Director Christopher Wray joined Thennie Freeman, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation in Washington, D.C., for a basketball game at FBI Headquarters between FBI personnel and local high school players. The game was organized by the Washington Field Office as part of its community outreach efforts. See story below.
Message from the Assistant Director, Office of Public Affairs
Hello FBI Family,
February brings Valentine’s Day and thoughts of romance. We all enjoy a good love story, but unfortunately, the FBI also sees plenty of criminals taking advantage of innocent people through romance scams and sextortion.
Romance scams can break a person’s heart and their bank account. Scammers use email and social media to target people looking for companionship and con them out of their money. We always see a surge in these scams around Valentine’s Day, so please help us remind everyone about the warning signs of romance scams and urge victims to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Recently, the FBI has also seen a huge increase in cases involving children and teens being threatened and coerced into sending explicit images online—a crime called sextortion. Last month, we launched a nationwide effort to raise awareness of this growing threat. So far, this good work has led to segments on “Good Morning America,” the CBS Evening News, and FOX News,” and more than 1,000 earned media articles, and a surge in local TV news stories.
Again, I’d ask you to help amplify this effort. Encourage young people and their parents to learn how to protect themselves from sextortion and to report these crimes by contacting their local FBI field office, calling 1-800-CALL-FBI, or reporting online at tips.fbi.gov.
Thank you all for your support. We always appreciate your feedback, so drop us a note at email@example.com.
By the Numbers:
Busy at CJIS in '23
National Threat Operations Center (NTOC)
- 639,090 total calls to 1-800-CALL-FBI
- 700,798 total electronic tips to tips.fbi.gov
- 7,613 threat-to-life leads submitted to field offices and law enforcement partners
National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
- 10,964,764 average daily transactions
- .0076 seconds: average response time
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
- 10,075,439 transactions processed
- 117,608 denied firearms transactions
National Data Exchange (N-DEx)
- 21,197,203 searches
- 8,444 law enforcement agencies contributed records to N-DEx
Biometric ID services
- 83,724,396 criminal fingerprints in the repository
- 202,991 average daily fingerprints received/processed
- 28,842 total number of facial recognition services
Message from the Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division
Hello from HQ, it's good to be back. I recently reported to the Criminal Investigate Division (CID) as the assistant director. Prior to this position, I served as the special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office. I have spent the majority of my career working criminal matters in the FBI, so I am extremely familiar with the threats within CID and excited to provide support and leadership to the division. This year a big focus in CID is the upcoming election cycle and election crimes.
The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating election-related crimes and threats to election workers, as well as malicious cyber activity against election infrastructure and foreign malign influence operations. CID collaborates with other divisions, including the Cyber and Counterintelligence Divisions, to combat these threats.
While individual states have primary responsibility for conducting fair and free elections, the FBI plays an important role in protecting federal interests and will step in when an election crime becomes a federal crime. CID takes the lead on election crimes, including ballot and voter fraud; campaign finance violations; civil rights violations, such as voter suppression and voter intimidation; and threats to election workers. Through the Election Threats Task Force, we work in close partnership with DOJ to actively identify, mitigate, and prosecute threats to election workers.
The FBI has developed concrete strategies to address election crimes efficiently and seamlessly. Each of our 56 field offices across the country has two election crimes coordinators—a special agent and an intelligence analyst—who stand ready to field threats and coordinate a response across the Bureau and with external partners.
As we get closer to the election, we will continue to ramp up our efforts, including standing up a National Election Command Post at FBI Headquarters and local command posts at our field offices. We remain vigilant in our efforts to detect those trying to undermine our political process, and we will aggressively investigate any allegations of voter fraud or other election crimes to protect elections from potential threats and ensure the American people can have confidence in their democratic process.
The Financial Sextortion Threat
The FBI issued a new warning about an evolving online threat targeting minors and young adults: financially motivated sextortion.
In these schemes, predators typically pretend to be alluring young girls to befriend teen boys—often on social media and gaming platforms. The predators then trick these teens into exchanging sexually explicit material. Once they have a victim's pictures or video, they demand money to keep the explicit material from being shared. Details
FBI Detroit: A Growing Threat
“Everything your parents told you when you were growing up still applies.”
Director Christopher Wray
How best to address recent criticism that unfairly and inaccurately derided the FBI for recruiting and retaining unqualified candidates, allegedly to meet diversity hiring goals?
Here’s what I see as the head of the FBI Training Academy at Quantico, Virginia: I see the men and women who arrive here as new agent trainees after a remarkably arduous application process. I see them study and train; I see them learn and grow; and I see them graduate to become an integral part of the FBI. I see today’s FBI (and its future, walking our hallways), and the quality of our new agents is superb.
Each year, the FBI’s New York Field Office joins forces with local, state, and federal partners to ensure that residents and visiting tourists can safely partake in New Year’s Eve celebrations across the city.
