National Security Branch
The FBI created the National Security Branch (NSB) in September 2005 in response to a presidential directive to establish a “National Security Service” that combines the missions, capabilities, and resources of the FBI’s counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and intelligence elements under the leadership of a senior FBI official. Executive Assistant Director Carl Ghattas has been leading the NSB since February 2017.
Mission: Detect, deter, and disrupt national security threats to the United States and its interests.
Vision: Develop and implement a strategic approach to protecting the United States’ national security interests.
The traditional distinction between national security and criminal matters is increasingly blurred as terrorists commit crimes to finance their activities and computer hackers create vulnerabilities that can be exploited.The integration of intelligence and investigations makes the FBI uniquely situated to address these threats and vulnerabilities across programs. We draw on both intelligence and law enforcement tools to determine strategically where and when to disrupt threats, and the NSB’s five components work together to accomplish the Branch’s overarching national security mission.
The Counterintelligence Division protects the United States by identifying, understanding, and combating threats posed by foreign intelligence services and their proxies. The division accomplishes this by investigating foreign intelligence activities within the U.S., targeting both traditional and emerging non-traditional threats, and using a combination of intelligence and law enforcement techniques to investigate espionage activities.
Combating terrorism is the FBI’s top investigative priority. Working closely with a range of partners, we use our suite of investigative and intelligence capabilities to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives here in the U.S., to help dismantle extremist networks worldwide, and to cut off financing and other forms of support provided by terrorist sympathizers. Our overall goal, as we lead law enforcement and domestic intelligence efforts to defeat terrorism, is to eliminate the risk of terrorism, both international and domestic, to the homeland and to U.S. interests abroad
The FBI administers an interagency body called the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) that brings together personnel from the U.S. Intelligence Community to conduct lawful interrogations that strengthen national security. In addition to its operational role in eliciting accurate and actionable intelligence from high-value terrorism subjects, the HIG serves as the government’s focal point for interrogation best practices, training, and scientific research. All research sponsored by the HIG is unclassified; researchers who work with the group are free to publish their findings, and most do.
Born out of the events of September 11, 2001 and created in 2003, the Terrorist Screening Center maintains the U.S. government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist—a single database of identifying information about those known to be (or reasonably suspected of being) involved in terrorist activity. By supporting the ability of front-line screening agencies to positively identify known or suspected terrorists trying to obtain visas, enter the country, board aircraft, or engage in other activity, the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist is one of the most effective counterterrorism tools for the U.S. government.
The FBI created the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate in 2006 to support a cohesive and coordinated approach to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) material. The Directorate leads U.S. government efforts to prevent and neutralize WMD threats against the homeland and interests abroad by focusing on outreach, intelligence, operational response, and investigative capabilities designed to keep WMD threats from becoming a reality.
- 09.18.2017 — Engineer at Defense Contractor Who Sold Satellite Secrets to Person Posing as Russian Spy Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison
- 09.08.2017 — United States Citizen Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to Al Shabaab
- 09.07.2017 — Chief Executive Officer of International Metallurgical Company Sentenced to 57 Months for Conspiring to Export Specialty Metals to Iran
- 09.07.2017 — Bronx Man Charged with Providing Material Support to ISIS by Facilitating Another Individual's Travel to Join ISIS Abroad
- 09.06.2017 — Former Turkish Minister of the Economy, Former General Manager of Turkish Government-Owned Bank, and Two Other Individuals Charged with Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran and Other Offenses
- 08.31.2017 — Defendant Charged with Conspiring and Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
- 08.29.2017 — Queens Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
- 08.21.2017 — Eleventh Circuit Affirms Conviction and Sentence of Pinellas County Man for Terrorist Plot
- 08.21.2017 — Houston Man Charged with Attempting to Damage Hermann Park Statue
- 08.19.2017 — Syracuse Attorney Pleads Guilty to Calling in a Bomb Threat to Federal Building
This page contains information about national security-related policy matters for the FBI on such topics as the safeguarding of personal information and national security letters.