The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is charged with more than we see in the high speed, high profile television shows and films. The FBI investigates terrorism, counter intelligence, cyber crime, public corruption, civil rights, hate crimes, organized crime, white collar crime, major thefts and violent crimes. The agency works on parental and other kidnappings, serial killings, color of law abuses by law enforcement officers, sex offenders, cyber scams and fraud schemes, too.
Also, in addition to maintaining its famous "most wanted list", the FBI fields input from thousands citizens who may either have important information that could help or who are seeking attention for other reasons.
Internet, Artificial intelligence and Archiving:
Because of the volume and spread of activities that are especially supported by documentation, command, control and communication and evidence, one important issue for the FBI is everything related to high volume archiving, the internet and artificial intelligence. This includes data storage and retrieval, secure and reliable communications, information sharing and information security.
As a result, the FBI must handle records, individual's files, evidence, contact and surveillance and statistics while complying with both the Freedom of Information Act, individual rights to privacy and national or case security!
While the latest movies and television shows display the latest and greatest in computing, security and web toys, government hardware and software must be budgeted, maintained and managed under the relatively complex and strict rules of government procurement and logistics programs, making such toys less comprehensively available in real life as they are in fiction.
Rights to privacy and oversight in search and investigations:
Since the passage of the Patriot Act, Americans world citizens have become gravely concerned about the unprecedented secrecy, power, legal and physical tools and lee ways that are still available to the FBI in investigating all citizens. These powers and tools came at a cost of vastly increased public complaint and scrutiny of issues in human frailty, flaws and faults. Such issues are on the minds of the public and there is no end to the possibilities for abuse by employees, agents and specialists in the FBI.
As a result, the FBI walks a fine line between public fears, scrutiny, oversight and opinion and doing what needs to be done either to investigate prosecute new types of criminals or to identify and respond to new forms of criminal behavior.
New science and new problems:
With such technologies as DNA analysis and comparison, fingerprint technology, polygraph examinations, handwriting analysis and facial recognition systems, come challenges to those technologies by defense attorneys and the public. Not one of these technologies is free of criticism and real examples of erroneous results or mismanagement. When mismanagement or convincing challenges to the veracity of results occurs, then hundreds, if not thousands of civil and criminal cases can be jeopardized.
As a result, while it would be nice to believe that DNA, fingerprint and other new technologies can end any questions, this is not always true, and the FBI is as much under the gun as any other law enforcement agency in using these technologies under the strictest rules of control and protocol in order to prove their case.
Sheer volume, variety, global nature, complexity and increases in crime:
In just one week, the FBI News describes major milestones in cases of bankruptcy fraud, civil rights violations by a law enforcer, a cross burning, a 9 million US dollars investment scam, twelve members of the Bloods gang indicted, murder, bank robbery and some Moldavian and Uzbek men involved in forced labor racketeering, among a host of other cases!
Imagine having to find someone who can deal with Moldavian and Uzbek language, culture and community in order to investigate a criminal matter. Factor in organized and other crimes involving almost every ethnic group on the planet and this should give an idea of the challenges that face the FBI, even if they are armed with super powers by the Patriot Act.
Increasing political, social and racial tensions:
The recent boldness in comments, threats and calls for action by extremist groups and political extremists is going result in increased and organized hate crimes, color of law abuses, attacks on reproductive health clinics and even problems at the borders if self appointed "border enforcers" begin to go beyond their limits. The FBI must monitor and investigate a host of new and possible problems and crimes related to increased racial, social, religious, economic and political tensions throughout the world.
The FBI has to deal with its role within a structure and hierarchy of Federal, state and local law enforcement and investigation agencies that can often conflict, interfere and clash with each other. In many of the new and challenging forms of criminal and civil crime, several agencies might be involved.
There is a need to deal with all three branches of government as well as all branches of the armed forces. With billions in annual budgets and tens of thousands of employees, contractors and specialists, there is every form of normal government personnel management issue, with the added personnel issues that come from working for such a unique organization.
Fortunately, the FBI is not under the organizational control of the Homeland Security agency, but there are still complicated issues of coordination, conflict and organizational crossover in dealing with national and international cases that fall under even a hint of having national security or terrorist connections.
In summary, the FBI has a huge, complex, challenging and complicated role in law enforcement that has never existed before. With serious accusations that range from acting as "Big Brother" to mismanaging investigations and cases, the FBI operates in an environment of conflicting opinions. One citizen, alone, can have conflicting opinions because the FBI has also proved to be trustworthy and successful in taking a lot of dangerous or harmful criminals out of society and bringing them to justice.