On March 23rd, 2010, I attended my first session of the FBI Citizens' Academy. I was quite excited and the experience was everything I hoped it would be.
Fair warning, I am going to sound like an FBI fan boy in these posts and there are several reasons for this.
- The agents I have met through my association with Infragard and, now, with the Academy are truly dedicated men and women who go above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts to fulfill the FBI's mandates.
- Not only are they dedicated, but they are great people! Would you give up 7 evenings to tell a group of people what and why you do what you do? I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making so that I can learn more about how the FBI works.
- By no means the last reason, but the FBI does some really cool stuff and I get to learn about it directly from the people who are in the trenches. Very very nifty.
History of the FBI
The session began with Weyson Dunn, Special Agent in Charge of the of the Omaha Division of the FBI, giving us a brief history of the FBI. The first thing he talked about was the heraldry of the FBI seal. Heraldry is a fascinating topic and we learned the meaning of each facet of the seal. If you hover your mouse over the image below, you will see annotations that describe the meaning of each part of the seal.
Here are a few of tidbits about the FBI that I thought were interesting:
- Although the organization was established in 1908, it did not become officially known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation until 1935.
- The Director of the FBI is limited to serving a 10 year term. This limit was established after the tenure of J. Edgar Hoover to ensure that there would never again be a lifelong Director.
- The Director of the FBI, while appointed by a sitting President when necessary, cannot be removed by one. In other words, the Director's position does not change with the administration.
- In the '30s, with the increase of the gangster threat, the FBI was given broader cross-jurisdictional powers and began providing services to other law enforcement agencies. Those services include a centralized Identification Lab and a Technical Crime lab.
- The '40s and '50s brought the threat of subversion and the branching out of the FBI into foreign investigation. The FBI actually preceded the CIA in gathering foreign intelligence.
- The '60s brought civil rights as the focal point.
- The '70s and '80s were dominated by white collar crime and currently, counter intelligence is a primary focus.
If you are curious about more history of the FBI, take a look at this page.
Mission and Priorities
The FBI has a clearly articulated mission and well defined priorities. From the FBI Quick Facts page:
The FBI's mission is:
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 currently has 10 priorities. They are:
1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack
2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
4. Combat public corruption at all levels
5. Protect civil rights
6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
7. Combat major white-collar crime
8. Combat significant violent crime
9. Support federal, state, local and international partners
10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission
We will be covering each of the these priorities in the weeks to come and get to do some other cool things like hostage negotiation role playing and shooting FBI weaponry.
We had two more sessions after S.A.C Dunn finished his opening remarks and they were also fascinating. Look for part 2 of the week 1 synopsis soon.
If you have any questions you would like me to ask while at the sessions or have any comments, please leave them below or email me. My contact info is on the About page.