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When the Federal Bureau of Investigation was created, it was to make sure people followed federal law and judicial policy, they had no investigators on the staff that were going to be permanent to the team. When it was first established in 1906, it hired private detectives when they needed federal crimes investigated and later paid other investigators from other federal agencies to work for them for a small period of time, such as the Secret Service, which was established by the Department of the Treasury to investigate counterfeiting money. At the beginning of the 20th century, the attorney general was allowed to hire a few investigators that would be permanent and could stay with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Chief Examiner, which consisted mostly of accountants, who of which were created to review financial transactions of the federal courts.
Seeking to form a more independent and more efficient investigative team, in 1908 the Department of Justice hired ten former Secret Service employees to join an expanded Office of the Chief Examiner. “The force included 34 agents, and Attorney General George Wickersham, renamed it the Bureau of Investigation.” (History Channel) The federal government used the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a tool to put criminals who evaded prosecution by passing over state lines under investigation and possibly to land them in jail, within a few years the number of agents had grown to over more than 300. The agency was opposed by some, who feared that its growing authority could lead to abuse of power. “With the entry of the United States into World War I, the bureau was given responsibility in investigating draft resisters, violators of the Espionage Act of 1917, and immigrants suspected of radicalism” (History Channel).
During the 1920s, when congress approved it, Director Hoover dramatically remade and expanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He built it into an efficient crime fighting machine, establishing a central fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for new agents. In the 1930s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a battle against the epidemic of organized crime brought on by Prohibition. Notorious gangsters such as George Kelly and John Dillinger came to an end, while others, like Louis Buchalter, were successfully investigated and prosecuted by Hoover’s special agents. “Hoover, who had a good eye for public relations, he participated in a number of these publicized arrests, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as it was known after 1935, became highly regarded by Congress and the American public.” (History Channel).
With the event of World War II, Hoover revived the anti spying techniques he had developed during the first Red Scare that the United States had, and domestic wiretaps and other electronic surveillance expanded by a lot. After World War II, Hoover focused on the threat of radical espionage. The Federal Bureau of Investigation compiled files on millions of Americans suspected of suspicious activity. When Hoover started his eighth presidential terms in 1969, everyone including Congress had grown suspicious that the FBI might be abusing its authority. For the first time in his career, Hoover endured widespread criticism, and Congress responded by passing laws requiring Senate confirmation of future Federal Bureau of Investigation directors and limiting their time to 10 years. On May 2, 1972, with the Watergate Scandal about to be all over the national stage, J. Edgar Hoover sadly passed away from heart disease at the age of 77.When the police realized that the Watergate break in was a burglary like no other, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had jumped on the case. The timing that happened could have not been any worse though. It hasn’t even been 5 weeks since Hoover, which was the only director that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has ever had, passed away.
“For years, criticism of the Bureau and Hoover had been building. There was dissatisfaction with Hoover’s age, increasing political disagreement over the Bureau’s tactics and techniques, and widespread unease over the chaos and violence of the late 1960s.” (FBI). When the watergate scandal was going down, the Federal Bureau of Investigation faced political pressure from the White House and even from within its own walls Acting Director, who at the time was Patrick Grey. “Throughout, a high-ranking official dubbed “Deep Throat” and ultimately identified in 2005 as FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt was leaking investigative information to the press.” (FBI). Federal Bureau of Investigation agents rigorously investigated the crime and traced its roots, working closely with the special prosecutor’s office created by the Attorney General. Nearly every Bureau field office was involved in the case. Agents prepared countless reports. “The FBI Laboratory and Identification Division also lent their services. In the end, the Bureau’s contributions to unraveling the Watergate saga were invaluable.” (FBI)Metal chunks and fragments from the blown up plane started raining down on the small town of Lockerbie and the surrounding countryside. The wing and fuel tanks had the worst impacts; their high-speed impact estimated at 500 miles an hour, wiped out a string of homes in Lockerbie. The destruction was more than 150 feet and creating a giant ball of fire that was so hot that it instantly incinerated 11 men, women, and children. “Within minutes of the mid air explosion, debris and human remains were scattered across some 845 square miles of Scotland.” (FBI)Since 1906 the Federal Bureau of Investigation has grown from a small agency that didn’t even have permanent agents at the beginning of its creation, to one of the largest and most well known agencies there is today. It has has many cases other than the two I talked about on my essay. It has had its ups and downs, people doubted the Federal Bureau of Investigation at times for helping out the wrong people. But in the end it is still a great agency and in my opinion one of the best there is.
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