Like most people, you have undoubtedly heard of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more commonly known as the “FBI.” Thanks to their frequent role in Hollywood blockbusters and New York Times bestsellers, you may also have a fairly good idea of what role the FBI plays in the nation’s law enforcement system; however, in the event you are ever made aware that a FBI agent wishes to speak to you, it may be helpful to have a bit more information than what you have learned from movies or books. Specifically, you may wish to know the answer to the most important question — “What crimes does the FBI usually investigate?”
As the names implies, the FBI is a federal law enforcement agency operating under the U.S. Department of Justice. The FBI’s focus is domestic, meaning they primarily concentrate on illegal activities that occur within the nation’s borders. The FBI’s three national security priorities and five criminal priorities are what determine the types of crimes the bureau investigates.
The national security priorities include:
1. Counterintelligence – although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other related “alphabet” agencies are the nation’s primary intelligence gathering and espionage agencies, the FBI investigates the domestic side, including counter-espionage, economic espionage, and counter-proliferation.
2. Cyber-Crimes – on the 21st century, cyber-crimes are by far the fastest growing category of crimes in the U.S. and the world in general. By their very nature, cyber-crimes, such as identity theft, wire fraud, and “hacking”, usually cross state lines, if not international borders, making the FBI the better choice to investigate them.
3. Terrorism — acts or threats of both national and international terrorism as well as weapons of mass destruction fall within the purview of the FBI.
The FBI’s five criminal priorities include:
1. Civil rights – crimes such as hate crimes, sex rings, and human trafficking fall within the FBI’s purview.
2. Organized crime – organized crime has long been around in the United States. Years ago it was the Italian mafia (think “The Godfather”) that ran entire areas of major cities. Today, organized crime still exists, whether it’s the Russian, Columbian, or Irish “mafia” doesn’t really matter. It they qualify as organized crime figures the FBI is in charge of investigating them.
3. Public corruption – this covers both fraud in the election process and fraud within the government itself.
4. White collar crime – corporate fraud, insider trading, money laundering and antitrust crimes are just a few examples of offenses investigated by the “white collar” section of the F.B.I.
5. Violent crimes and major theft – kidnapping and crimes against children are examples of “violent crimes” the FBI might investigate. Likewise, thefts of high ticket items such as valuable artwork from a museum might also bring in the FBI.
If you have been notified that the FBI has you under investigation, or wants to talk to you about an ongoing investigation, it is always in your best interest to confer with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.