In 1908, the Justice Department created the Bureau of
Investigation, a small division of detectives that was responsible
for investigating violations of federal law. The division was
filled with incompetent and corrupt agents until a young bureaucrat
by the name of J. Edgar Hoover was brought in to clean house.
Hoover reorganized the division and renamed it the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, and he served as its director for nearly 50
years. As the federal government expanded over the years, so did
the power of the Bureau. Today, the FBI employs more than twenty
thousand people and spends approximately $6.5 billion per year.
Timothy Lynch, the director of the Cato Institute’s Project on
Criminal Justice, gives the agency a due evaluation.