluating, and analyzing data, and preparing intelligence products. Information is integrated, put in context, and used to produce intelligence.
  • Dissemination—distribution of raw or unfinished intelligence to consumers whose needs initiated intelligence requirements. The FBI disseminates information in 3 standard forms: Intelligence Information Reports, FBI Intelligence Bulletins, and FBI Intelligence Assessments.

There are various types of intelligences—military, political, economic, social, environmental, health, and cultural. The FBI uses 5 main ways of collecting intelligence, collectively referred to as intelligence collection disciplines, or INT’s.

  • Human intelligence—(HUMINT)—the collection of information through human sources. Within the U.S., this is the FBI’s responsibility, outside the U.S. the CIA generally conducts this.
  • Signals intelligence—(SIGINT)—electronic transmissions collected by ships, planes, ground sites, or satellites.
  • Imagery intelligence—(IMINT)—sometimes referred to as photo intelligence (PHOTINT), it involves designing, building, and operating imagery satellites.
  • Measurement and Signatures intelligence—(MASINT)—concerns weapons capabilities and industrial activities. Its primary use is to help identify chemical weapons or pinpoint specific features of unknown weapons systems.
  • Open source intelligence—(OSINT)—refers to information and sources that are generally available including information obtained from media, professional and academic records, and public data.

The last post in this series will look at the Science and Technology Branch.

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Branches of the FBI

branches

As we continue to look at the Federal Bureau of Investigation this month, the next series of posts will look at the branches of the FBI. Some of these branches are larger than the others, but all work together to help keep our nation safe.

branchesNational Security Branch

This branch of the FBI was created in response to a presidential directive to establish a “National Security Service” in September 2005. It combines the missions, capabilities, and resources of the FBI’s counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and intelligence elements.

Mission

To detect, deter, and disrupt national security threats to the U.S. and her interests.

Vision

To develop and implement a strategic approach to protecting U.S. national security interests.

Components

There are five components that make up this branch.

Counterintelligence

To identify, understand, and combat threats posed by foreign intelligence services. They investigate foreign intelligence activities within the U.S., targeting both traditional and non-traditional threats using a combination of intelligence and law enforcement techniques to investigate espionage activities.

Terrorism

This is the FBI’s top priority. The help neutralize terrorist cells/operatives in the U.S., help dismantle extremist networks worldwide, and cut off financing and other support. Their overall goal is to eliminate the rise of terrorism, international and domestic, to the U.S and interests abroad.

High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group

This is an interagency group administered by the FBI that brings together personnel from the U.S. Intelligence Community to conduct lawful interrogations. They also serve as the government’s focal point for interrogation best practices, training, and scientific research.

Terrorist Screening Center

Stemming from the 9/11 attacks, it was created in 2003. It maintains the U.S. government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist, which is a single database of identifying information about those suspected or known to be involved in terrorist activity. This watchlist is one of the most effective counterterrorism tools for the U.S. government.

Weapons of Mass Destruction—WMD

Created in 2006, they support a cohesive and coordinated approach to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) material. They focus on outreach, intelligence, operational response, and investigative capabilities.

 

branchesInformation Technology Branch

This branch is composed of three IT divisions:

  • Enterprise Services Division—delivers reliable and effective technology solutions to meet the FBI’s strategic goals and objectives.
  • Applications and Data Division—decrease time to data awareness of available information and make software tools available to the workforce when/where they need it.
  • Infrastructure Division—provides the FBI with IT infrastructure services that are innovative.

Mission

Provide effective IT to the entire FBI in an environment that is consistent with intelligence and law enforcement capabilities, as well as ensure reliability and accessibility by members at every location or at any moment in time.

 

Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch

This branch was created in response to the 9/11 attacks. They are responsible for investigating financial crime, white-collar crime, violent crime, organized crime, public corruption, violations of individual civil rights, and drug related crimes.

They also oversee all computer based crime related to counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal threats against the U.S. This branch deploys FBI agents, analysts, and computer scientists who work in conjunction with other federal, state, and regional agencies.

