What We Investigate
What We Investigate
The mission of the FBI—as a national security and intelligence organization—is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.
We currently have jurisdiction over violations in more than 200 categories of federal law. They generally fall under our three national security priorities and five criminal priorities as follows:
National Security Priorities:
1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack
The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The FBI further classifies terrorism as either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base, and objectives of the terrorist organization. We investigate terrorism-related matters without regard to race, religion, national origin, or gender. Reference to individual members of any political, ethnic, or religious group does not imply that all members of that group are terrorists. Terrorists represent a small minority in any large social context.
In Albuquerque, our counterterrorism efforts are led by our Joint Terrorism Task Force, a group of highly trained individuals from various law enforcement and intelligence agencies who work with FBI case agents in gathering evidence, making arrests, sharing intelligence, and working to prevent attacks. There is a lot to protect: New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the nation in area, shares 180 miles of border with the Republic of Mexico, and has some of the nation’s most attractive targets for terrorists, including numerous military bases and national research laboratories.
Another key ingredient of our work to stop terrorists is the Albuquerque Field Intelligence Group (FIG), a hub for collecting, evaluating, analyzing, and reporting intelligence. The FIG provides useful and timely information to case agents, program managers, and the New Mexico intelligence and law enforcement communities to prevent, disrupt, and prosecute individuals associated with terrorist and criminal activities.
2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
Today, more foreign spies—not just traditional adversaries but also allies, hackers, and terrorists—are trying to steal more U.S. secrets from more places than ever before. They are after our country’s most significant classified information—from military plans to national security vulnerabilities to our own intelligence activities. They also want our nation’s trade secrets, innovations that give us a leg up in the global marketplace and technologies that could be used to develop or improve weapons of mass destruction.
In Albuquerque, we have dedicated foreign counterintelligence personnel who, in line with the FBI’s National Strategy for Counterintelligence, work to keep weapons of mass destruction and other embargoed technologies from falling into wrong hands. Our foreign counterintelligence personnel also protect secrets of the U.S. government (including the intelligence community) and critical national assets and help to strengthen the national threat picture by proactively gathering information and intelligence. Our work includes knowing the key targets in our territory, developing strategic partnerships with area institutions, and disrupting the efforts of insiders and key nations.
3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
The FBI leads the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism and espionage, computer and network intrusions, and major cyber fraud and identify theft. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private sector partners worldwide.
In Albuquerque, our cyber squad works closely with federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement partners, private organizations, corporations, and academia to counter the wide variety of computer-based threats. Together, we address issues ranging from individual fraud complaints to sexual exploitation of children…from corporate and economic attacks to espionage targeting the heart of our national security.
4. Combat public corruption at all levels
Corruption in government threatens our country’s democracy and national security, impacting everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected...to verdicts handed down in courts...to the quality of our roads and schools. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, too, wasting billions of tax dollars every year.
Our investigations in New Mexico focus on violations of federal law by public officials in local, state, and federal government, such as bribery, contract and procurement fraud, antitrust, environmental crimes, election fraud, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
See our public corruption questionnaires for contract corruption, economic stimulus, government fraud. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are strongly encouraged to call or email the FBI.
5. Protect civil rights
The FBI is the lead agency for investigating violations of federal civil rights laws…and we take that responsibility seriously. Specifically, we aggressively investigate and work to prevent hate crime, color of law abuses, human trafficking, and freedom of access to clinic entrances violations—the four top priorities of our civil rights program. We focus on all of these issues in Albuquerque.
Hate crimes are a particularly insidious threat—they are often violent and serial in nature and breed fear and distrust in communities. We address hate crime in the FBI in three ways: 1) through our civil rights investigations, which focus on individuals or groups acting out hate violence and violating federal civil rights statutes; (2) through our domestic terrorism program, which focuses on crimes committed by organized groups for political or social reasons; and (3) through our Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which collects hate crime data each year as mandated by the Hate Crimes Statistic Act of 1990.
6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
Gangs and other criminal organizations are an increasing concern for law enforcement in the U.S. and around the world. Their illegal activities have increased in scope and magnitude in recent years, with groups strengthening their networks and operations worldwide.
The FBI’s strategy is to disrupt and dismantle the domestic cells (local, regional, national, and transnational) of the criminal enterprises that pose the greatest threats to the economic and national security of the United States. We do this through our Safe Streets and Violent Gang task forces; through increased involvement in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF); and through support for and leadership in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives.
The Albuquerque Division works in concert with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies through proactive, long-term relationships—addressing together significant gang and drug related violent activities on a domestic and international level.
7. Combat major white-collar crime
Fraud—the art of deliberate deception for unlawful gain—is as old as history; the term “white-collar crime” was reportedly coined in 1939 and has since become synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. Today’s financial criminals and con artists are more savvy and sophisticated than ever, engineering everything from complex stock and health care frauds and intellectual property rip-offs.
In Albuquerque, our white-collar crime program works to investigate and prevent public corruption (see above) and major corporate fraud and health care fraud. We also identify, target, disrupt, and dismantle the most egregious criminal organizations engaged in fraud schemes involving corporations, health care, and our nation’s financial institutions.
8. Combat significant violent crime
Even with our post-9/11 national security responsibilities, we continue to play a key role in combating violent crime in big cities and local communities across the United States. Beyond our work targeting violent gangs and other criminal enterprises, we focus on such issues as crimes against children (including online predators), crime on Indian reservations, the search for wanted fugitives, serial killings, kidnapping, murder for hire, bank robberies, and special crimes like the carriage of weapons on aircraft and crime on the high seas.
The Albuquerque Division focuses on collecting and analyzing information and intelligence that helps identify and prioritize threats and trends relating to violent crime. In addition, the division provides support to and works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to investigate and apprehend violent serial offenders that threaten the safety of our communities. See our Partnerships webpage for more details.