Together with all these achievements and progress recorded by the FBI in its early years, there were occasionally allegation of digression from major espionages and crimes. FBI allegedly indulged itself in controversial issues such as probing the affairs of the civil right activists. Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. , Dr T. R. M Howard became the focal point of FBI’s surveillance.
During this period, FBI was unable to crack some major murder cases such as the killing of George W.Lee and some other black Americans. Rather than concentrating on major crimes, FBI investigated and upset the activities of political organizations in the United States including non-violent political and civil right groups. Amongst this is the popular Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Unfortunately, many of these individuals and groups could not be connected with any crime, the FBI was even alleged to indulge in blackmail in netting some of its victims.
A journalist once claimed that an anonymous letter was sent to Luther King by FBI, advising him to commit suicide. Several individuals have been said to be on the record of FBI, for it investigates and files the record of virtually all the top celebrities and rich man in the United State irrespective of the sphere of life the individual operates in. From the celebrities in the entertainment industry to politicians, academicians and lots more, the FBI has a thoroughly researched document on them all.
Among these individuals are: Elvis Presley, the Famous Musician, Walt Disney’s founder, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, John Lennon, Jane Fonda, Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, MC5, Lou Costello, Sonny Bono, Bob Dylan, Mickey Mantle, to mention only but a few. (Douglas,2007 ) Such were the activities of the FBI until the murder of John F. Kennedy. The task and responsibility of investigating the killing of the president of the United State was too enormous for the local police, hence, the new president instructed the FBI to take over the case.
This development led to the congress passing a law to back this development up. Therefore, thereafter, the FBI handled all homicides at such level. Till date, FBI has been in charge of investigation of murder of all federal officials. This killing of Kennedy could be said to revive the FBI, for soon after the killing the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act” (RICO ACT) was enacted, which enabled the FBI to dig into organized crimes networks.
(Timeline of FBI History)The bureau investigated the popular crime syndicates and families that were fast becoming the brain behind all major crimes in large cities and small towns too. Today, the RICO Act is still used for all organized crime. From1910 to 1996 the congress kept coming up with different types of laws that increasingly focused on and regulated the activities of both individual and organizations, laws regulating political, personal and economic activities of all and sundry. This increasingly regulation kept on bestowing more power to the FBI.
Its responsibilities were redefined to include areas that were exclusively left for local law enforcement agents. Not only was the bureau allowed to handle cases of bank robbery, theft, fraud, gambling etc. The federal laws further empowered the FBI when some laws were enacted that narrowed the scope of privacy right by defining distribution of obscene literatures, migration across state line to indulge in non-marital sexual acts and even speeches and association that threatens the existence of the United State or promotes or protects any foreign interest as criminal.
Overly, the FBI was empowered to investigate any individual’s or organization’s activity that is political in nature. These reports serve as intelligence report to the presidency, State, justice, war department and other federal agencies. The bureau does not only help alert and curb crimes, it also helps in implementing loyalty in among federal workers. The bureau is also saddled with the responsibility of disseminating information for the purpose of influencing the public opinion and reducing the powers and influence of political activists.
This information dissemination authority was given to the bureau in 1940s and in 1950s, it was further refined into cognate programs. (Douglas,2007) The 1984 Olympic brought another major development in the FBI. (End of cold war,www. fib. com). The bureau formed a unit of selected agents to assist with curbing the major crimes and terrorism that could arise at the 1984 Olympics. This development was necessary when Athletes from Israel were murdered by terrorists. This team was given the name Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) which later became the SWAT.
Again, 1984 the computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) was formed. After the cold war, terrorism was reduced tremendously, this consequently reduced the task of the FBI, hence agents of the bureau were assigned the responsibility of tailing fugitives who have escaped and crossed state lines. In the 1990s, over 300 agents resigned due to fewer activities in the FBI. (End of cold war,www. fib. com) In 1993, the first bombing of the world trade centre jolted the FBI to intensify its anti-terrorism roles.
The bombing in Oklahoma in 1995 further ensured FBI’s alert on terrorism and this new alertness led to the arrest of the “Unabomber” in 1996. All three cases were logically concluded due to the technological advancement and skills of the FBI. By this time, the FBI laboratory was quite equipped, but the “Communication Assistance for Law Enforcement Act” in 1994(CALEA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPA) and “Economic Espionage Act” (EEA) both in 1996 further enabled the advancement in technology of the FBI.
An investigation department that concerns itself primarily on investigating computer virus and other list of dangerous things that can be cause disaster in the United States was enacted. This enabled the FBI to yet intensify on its electronic Surveillance in general public’s safety and United State’s security. Yet another re-structuring experienced by the FBI was soon after the second bombing of the World Trade Centre on September 11. The FBI director then, quickly called a re-structuring of the FBI’s operations. This development saw the bureau giving every federal crime paramount attention.
Since then, terrorism prevention, countering foreign intelligence and espionage, attending to high technology crime and cyber threat, upholding civil right and combating corruption and other major miscellaneous crime has been the pre-occupation of the FBI. To date, FBI has made millions of major investigations that have helped to nap several criminals across the globe. It has also helped curbed several billions in economic loses. Lately, in 2008 precisely, it made over 55 arrests across the globe in connection with its two-year old undercover operation on the crime forum also known as the “Dark Market” (Timeline of FBI History).