The Federal Bureau of Investigation, more commonly known by the acronym FBI, is the principal investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Title 28, United States Code (U.S. Code), Section 533, which authorizes the Attorney General to "appoint officials to detect...crimes against the United States," and other federal statutes give the FBI the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes. At present, the FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal 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 United States Constitution.
Information obtained through an FBI investigation is presented to the appropriate U. S. Attorney or DOJ official, who decides if prosecution, or other action, is warranted. Top priority has been assigned to the five areas that affect society the most: counterterrorism, drugs/organized crime, foreign counterintelligence, violent crimes, and white-collar crimes.
"The FBI originated from a force of Special Agents created in 1908 by Attorney General Charles Bonaparte during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt..."
- J. Edgar Hoover - Director from 1924 until his death in 1972
- Acting directors - L. Patrick Gray, 1972-73, and William Ruckelshaus in 1973.
- Clarence M. Kelley (1973-1978)
- William H. Webster (1978-1987)
- William S. Sessions (1987-1993)
- Louis Freeh (1993 - 2001) - stepped down after serving eight years of a 10-year term
- Robert Mueller (2001- ) - confirmed by a Senate vote of 98-0. A former US Attorney for the Northern District of California.