Knowing Your Government: Understanding Who The FBI Reports To And What They Do

Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

The FBI’s mandate is established in Title 28 of the United States Code (U.S. Code), Section 533, which authorizes the Attorney General to “appoint officials to detect and prosecute crimes against the United States.”

A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.

Currently, the FBI’s top priorities are:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attacks,
  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, and
  10. Upgrade technology to enable, and further, the successful performances of its missions as stated above.

The FBI is organized into functional branches and the Office of the Director, which contains most administrative offices. An executive assistant director manages each branch. Each branch is then divided into offices and divisions, each headed by an assistant director.

Information obtained through an FBI investigation is presented to the appropriate U.S. Attorney or Department of Justice official, who decides if prosecution or other action is warranted.

Four of the branches report to the deputy director while two report to the associate director. The functions branches of the FBI are:

  • FBI Intelligence Branch
  • FBI National Security Branch
  • FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch
  • FBI Science and Technology Branch
  • FBI Information and Technology Branch
  • FBI Human Resources Branch
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