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January 21, 2014 > Investigate the FBI

Investigate the FBI

By Steve Taylor

The best mid-day wake-up method isnÕt another cup of coffee, splashing water on your face or an energy drink. ItÕs pulling the buzzing phone out of your pocket and seeing ÒFEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONÓ on your caller ID. It was Peter Lee, Public Affairs Specialist in the San Francisco Division to answer some questions about the upcoming event at the Fremont Main Library. ÒThe presentation is just an overview of the BureauÕs mission, what we do and what we donÕt do. And itÕs more of a question and answer session. I like to let the audience guide the discussion,Ó said Lee. Now thatÕs a responsive public servant!

With the mission Òto protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States,Ó the FBI investigates spies, terrorists, hackers, pedophiles, mobsters, gang leaders, serial killers, and many more. The Bureau is broken into five branches, including Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch; Human Resources Branch; Information and Technology Branch; National Security Brach; and Science and Technology Branch. There are field offices around the country with four located here in California: Sacramento, LA, San Diego and, of course, San Francisco.

The FBI started in 1908 during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt under the name Bureau of Investigation (BOI). Altered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, the organization enforced liquor laws through the ÒlawlessÓ years of the Ô30s, then changed to investigate foreign saboteurs during World War II. The FBIÕs golden years were the Ô50s and Ô60s when J. Edgar Hoover gathered so much power and famously kept files on everyone from President Kennedy to John Lennon, running the FBI like a shadow government. After 9/11, the FBIÕs mandate changed when the U.S. Patriot Act granted new laws to address the threat of terrorism. The Bureau accepted their new responsibility for protecting the American people against future terrorist attacks by countering foreign intelligence operations against the U.S., and addressing cybercrime-based attacks and other high-technology crimes.

At ÒInside the FBIÓ on Tuesday, January 28, anyone can come and find out the techniques and methods they use and ask questions of real FBI agents. ÒThe Alameda County Library asked for it, and weÕre happy to help people understand what we do,Ó said Lee. An East Bay native, Lee says he did Òprobably 50 public presentations last yearÓ and said people love to talk about Òhot callsÓ or late-breaking local busts. Virtually no question is off-limits in the presentation and he handled the hardball, ÒDo you have to wear a fedora?Ó query with aplomb. ÒNo, but I do wear a suit every day,Ó deadpanned Lee. That iconic hat made famous in the ÒFBIÓ TV series of the Ô60s and Ô70s is basically extinct, but how often do you have a chance to ask a real FBI guy anything you want?

When asked if the FBI gets confused with the National Security Agency (NSA) with the public worried about their phone calls getting tapped, Lee said, ÒWe refer all those questions to our National center in Washington.Ó Whoa. That one deserves a follow-up question. But thatÕs your job, citizen.

Inside the FBI
Tuesday, Jan 28
7 p.m.
Fremont Main Library
Fukaya A Room
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(510) 745-1401

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