What Does the FBI Investigate?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the most powerful law enforcement organization in the United States. The FBI is an intelligence-based agency focused on national security and interstate crime. They investigate a full range of crimes from terrorist threats to retail theft. In addition, the FBI provides support and leadership to international, federal, state and local agencies.
While the FBI focuses on all crimes that pose a national threat or operate across two or more states, they have a tenfold list of priorities. The top three priorities are to protect the U.S. from terrorist activity, foreign intelligence operatives and high-technology crimes. The crimes investigated by the FBI fall into one of the major categories listed below.
Terrorism. Protecting the country from terrorist attacks is the top priority of the FBI. Investigative capabilities are combined with intelligence to break up terrorist cells operating within the United States.
Counterintelligence. Nearly all major powers of the world employ spies, and the FBI investigates espionage activity occurring in the United States.
Cybercrime. Digital technology and the Internet now play a major role in commercial and consumer activity. Cyber-based crimes include terrorism, hacking, child pornography and fraud.
Public corruption. Public corruption has always been a threat to national security and all U.S. residents. These crimes may affect the quality of schools, transportation networks and government services.
Civil rights. Civil rights violations have followed society into the 21st century, and the FBI does all it can to stop them.
Organized crime. Organized crime once referred only to the Mafia — today, organized crime is perpetrated by dozens of internal and international organizations.
White collar crime. White collar crime is associated with the highest levels of theft and fraud. Millions of people can be affected by a single white collar criminal and billions of dollars lost in a single white collar crime.
Violent crime and major thefts. The FBI plays a key role in the investigation of major thefts and violent crime, including bank robberies, kidnapping and murder, especially those crimes that cross state lines, landing them solidly in federal jurisdiction.