Headline Archives


Using Science to Protect America


Federal Bureau of Investigation - Laboratory Division Seal Graphic- Bombs in Saudi Arabia killed 23 people, including nine Americans;

- A man in Washington goes to jail for possessing a biological weapon (ricin) with the intent to use it;

- Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad are identified in the DC sniper case;

- A former Air Force intelligence analyst goes to jail on attempted espionage charges;

- Two South Carolina sheriff's deputies are murdered after responding to a domestic disturbance.

What do all of these case have in common? They were all worked with the assistance of the FBI Laboratory in 2003.

The Laboratory's focus during 2003 and beyond? The war against terrorism. The Lab has strengthened its operational response programs and expanded its forensic capabilities to give us new "weapons" of our own in this war. For instance, when fully operational, the new multiagency Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center will give us a better window into explosive devices used by terrorists. And the new Chem-Bio Sciences Unit is working with the U.S. military and national labs to forensically analyze hazardous chemical, biological, and nuclear materials.

Its people? The FBI Lab is staffed by 700 professionals whose first allegiance is to the victims of terrorism and other crimes. As a matter of fact, these words are inscribed in front of the Lab's new 470,000-square-foot building in Quantico, VA.

"Behind every case is a victim--man, woman, or child--and the people who care for them. We dedicate our efforts and the new FBI Laboratory building to those victims."

Its technologies? Of course things like DNA analysis, latent prints, forensic facial imaging, firearms/toolmarks, trace evidence, explosives analysis, etc. But the FBI Lab also performs dozens of other kinds of forensic analysis. Structural design experts reconstruct buildings and terrain where crimes have been committed. Cryptanalysts decrypt communications written by terrorists, foreign intelligence agents, and criminals. Documents examiners uncover clues from handwriting, typewriting even the paper itself. And metallurgists examine evidence from air, rail, and maritime disasters.

Outreach efforts? Lots of them. We have a Visiting Scientist Program. We have Scientific Working Groups to strengthen federal, state, and local forensic partnerships. Our Research Partnership Program works to transfer new technologies to state and local labs and create new forensic databases.

In the words of FBI Laboratory Director Dr. Dwight E. Adams, the Lab's accomplishments are "not ours alone...the FBI Laboratory will continue to benefit from its partnerships with national, state, and local laboratories and academia."