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Federal Bureau of Investigation: History

The Contemporary F.b.i.

In May 1987, William Webster left the F.B.I. to become director of the CIA and Williams Sessions became the new director of the F.B.I. With the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, national security matters were less of a concern. In 1992, the F.B.I. reassigned three hundred special agents from foreign counterintelligence duties to violent crime investigations across the country. At the same time, the F.B.I. laboratory began using DNA technology in solving crimes (and prosecuting suspects).

Following controversial and allegedly politically-motivated allegations of ethics misconduct, Director Sessions was removed from office in July 1993. Shortly after, Louis Freeh was appointed director of the F.B.I. Director Freeh was viewed as an ambitious reformer with high ethical character. With Freeh, the F.B.I. continued its commitment to hire and promote more women and minorities. It is also during this time that the work of the Behavioral Science Unit of the Bureau became an infamous—psychological profiling of suspects based on their crimes (particularly serial homicide) became very well known—but little understood—activity of the bureau. The authority of the F.B.I. into other matters continued to expand as well. For example, in 1996 the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Economic Espionage Act were passed by Congress. These new statutes enabled the F.B.I. to significantly strengthen its ability to investigate health care fraud and the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, respectively. Other emerging areas of responsibility today include the investigation of crimes involving the Internet, including so-called cyber attacks against businesses and governmental agencies.

Additional topics

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.