Throughout its more than 100-year history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has protected the American people from threats to our way of life. As some of our greatest threats—gangsters, public corruption, hate crimes, cyber attacks, white-collar fraud, and terrorism—have evolved, the FBI has changed to meet them head-on.
The Bureau’s success has always depended on its agility, its willingness to adapt, and the ongoing dedication of its personnel. But in the years since the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, the pace of change has been unprecedented. The FBI has adapted to globalization and new technologies. We have developed new capabilities to fight international criminal organizations, sophisticated cyber criminals, fraud that undermines the economy, foreign spies seeking to steal vital secrets and technologies, and terrorists working to commit mass murder.
It is no longer sufficient to investigate crimes after they occur. The stakes are too high and the dangers too great. The FBI must be more predictive and preventive than at any time in its history. We continue to conduct investigations to bring criminals to justice, but we also use an intelligence-driven approach to prevent crimes and acts of terrorism by disrupting and deterring those who would do us harm. Acting within clearly defined constitutional, legal, and policy boundaries, the FBI conducts investigations to build knowledge and develop insight that will provide early warning, direct operations, create opportunities to further cases, and inform national security policymakers.
The FBI’s culture emphasizes strong teamwork and collaboration among colleagues, other government agencies, law enforcement partners, and citizens’ organizations. By working together to effectively share important information and intelligence and reduce bureaucratic obstacles, we move closer to our goal of security for all Americans.
In our second century, the FBI must continue to stand up to the challenge to protect the American people from complex threats in an increasingly interconnected world. As the only member of the U.S. Intelligence Community with broad authority over acts on U.S. soil, it is our duty to protect all Americans by staying ahead of national security threats to the homeland, acting at all times with obedience to the Constitution and with fairness, compassion, integrity, and respect.
Robert S. Mueller, III