Laurie Stevens read from one of her books.

Special Agent Thomas J. Leighton: Unmasking Evil

by Shannon Muir Broden

Special Agent Thomas J. Leighton gave those in attendance an overview of the structure of the FBI. In addition, he provided a forum for guests to ask questions tailored to their area of interest.

He explained that while Headquarters for the FBI is in Washington, D.C., there are 56 field offices (of which Los Angeles is one of them).  Today, the scope of what the Los Angeles field office covers includes Orange and Ventura counties. On a lower level, they have what are called Resident Agencies; this goes back historically to where individual agents worked out of their homes.

The formation of the FBI goes back to 1908, focused on dealing with crimes of a federal nature. One Herbert J. (later to be President) Hoover was named its first Director in 1924. The types of crimes that it has dealt with has grown and changed over the years. One thing Special Agent Leighton emphasized was that books, film, and television don’t always get it right to where the FBI comes in as having jurisdiction, but terrorism is clearly an area where the FBI would have jurisdiction.

The audience asked about DNA analysis, witness protection, white collar crime, and if the FBI ever hired psychics… just to give a glimpse into a few of the specialized requests for information. This was one of those events you really needed to be there for!


Keep checking our MEETING DATES page as well as the homepage for a list of upcoming events and their locations. WE WILL NO LONGER BE MEETING AT THE SOUTH PASADENA LIBRARY COMMUNITY ROOM BEGINNING IN 2020.