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Federal Bureau of Investigation Records (RG 65)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a major component of the Department of Justice. Although there are earlier antecedents, the Bureau traces its direct origins to July 1908, when Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte created a force of special agents in the Department of Justice. In July 1909, the organization under which those agents worked became the Bureau of Investigation. In 1935, it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI consists of the headquarters organization, located in Washington, DC, field offices located in various major cities in the United States, and legal attaché offices (LEGATs) overseas.

More information on the history of the FBI is available online on the FBI's website. "A Brief History of the FBI" and "The FBI: A Centennial History, 1908-2008" are two places to begin your research. There also are many secondary works about the agency.

These web pages are intended to provide only a basic orientation to the FBI records in the National Archives. For more information, please consult the section of the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives on Record Group 65 as well as the other links provided.