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Historical Timeline

1919: The Criminal Division is formally organized.

1936: The Division is reorganized into three sections - Administrative, Appellate, and Trial.

1939: The Civil Liberties Section is created and later renamed the Civil Rights Section. The Commercial Frauds Unit is also created.

1941-45: During World War II, fifty-seven Criminal Division employees engaged in the war effort. Replacements during the war came from other divisions or departments, or from private practice.

1942: The Attorney General sets up a special War Frauds Unit, later supervised by the Criminal Division, to prosecute all cases involving fraud upon the government in its war efforts.

1943: Beatrice Rosenberg, one of the first female attorneys in the Criminal Division, starts working as an attorney in the Appellate Section. She went on to become Chief of the Appellate Section and argued more than 30 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1970, Ms. Rosenberg was the first woman to receive the Tom C. Clark Award for outstanding government service by a lawyer. The D.C. Bar's Excellence in Government Service Award bears her name.

1951: John C. Keeney is first appointed to the Department. His career would include serving as Chief of the Smith Act Unit, Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, and Chief of the Fraud Section.  Mr. Keeney would also serve as Acting Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Criminal Division on numerous occasions, longer than most of the AAGs for the Division.

1954: The Organized Crime and Racketeering Section (OCRS) is created to more systematically prosecute organized crime.

1955: The Fraud Section is established.

1957: The functions of the Civil Rights Section are transferred into the newly created Civil Rights Division.

1968: The Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section is created to maximize coordination between federal investigation and prosecution efforts.

1974 CRM Org Chart

1976: In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the Public Integrity Section is created.

1979: The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is established with the mandate to investigate and deport former Nazis. The Office of Enforcement Operations and the Office of International Affairs are also created.

1983: The Office of Asset Forfeiture is created. In 1991, the Money Laundering Section would be created.

1986: The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program is established.

1987: The National Obscenity Enforcement Unit, later called the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, is created.

1988: Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr. becomes the first African American to become Assistant Attorney General for the Division.

1991: The Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is established under the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. OPDAT is later integrated into the Division.

1994: Jo Ann Harris becomes the first female Assistant Attorney General for the Division.

1994: The Money Laundering Section and the Office of Asset Forfeiture are merged to create the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. The Office of Legislation and Office of Policy and Management Analysis are merged into the Office of Policy and Legislation.

1996: The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section is established.

1998: The Capital Case Unit is created and in 2013 would be renamed the Capital Case Section.

2000: The Department of Justice Building located at 1301 New York Avenue, N.W., is dedicated to John C. Keeney, in honor of his distinguished career.

2003: The Domestic Security Section (DSS) is created. The Terrorism and Violent Crime Section and Internal Security Section are renamed the Counterterrorism Section and Counterespionage Section, respectively.

2006: The Gang Unit is created to target gang-related crime. The Counterterrorism and Counterespionage Sections are transferred into the newly-created National Security Division.

2010: The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section is created from a merger of OSI and DSS. The Organized Crime and Gang Section is created from a merger of OCRS and the Gang Unit.

2019: The Division celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Updated January 15, 2021