The New York Police Department plays point on New Year's security within the five boroughs, and the FBI supplements those efforts by providing specialized support teams and resources, explained FBI New York Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Burgwald, who helps lead the field office’s crisis- and technical-response efforts.
Looking for love? The FBI is raising awareness about romance scams, or confidence fraud, so you can protect your heart and your wallet. Details
In Case You Missed It
A basketball game between high-schoolers and the FBI sought to improve relations between the Bureau's Washington Field Office and the communities it serves and to show the students a possible future.
This series features stories, images, and videos produced by the team that manages fbi.gov.
Robert Contee, assistant director of the FBI's Office of Partner Engagement, served as chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. before joining the Bureau. In his role with OPE, AD Contee builds relationships between the FBI and federal, state and local law enforcement.
After 30 years advancing through the ranks of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Robert J. Contee III was sworn in as the chief of police on Jan. 2, 2021.
Four days later, his leadership was tested during an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Contee, now the assistant director of the Office of Partner Engagement, detailed his experience of that day to a spellbound audience at a recent legal attaché agents/liaison officers conference sponsored by the International Operations Division.
Despite well-documented complications securing backup for the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) that day, Contee revealed, “When the USCP requested assistance at 12:58 p.m., the MPD showed up at 1:03 p.m.” He proudly attributed the MPD’s immediate response to practice and partnership. (The chief of the Capitol Police force was a former MPD officer.)
After receiving the call for assistance, Contee headed over to the Capitol. “I saw the blood of my officers on the Capitol steps and people who had been hit by bear spray, holding their faces,” he explained. “It was a dark day in American history.”
Contee then headed back to the command center when he heard shots fired over the police radio back at the Capitol. “I did not know if a congressman or a police officer was shot or if it was a terrorist event, but I knew I had to lead from the front and go see for myself.”
When it was over, the MPD, the FBI and other law enforcement partners swept the Capitol to ensure it was safe for business to continue. “Count on them (our partners) to show up and protect the community,” said Contee, who received the 2022 Congressional Gold Medal for Protection of the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.
Contee is excited to expand his responsibility to a more national landscape and bring FBI resources to law enforcement organizations across the country. Determination is one of his strongest qualities, he said, so if there’s something that our partners need, he will explore every opportunity that makes sense to make things happen.
This dedication stems from his upbringing. A child from an economically challenged neighborhood of Washington, D.C., his mother raised him to put forth his best effort in everything he did, and he’s sharing his motto, “excellence is transferable” across OPE. “I’m used to being part of high-performing teams wherever I’ve worked,” Contee said. “Everything we do in OPE will be in the spirit of excellence, starting with every individual on our team.”
As the police chief, Contee said things were fast paced.
“The immediate emergency of what just happened — the shooting, the robbery, the carjacking — were all part of the daily grind to get ahead of the news cycle,” he said. The pace of being AD of OPE enables him to be more strategic about what OPE does and how the FBI wants OPE to operate down the road.
Through the lens of his MPD experience, Contee saw the FBI’s relationship with law enforcement as transactional and wants to lean forward to better assist law enforcement partners.
Director Christopher Wray and Robert Contee, assistant director of the Office of Partner Engagement, joined ATF Deputy Director Marvin Richardson (left) and Dr. Jacob Rieux of NOBLE at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego in October.
“Our partners assume the FBI knows everything. They want to hear from us, and we want to know what they know and what they don’t know. We will share with them what we can.”
Robert Contee, assistant director, Office of Partner Engagement
“Small-town sheriffs speak different dialects than major city chiefs, and issues important to those sheriffs can be very different than big city police department priorities,” he explained. Contee sees OPE as the conduit between the Bureau and our law enforcement partners. “OPE’s responsibility is to unpack those issues and priorities and convey them to FBI leadership so that we can better address the needs of these various communities.”
As police agencies across the country experience reductions in ranks, Contee sees building partnerships with the Bureau as a force multiplier. “It’s a steady drumbeat of things that police departments need from the FBI. A sheriff from a small city with 10 people on his department would benefit from some of the things that the Bureau has to offer, he said.
“If a community had a bad night of violence we should ask, ‘How can the FBI assist?’ then offer available resources to them to combat crime, such as the SWAT training we offer. I don't know that the FBI is necessarily there yet. But I want to focus on making sure that the programs we have in place are operating at maximum capacity and efficiency.”
Following the breach on the U.S. Capitol building in 2021, OPE coordinated a partner call with FBI leaders, Department of Homeland Security counterparts and over 5,700 law enforcement partners from across the country to hear a unified message.
Since then, our partners expect that the FBI will hold partner calls as world events and emerging issues occur. Recently, when threats focusing on Israelis and the Muslim community increased, especially on college campuses after the Oct. 7 attacks in Gaza, OPE held another partner call.
“Our partners assume the FBI knows everything. They want to hear from us, and we want to know what they know and what they don’t know. We will share with them what we can,” explained Contee. “That’s a different relationship than being on the sideline.”
