FBI’s Primary Function Changed to “National Security”

Old and new FBI fact sheet headers

Up until recently, the fact sheets sent out by the FBI listed the agency’s primary function as “law enforcement.” However, in recent months, it has been changed to “national security.”

Fact sheets containing the change started going out the past summer, Kel McClanahan, a national security lawyer, told Foreign Policy. McClanahan noticed the new description while analyzing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

FBI representatives have told the publication that their mission changed after the 9/11 events. In fact, the agency said that it started highlighting its national security focus a long time ago.

“We rank our top 10 priorities and CT [counterterrorism] is first, counterintel is second, cyber is third. So it is certainly accurate to say our primary function is national security,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

McClanahan believes that by tying itself to national security, the FBI actually gets more funding and exemptions on disclosure cases.


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