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Kevin Smith, FBI public affairs officer, speaks to Waconia Lions (Al Lohman/The Patriot)

The FBI was at the Waconia Lions Club last Wednesday evening.

It wasn’t a sting or criminal investigation. The bureau’s public affairs officer Kevin Smith from its Minneapolis division was a guest speaker at the Lions’ June 26 meeting.

Smith said the Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly responds to speaker requests from community groups and organizations to “de-mystify the FBI to the public.”

At the Lions meeting, Smith traced the evolution of the FBI and “dispelled a few myths” about the organization.

The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, or BI for short. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935.

As big cities grew at the beginning of the 20th century, crime did too, and the bureau’s first charge was to fight organized crime, growing violence, and increasing corruption in politics and big business.

As the winds of the first world war blew around the globe, the FBI’s role evolved to protect the homeland from both domestic subversion and international espionage and sabotage.

In 1924, a young Edgar Hoover was appointed FBI director. He would serve almost half a century, Smith noted.

Under Hoover, the bureau became more professional. Hoover laid down a strict code of conduct for agents and the FBI developed many crime fighting techniques such as fingerprinting, the nation’s first crime lab and a fugitive list, or “most wanted” list.

Later in the century, the FBI’s priorities grew further, addressing civil rights violations, white collar crime and terrorism. Terrorist threats and attacks continue in the 21st century, notably the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and have broadened to include cyberattacks on information systems. Another growing criminal concern, Smith said, is human trafficking.

Through all of its growing and changing roles, Smith said the FBI remains true to its motto: Fidelity, bravery and integrity.

During his Waconia visit, Smith also corrected a few myths about the FBI.

1.While the FBI is an intelligence agency, it is not synonymous with the CIA, the Central Agency Intelligence Agency. The CIA operates outside the U.S. and only collects intelligence. The FBI is a domestic law enforcement agency.

2.The FBI does not have files on every American.

3.You don’t need to have a background in law or accounting to work for the FBI. That was a requirement at one time, but now the bureau employs more than 36,000 employees in multiple disciplines – those fields and others, including: science and technology, business and administration, medical, foreign languages, facilities and logistics, and more.

The FBI was at the Waconia Lions Club last Wednesday evening.It wasn’t a sting or criminal investigation. The bureau’s public affairs officer Kevin Smith from its Minneapolis division was a guest speaker at the Lions’ June 26 meeting.Smith said the Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly responds to speaker requests from community groups and organizations to “de-mystify the FBI to the public.”At the Lions meeting, Smith traced the evolution of the FBI and “dispelled a few myths” about the organization.The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, or BI for short. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. As big cities grew at the beginning of the 20th century, crime did too, and the bureau’s first charge was to fight organized crime, growing violence, and increasing corruption in politics and big business.As the winds of the first world war blew around the globe, the FBI’s role evolved to protect the homeland from both domestic subversion and international espionage and sabotage.In 1924, a young Edgar Hoover was appointed FBI director. He would serve almost half a century, Smith noted. Under Hoover, the bureau became more professional. Hoover laid down a strict code of conduct for agents and the FBI developed many crime fighting techniques such as fingerprinting, the nation’s first crime lab and a fugitive list, or “most wanted” list.Later in the century, the FBI’s priorities grew further, addressing civil rights violations, white collar crime and terrorism. Terrorist threats and attacks continue in the 21st century, notably the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and have broadened to include cyberattacks on information systems. Another growing criminal concern, Smith said, is human trafficking.Through all of its growing and changing roles, Smith said the FBI remains true to its motto: Fidelity, bravery and integrity.  During his Waconia visit, Smith also corrected a few myths about the FBI.   1.While the FBI is an intelligence agency, it is not synonymous with the CIA, the Central Agency Intelligence Agency. The CIA operates outside the U.S. and only collects intelligence. The FBI is a domestic law enforcement agency.  2.The FBI does not have files on every American.3.You don’t need to have a background in law or accounting to work for the FBI. That was a requirement at one time, but now the bureau employs more than 36,000 employees in multiple disciplines – those fields and others, including: science and technology, business and administration, medical, foreign languages, facilities and logistics, and more.

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