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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a glance

The FBI's investigative philosophy also emphasizes close relations and information sharing with other federal, state, local and international law enforcement and intelligence agencies

Compton Herald | FBI
FBI Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC). Photo: FBI.gov

What you didn’t know about FBI organizational structure and investigative jurisdiction

Most Americans undoubtedly are unaware of the jurisdictional nuances of America’s most visible federal law enforcement and intelligence agency.

This should shed some light on why the FBI is tasked with investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential race and possible collusion with the Trump presidential campaign.

Organizational Structure and Budget: The FBI is a field-oriented organization in which nine divisions and three offices at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., provide program direction and support services to 56 field offices, approximately 400 satellite offices known as resident agencies, four specialized field installations, and 23 foreign liaison posts. The foreign liaison offices, each of which is headed by a Legal Attache or Legal Liaison Officer, work abroad with American and local authorities on criminal matters within FBI jurisdiction.

The FBI has approximately 10,100 special agents and 13,700 other employees who perform professional, administrative, technical, clerical, craft, trade or maintenance operations. Approximately 7,300 employees are assigned to FBI head quarters, and about 16,000 are assigned to field installations.

The FBI’s total annual funding for all operations, salaries, and expenses is roughly $2.2 billion.

Investigative Jurisdiction of the FBI: The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies. Therefore, it has adopted a strategic approach which stresses long-term, complex investigations.

The FBI’s investigative philosophy also emphasizes close relations and information sharing with other federal, state, local and international law enforcement and intelligence agencies. A significant number of FBI investigations are conducted in concert with other law enforcement agencies or as part of joint task forces.

The FBI has divided its investigations into seven programs:

  • Applicant Matters
  • Civil Rights
  • Counterterrorism
  • Foreign Counterintelligence
  • Organized Crime/Drugs
  • Violent Crimes and Major Offenders
  • Financial Crime

These programs represent the FBI’s responsibility as assigned by law. Individual cases in a particular program may receive extensive investigative attention because of their size, potential impact, or sensitivity.

Investigations are conducted within the Attorney General‘s Guidelines which pertain to racketeering enterprises, general criminal investigations, undercover operations, criminal information matters, extraterritorial investigations, and domestic security/terrorism matters.

The Guidelines afford centralized direction, which allows for greater uniformity and control of national and international law enforcement efforts.

Some sensitive investigative methods, such as undercover activities and electronic surveillance, are subject to specific review and approval procedures.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.


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