Weapons of Mass Destruction
The FBI is the lead federal agency for responding to threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Bureau investigates and collects intelligence on WMD-related threats and incidents to prevent attacks and respond to them when they occur.
Established in 2006, the WMD Directorate (WMDD) is part of the FBI’s National Security Branch. The WMDD leads the FBI’s efforts to mitigate threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive weapons.
Definition of WMD
A WMD is defined by U.S. law as any of the following:
- A destructive device, such as an explosive or incendiary bomb, rocket, or grenade;
- A weapon that is designed to cause death or serious injury through toxic or poisonous chemicals;
- A weapon that contains a biological agent or toxin; or
- A weapon that is designed to release dangerous levels of radiation or radioactivity.
The WMDD provides leadership and expertise to domestic and foreign law enforcement, academia, and industry partners on WMD issues. The FBI approaches these issues through four major areas: preparedness, countermeasures, investigations/operations, and intelligence.
The WMDD prepares the FBI and its U.S. government partners to respond to WMD threats by developing comprehensive strategic and operational plans. Training exercises not only enhance the FBI’s capabilities, but they also improve collaboration with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
A critical part of the FBI’s work in preventing and responding to WMD attacks are special agents who serve as WMD coordinators in all 56 field offices and in some overseas FBI offices. WMD coordinators build relationships with partners in law enforcement and the private sector. The goal of these relationships is to promote information sharing and ensure the FBI has an early warning of emerging WMD threats.
Investigations and Operations
The WMDD manages WMD-related investigations and leads the FBI’s coordination and investigative response to those threats and incidents. In addition to U.S. operations, WMDD agents in international locations assist host countries with training and WMD response, as appropriate.
Intelligence-driven investigations help the FBI and its U.S. government partners prevent and respond to WMD incidents. The WMDD’s intelligence analysts develop relevant and actionable intelligence related to WMD threats, including intelligence on WMD proliferation and other criminal activities.
- 06.03.2020 — Worcester Man Charged with Civil Disorder and Possession of a Destructive Device
- 06.03.2020 — Joint Terrorism Task Force Charges Three Men Who Allegedly Sought to Exploit Protests in Las Vegas and Incite Violence
- 06.01.2020 — Federal Criminal Complaint Charges Illinois Man with Traveling to Minnesota to Riot, Possession of Explosive Devices
- 05.31.2020 — Two Brooklyn Residents and a Greene County Resident Charged in Connection with Molotov Cocktail Attacks on the NYPD
- 05.03.2020 — Northern Colorado Man Arrested for Possessing Pipe Bombs
- 04.08.2020 — Federal Complaint Filed Against San Antonio Man for COVID-19-Related Hoax
- 04.08.2020 — St. Petersburg Man Who Threatened to Spread COVID-19 Virus by Spitting and Coughing on Police Officers Charged with Biological Weapons Hoax
- 03.28.2020 — Niagara Falls Man Who Forced the Closure of the New York State Thruway Charged with Possessing Multiple Bombs
- 03.23.2020 — Man Who Attempted to Bomb Downtown Oklahoma City Bank Sentenced to 25 Years
- 03.12.2020 — Corona Lawyer Found with Unregistered Firearms, Silencers, and Hand Grenade Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison
To report suspicious activity involving chemical, biological, or radiological materials, call this toll-free number: 855-TELL-FBI (855-835-5324). For more on reaching out to the FBI, including submitting an online tip, read our Contact Us page which provides detailed information, such as additional phone numbers and the addresses of our local and international offices.