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Message from the FBI Laboratory director.

The FBI Laboratory celebrated a milestone in 2007: 75 years of forensic science service. In the early 1920s and 1930s, law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were only beginning to see the value of using science to solve crimes. In 1932, when the FBI moved a few pieces of laboratory equipment into room 802 of the Old Southern Railway Building in Washington, D.C., it was with tire vision that the federal government could use its considerable knowledge and resources to help state and local law enforcement solve crimes and actually prevent crimes from occurring.

The FBI and the FBI Laboratory have changed more than anyone could have envisioned in 1932. Today the FBI Laboratory employs approximately 500 employees. FBI Laboratory examinations total one million or more each year and support law enforcement, intelligence, military, and forensic science partners around the world.

The theme of the 2007 annual report is "supporting the FBI mission through science and technology." Each unit described in the ensuing pages directly supports the FBI's priorities as outlined by the FBI Director: protecting the United States from terrorist attack and foreign intelligence activity: combating criminal activity that threatens the safety and security of society: preserving civil liberties. and providing leadership, intelligence, and law enforcement assistance to FBI partners. Doing so involves the core functions of collection. information dissemination and integration, analysis, and action. These functions closely parallel those of the Intelligence Cycle, which intelligence community partners--including the FBI--use to guide their efforts to ensure the safety and security of the United States and its allies.

The Laboratory has specialized units that respond to incidents and collect or facilitate the collection of evidence in the field. The Evidence Response Team Unit supports Evidence Response Teams in all 56 FBI field offices. The Explosives Unit specializes in evidence involving explosive and incendiary devices, and the Hazardous Materials Response Unit provides support at scenes involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials. The Photographic Operations and Imaging Services Unit and the Special Projects Unit document the scene and collect data for such uses as crime scene reconstruction, courtroom exhibits and testimony, and forensic facial imaging.

Evidence collected in the field and submitted to the Laboratory may be examined in several units, depending on the nature of the evidence. Chemistry, Cryptanalysis, DNA, Firearms-Tool marks, Latent Prints, Questioned Documents, and Trace Evidence may all receive items of evidence from the same case. Using state-of-the-art technology, the units conduct forensic examinations and develop information concerning suspects, witnesses, victims, or crime scenes that oftentimes is critical to investigators for prosecutions and also for exonerating the innocent. The examinations conducted at the Laboratory also assist the law enforcement and intelligence communities in identifying trends and obtaining a more complete picture of current threats. Research and development and advances in technology provide the Laboratory additional tools to help support the FBI's mission.

In short, Laboratory personnel collect and analyze evidence and disseminate their findings to investigators, who integrate the information with what they already know and then act on it. As new evidence and intelligence develop or as other incidents occur, the cycle begins anew.

The Laboratory also relies on the expertise of personnel from other FBI Divisions. Legal counsel, public and congressional affairs, security, finance, information technology, and facilities maintenance are just some of the areas represented. These personnel are assigned to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., but are physically located at the Laboratory in order to provide the services Laboratory personnel need to complete their missions. Private contractors with specialized expertise round out the FBI staff. Of course, partnerships with other agencies are essential to the Laboratory's continued success.

Today the FBI and other federal agencies are faced with great responsibility, as well as increased scrutiny and accountability. The FBI Laboratory performs forensic examinations every day in which people's lives are at stake and truth and justice hang in the balance. FBI Laboratory personnel and partners are proud of their service and remain committed to meeting the high standards and expectations of those who depend on the Laboratory's services.

Dr. Joseph A. DiZinno


FBI Laboratory

Quantico, Virginia
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Author:DiZinno, Joseph A.
Publication:FBI Laboratory Annual Report
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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