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  • Although not known as the FBI at the time, the agency was originated in 1908.  This was due to Attorney General Charles Bonaparte who directed that Department of Justice investigations be handled by a small group of special investigators.  It was given the name "Bureau of Investigation" in 1909.
  • From 1908 to 1924, the group grew gradually.  The World War I Selective Service Act and espionage laws brought new duties.  As did the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act of 1919.  This bill curbed the transportation of stolen automobiles from state to state.
  • It was in 1924 that Attorney General Harlan F. Stone appointed 29-year-old J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the Bureau.  Hoover's name is almost synonymous with F.B.I. and even today he is still the most famous Director the Bureau has ever had.  Harlan Stone, by the way, would later become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
  • As J. Edgar Hoover saw it, the organization was going to be a career service in which ability and good character were to be the requirements for appointment, and performance and achievement the sole basis for promotion.