July 26, 1908. US Attorney General Charles Bonaparte hires 10 ex-secret service agents to report to the Department of Justice, creating what would become the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI. The aim was an independent investigative department capable of chasing criminals across state borders. Originally known as the Office of the Chief Examiner, in 1909 it was renamed the Bureau of Investigation and it wasn’t until 1935 that the agency acquired the adjective Federal. Its headquarters are in Washington, DC at the J. Edgar Hoover Building, named after the man who directed the FBI from 1924 to 1972. Hoover’s intelligence gathering methods were criticised by many Americans. Also controversial were the targeting of civil rights leaders and illegal attempts to protect President Nixon during the Watergate affair. Today FBI directors may only be in office for a maximum of 10 years.
Also on July 26: Liberia gains independence (1847); La Revolución del Parque takes place in Argentina (1890); Winston Churchill resigns as British Prime Minister (1945)
Born on July 26: George Bernard Shaw (1856), Carl Jung (1875), Aldous Huxley (1894), Stanley Kubrick (1928), Mick Jagger (1943), Helen Mirren (1945), Kevin Spacey (1959), Sandra Bullock (1964)
Back in the Day: founding of the FBI