FBI Laboratory

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The FBI Laboratory is a division within the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides forensic analysis support services to the FBI, as well as to state and local law enforcement agencies free of charge. The lab is currently located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. Opening November 24, 1932, the lab was first known as the Technical Laboratory. It became a separate division when the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was renamed in the FBI. Public tours of the lab work area were available until the FBI moved to the newly constructed J. Edgar Hoover Building in 1974. Tours of the J. Edgar Hoover Building still were available, but the route the tour moved away from the lab work space thus sealing the lab from public view. The laboratory expanded to such an extent that the Forensic Science Research and Training Center (FSRTC) was established at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Methods at the FSRTC helped establish standardized forensic practices for law enforcement agencies.

The history of the FBI Lab has not been without controversy. Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, who joined the FBI in 1982 and served as a Supervisory Special Agent at the Lab from 1986 to 1998, blew the whistle on scientific misconduct at the Lab. As a result of Whitehurst's whistleblowing, the FBI Lab implemented forty major reforms, including undergoing an accreditation process.

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