 

Human Resources Branch

This branch is responsible for all internal human resource needs of the FBI and for conducting the FBI Academy and to train new FBI agents.

The next posts in this series will look at the Intelligence Branch and Part 3 will look at the Science and Technology Branch.

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Spotlight–History of the FBI

fbi

Creation

The Department of Justice was created in 1870 to enforce federal law and coordinate judicial policy. However, there were no permanent investigators on staff. Initially, they hired private detectives when there were federal crimes to investigate and later rented out investigators from other federal agencies. In the early 1900’s, the Attorney General was authorized to hire a few permanent investigators and the Office of the Chief Examiner was created to review financial transactions of the federal courts.

The National Bureau of Criminal Identity, founded in 1896, provided agencies with information identifying known criminals. Due to the assassination of President William McKinley and other crimes at the turn of the century, President Theodore Roosevelt instructed the Attorney General, Charles Bonaparte, to organize an autonomous investigative service. This new service would only report to the Attorney General.

Bonaparte reached out to other agencies, including the Secret Service, for personnel. In May 1908, Congress forbade this use of Treasury employees by the Judicial Department, citing fears that the new agency would serve as a secret police department. President Roosevelt urged Bonaparte and he moved to organize a formal Bureau of Investigation, having its own special agents.

In 1908, the Department of Justice hired 10 former Secret Service employees to join the Office of the Chief Examiner.

Created on July 26, 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was initially known as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI or BI). Its first task was visiting and making surveys at the houses of prostitution in preparation for enforcing the Mann Act—making it a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of “any woman or girl for prostitution of debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”.

By March 1909, the force included 34 agents. The government used the bureau as a tool to investigate criminals who evaded prosecution by passing over state lines. Within a few years, the number of agents had grown to more than 300. Some in Congress, however, feared that its growing authority would lead to abuse of power.

Hoover Becomes Director

bureauWhen the United States entered World War I in 1917, the bureau investigated draft resisters, violators of the Espionage Act of 1917, and immigrants suspected of radicalism. During this time, J. Edgar Hoover—a lawyer and former librarian—joined the DOJ and within two years became the special assistant to the Attorney General.

Hoover was very anti-radical in his ideology and came to the forefront of federal law enforcement during the Red Scare I 1919-1920. He developed an index card system listing every radical leader, organization, and publication in the U.S. By 1921, he had amassed around 450,000 files. More than 10,000 suspected communists were also arrested during this time.

On May 10, 1924, Hoover became acting director of the Bureau of Investigation. During the 1920’s, he drastically restructured and expanded the BOI. The agency became an efficient crime fighting machine and had a centralized fingerprint file, crime lab, and agent training school established.

In the 1930’s, the BOI launched a battle against crime brought on by Prohibition. Many notorious gangsters met their ends while Hoover sat as director and the agency became highly regarded by Congress and the American people. In 1935, the Bureau of Investigation became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

During World War II, Hoover revived anti-espionage techniques developed earlier and domestic wiretaps and other electronic surveillance expanded drastically.

COINTELPRO

In 1956, Hoover initiated COINTELPRO, a secret counterintelligence program that initially targeted the U.S. communist party. It later expanded to infiltrate and disrupt any radical organization in America. During the 1960’s, COINTELPRO targeted the Ku Klux Klan and African American civil rights organizations and liberal anti-war organizations. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a target, enduring systemic harassment from the FBI.

With the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the jurisdiction fell to local police departments until President Lyndon B. Johnson directed the FBI to take over. Congress passed a law in 1965 that clarified the responsibility for investigation of homicides of federal officials. Investigations of such deaths of federal officials, especially by homicide, would fall under FBI jurisdiction.

When Hoover entered service under his eighth president in 1969, the media, public, and Congress began thinking the FBI might be abusing its authority. For the first time in his career, Hoover endured widespread criticism.

Congress passed a law requiring Senate confirmation of future FBI directors and limiting their tenure to 10 years.

The FBI has not been without scandal since then. The Watergate Scandal revealed the FBI illegally protected President Richard Nixon from the investigation, and Congress investigated the FBI.

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