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Federal Bureau of Investigation

Headquarters: J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535
Phone: 202-324-3000
Employees: 35,344
Acting Director: Andrew McCabe

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the investigative arm of the US Department of Justice.

The mission of the FBI is to to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, 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.

The FBI battles a variety of crime including: cybercrimes, white collar and organized crimes, illegal drugs, public corruption and violent crimes.

With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the FBI has 56 field offices located in major cities throughout the U.S., 380 resident agencies in smaller cities and towns across the nation, and more than 60 international offices called "Legal Attaches" in U.S. embassies worldwide.

The FBI has over 35,000 employees.

FBI Headquarters is currently located in the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. 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.

James Comey was sworn in as the seventh Director of the FBI on September 4, 2013.

Comey was fired by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.


On July 26, 1908, Attorney General (AG) Charles J. Bonaparte ordered a small force of permanent investigators (organized a month earlier) to report to the Department of Justice's Chief Examiner, Stanley Finch. AG Bonaparte declared that these investigators would handle all Department of Justice (DOJ) investigative matters, except certain bank frauds. At first, little seemed to come of AG Bonaparte's reorganization.

In 1909, this investigator force was named the Bureau of Investigation (BOI). At this time, it investigated antitrust matters, land fraud, copyright violations, peonage (involuntary slavery), and 20 other matters. Over the next decade, federal criminal authority and Bureau jurisdiction were extended by laws like the 1910 "White-Slave Traffic" Act that put responsibility for interstate prostitution under the Bureau for a time and the 1919 Dyer Act that did the same for interstate auto-theft. US entry into World War I in April 1917 led to further increases in the Bureau's jurisdiction. Congress and President Wilson assigned the BOI's three hundred employees responsibility for espionage, sabotage, sedition, and selective service matters.

In June 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the formation of a Division of Investigation composed of the Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Prohibition. Director J. Edgar Hoover -- first named Director in 1924 -- was appointed Director of Investigation but also remained BOI Director. In the fall of 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed and the Bureau of Prohibition withered and died. Its enforcement functions were ended or dispersed so its agents were transferred or fired; a small number became FBI agents.

In the 1935 Department of Justice appropriation, Congress officially recognized the Division as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI. The name became effective on March 22, 1935, when the President signed the appropriation bill. The agency been known under this name ever since.

Since its creation, the FBI has had only ten Directors.

On October 26, 2001, President George Bush signed into law the US Patriot Act, which granted new provisions to address the threat of terrorism, and Director Robert Mueller accordingly accepted on behalf of the Bureau responsibility for protecting the American people against future terrorist attacks. On May 29, 2002, the Attorney General issued revised investigative guidelines to assist the Bureau's counterterrorism efforts.

Updated May 9, 2017