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Federal Bureau of Investigation: History

In The Aftermath Of Hoover

With additional details of the COINTELPRO files made public in 1973, Congress established committees to investigate the intelligence community. During the course of the hearings, the process of internal F.B.I. reform was continued. In the spring of 1976 the new director, Clarence Kelley, terminated most domestic security investigations. Later, in 1976, the Justice Department issued guidelines aimed at regulating future F.B.I. domestic intelligence activities. These guidelines restricted the circumstances under which domestic security investigations could be initiated, limited the techniques that could be used, and restrained the bureau in its use of informants.

In 1978 Kelly was replaced with William Webster. In 1982, following an increase in terrorist activities abroad, Webster made counterterrorism a top F.B.I. priority. The F.B.I. was involved in numerous espionage cases during the mid-1980s—so many that the press dubbed 1985 "the year of the spy." Throughout the 1980s, the F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement agencies also devoted substantial attention and resources to the illegal drug trade. In 1982 the attorney general gave the F.B.I. concurrent jurisdiction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over narcotics violations in the U.S. This increase in attention lead to numerous well-publicized drug seizures and arrests, and led to the dismantling of significant drug rings. Webster also gave increased investigative priority to white collar crimes and public corruption. High-profile investigations on this front included ABSCAM (an investigation of corruption among congressmen) and GREYLORD (an investigation of corruption in the Cook County Illinois court system).

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawFederal Bureau of Investigation: History - Before The Beginning Of The F.b.i., The Beginning Of The F.b.i.