Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (abbreviated FBI) is an executive organization of the United States government that investigates federal offenses.
They have jurisdiction on over 200 categories of federal crimes. The FBI is an agency within the Department of Justice. Other than its role enforcing criminal law, the FBI serves as an internal intelligence agency, gathering intelligence on people inside the United States. While the average stoner will probably never run into the FBI, their existence can exacerbate drug-fueled paranoia.
 Domestic Activity
The FBI's legal authority is established in Title 28 of United States Code (section 533) which authorizes the Attorney General to "appoint officials to detect ... crimes against the United States". The main domestic role of the FBI is to protect the United States from terrorism, foreign intelligence threats, to enforce federal criminal law, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to other agencies and partners. In statements made to congress, the FBI gave these as their top priorities.
- Protect the United States from terrorist attack;
- Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage;
- Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes;
- Combat public corruption at all levels;
- Protect civil rights
- Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises (organized crime);
- Combat major white collar crime;
- Combat significant violent crime;
- Upgrade technology for successful performance of the FBI's mission.
While the top categories of lead criminal charges resulting from FBI investigations are (as of August 2007)
- Bank robbery and incidental crimes (107 charges)
- Drugs (104 charges)
- Attempt and conspiracy (81 charges)
- Material involving sexual exploitation of minors (53 charges)
- Mail frauds - frauds and swindles (51 charges)
- Bank fraud (31 charges)
- Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses (22 charges)
- Fraud by wire, radio, or television (20 charges)
- Hobbs Act (17 charges)
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)-prohibited activities (17 charges)
 International Activity
The FBI's authority and duties overseas are extremely limited, despite the fact that the FBI has 50 international offices overseas, called "legal attaches", located in US embassies.
Although the FBI is usually favorably portrayed by popular media, there have been dozens of extreme controversies surrounding the FBI and its tactics.
 Media, Pennsylvania
In 1971, thieves broke into the FBI residence office in Media, Pennsylvania; the thieves took secret documents and files and distributed them to a range of newspapers. The files documented FBI investigations into individuals, college students, a black student group at a local military college, the daughter of a congressman from Wisonsin, and more. The documents also hinted that the FBI had (possibly illegally) wiretapped dozens of phone lines, including the phones of legislators and members of congress.
 The Trilogy Project
In 2000, the FBI began what was called the Trilogy Project, to update its hopelessly outdated information technology infrastructure. The project was projected to take 3 years and cost approximately $380 million, but instead dragged on for 5 years and going massively over budget before the FBI ultimately abandoned the project, leaving its IT infrastructure only partially updated and persistently useless. During the project, efforts to deploy modern computers and networking equipment were generally successful, but attempts to develop new investigation software, outsourced to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), was a total disaster. The software developed, Virtual Case File (VCF) was plagued by dozens of problems, most caused by repeated changes in management and poorly defined goals. In 2005 the FBI admitted defeat and resumed using its decade old and extremely antiquated technology. In 2005, the FBI announced it was beginning a new, more ambitious software upgrade to be completed in 2009 code named Sentinel.
 National Security Letters
In 2007, the inspector general of the Department of Justice released a report criticizing the FBI for "widespread and serious misuse" of national security letters. National security letters are essentially administrative subpoenas which are used to acquire data and records pertaining to specific individuals. National security letters require no judicial oversight to issue and require no probable cause to issue. The inspector general's report asserted that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI had issued over 140,000 such letters, most of which were directed at people with no apparent connections to terrorism.
 Bullet-Lead Analysis
Since the 1960s, the FBI's crime lab has asserted that the lead in bullets has unique chemical signatures, which could be broken down and analyzed. The crime lab asserted that it was so good at analyzing these alleged signatures that it could identify not only which factory produced a particular bullet, but that they could identify the exact box of ammo a specific bullet was bought in. This assertion was considered fact for decades and was used in court testimony in thousands of cases, many times it was the only hard evidence available to convict suspects, or it was one of the major pieces of evidence. Unfortunately for prosecutors everywhere, the National Academy of Sciences conducted an 18 month rigorous and independent review of comparative bullet-lead analysis; in 2003 the Academy released a report calling the method used by the FBI lab deeply flawed and stated that the conclusion that a bullet could be matched to a single box of bullets is so overstated it is patently misleading under the rules of evidence. In 2004 the FBI decided to stop using bullet-lead comparative analysis. This means that every time this method was used in testimony at trial, the jury was being misled. The US government (and the FBI) have a legal obligation to inform defendants of any information that could help prove their innocence. Unfortunately, only the FBI knows which cases have been tainted by this method. Surprisingly, the FBI has been hesitant to release this information.