Through OPE’s outreach and collaboration, the FBI is making sure that our partners have a better understanding of the national landscape. OPE is seeing changes.
“They are bringing issues to us and it’s a two-way dialogue. When law enforcement says it participates in an FBI call and here’s what they learned, their message has more credibility.”
Contee said he “is impressed with the weight on the shoulders of the FBI men and women and how they go about quietly doing their jobs.” He is equally impressed with the FBI culture.
“There are 38,000 employees and yet it feels like a small family. I'm embracing the Bureau as the Bureau has embraced me, and I'm giving it my all in this seat. And there's more to come from Robert Contee. I assure you that.”
“When law enforcement says it participates in an FBI call and here’s what they learned, their message has more credibility.”
FBI San Diego Teaches Families How to Protect Their Kids
Community Outreach Specialist Jolanda Wesley helps a child learn how to take fingerprints.
Making sure that families learn the ABCs of how to protect their kids – and that their kids know how to protect themselves – is a key piece of the FBI’s community outreach program.
The FBI’s San Diego field office recently put this work into action as it – and dozens of other local agencies - partnered with the San Diego Moms organization for Family Safety Day.
In total, this event drew several hundred families, and the Bureau’s Child ID App proved to be a popular attraction. FBI special agents and professional staff from the local field office helped parents collect their children’s fingerprints and educated them on the benefits of storing their information on the digital platform.
FBI special agents and professional staff from the local field office helped parents collect their children’s fingerprints and educated them on the benefits of storing their information on the digital platform.
“It’s always a good idea to have all of their information in our app and ready to go.”
Joli Wesley, community outreach specialist, FBI San Diego
Joli Wesley, one of the FBI’s community outreach specialists, explains how a real-world event helped drive home how important this app can be.
“A child that we had fingerprinted just moments earlier was separated from his parents," she said. "Luckily, he was found a short time later. It was timely because we were telling families that if they’re ever in a crowded place and they get separated from their child, it’s always a good idea to have all of their information in our app and ready to go so they don’t have to look for it – and then oddly enough, it happened right after!”
The app includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing. It features a password protection option to help keep the child’s information safe and allows parents to add pictures from the mobile phone’s photo library.
An important note: The FBI is not collecting or storing any photos or information that you enter in the app. All data resides solely on your mobile device unless you need to send it to authorities. Please read your mobile provider’s terms of service for information about the security of applications stored on your device.
This is the third of three articles in the “Facing the Talent Crisis in Law Enforcement” series, which offers a valid and reliable coaching model for agencies to follow. The previous two articles discussed other strategies for addressing this talent crisis by using one-on-one conversations that involve asking questions to solve problems (Part 1) and posing questions to develop people on teams (Part 2). But, what if a more challenging and urgent issue arises that requires multiple law enforcement personnel with various ranks, experiences, and expertise to envision and chart a path forward?.
One Family, Two Trailblazers
Sister and brother who worked for FBI, NASA achieved lifelong dreams
Special Agent Paula Smith started her career with the FBI in the San Francisco Division in 1980. Her early years were challenging; she was often the only female agent on her squad. Her motto was to stick with the work: “Once you do your work, they’d accept you,” she said.
While she was pursuing her dream, her brother Steve Smith was accepted into the space program at NASA and flew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1994.
A few years later, Steve was aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery carrying, among other things, an FBI flag. “To express my gratitude—not only to my sister for her great influence as a trailblazer and a person with grit and fortitude, but also to thank this great organization, the FBI—I decided to fly this FBI flag,” he said.
The FBI is warning the public about scammers instructing victims, many of whom are senior citizens, to liquidate their assets into cash and/or buy gold, silver, or other precious metals to protect their funds. Criminals then arrange for couriers to meet the victims in person to pick up the cash or precious metals. Details
Tips to protect Yourself:
- The U.S. government and legitimate businesses will never request you purchase gold or other precious metals.
- Protect your personal information. Never disclose your home address or agree to meet with unknown individuals to deliver cash or precious metals.
- Do not click on unsolicited pop-ups on your computer, links sent via text messages, or email links and attachments.
- Do not contact unknown telephone numbers provided in pop-ups, texts, or emails.
- Do not download software at the request of unknown individuals who contact you.
- Do not allow unknown individuals access to your computer.
The FBI Alumni E-Brief is distributed through our alumni and family organizations. These groups share it through their membership lists, we do not maintain an individual email list. Currently, the groups receiving the AEB are:
- The Society of FBI Alumni
- Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI
- FBI Agents Association
- FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association
- FBI National Academy Associates
- FBI National Executive Institute Associates
- FBI LEEDA
- Not a member of one of these organizations? The AEB is on Facebook: FBI-Federal Bureau of Investigation Family (Current/Retired)
If you are aware of another group to assist in sharing this AEB with the FBI family, please let us know. You can also send content suggestions, photo or story submissions, as well as critiques to firstname.lastname@example.org.