Saturday, February 21, 2015

FBI Art Crime Team Celebrates 10th Anniversary: A Decade Of Successful Investigations And Recoveries

The FBI website offers a Q & A with the FBI's Art Crime Team's manager. 

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, recently discussed the team’s history, mission, and accomplishments with Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the Bureau’s art theft program.

Q: How did the Art Crime Team get started?

Magness-Gardiner: The FBI has always had agents who investigated frauds and thefts related to art, but in 2003, there was substantial looting of Iraq’s National Museum in Baghdad. Thousands of works were stolen. Because of the U.S. presence in Iraq at the time, it was clear that somebody would have to investigate. It was also clear that the U.S. government didn’t have a team organized, in place, or with the expertise required to do that kind of investigation. But the need for such a team was apparent, and the FBI took that on. The Art Crime Team was formed a year or so later.

Q: What were those early days like?

Magness-Gardiner: When I first arrived, the team consisted of eight agents located in field offices around the country, as well as three trial attorneys from the Department of Justice assigned to assist with prosecutions. Today, the agent component has almost doubled to 15 men and women. One of the great benefits of having the agents located in so many cities in the U.S. is that we literally cover the country.

You can read the rest of the interview, part 1, and watch a video via the below link:  

You can read part 2 of the interview and watch a video via the below link: 

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