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 Michael Steinbach has been leading the NSB since February 2016.
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.
- 01.17.2017 — Wife of Pulse Nightclub Shooter Charged with Aiding and Abetting Her Husband and Obstruction of Justice
- 01.10.2017 — Long Island Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Attempting to Join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
- 12.28.2016 — A Look Back: A Small Office with a Big Mission
- 12.22.2016 — Suffolk Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL
- 12.20.2016 — Defendant Sentenced to 88 Months in Prison for Providing Material Support to Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
- 12.20.2016 — Citizen of China Who Attempted Illegal Export of Advanced Military Computer Chips Is Sentenced
- 12.19.2016 — Saratoga County Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Plot to Kill Muslims
- 12.19.2016 — Protecting Vital Assets
- 12.19.2016 — Chinese National Admits to Stealing Sensitive Military Program Documents from United Technologies
- 12.16.2016 — Former Police Officer Indicted for Attempting to Support ISIL
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.