I’m reminded of just how prominent the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is in American popular culture each time I pass the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. On our private tours, people tend to respond with an audible “Ah” and a nod the moment the see the building, remembering the many books, movies, and TV shows that feature the FBI.
My personal favorite is Agent Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. The next question often is, “Can we take a tour?” FBI building tours were suspended indefinitely in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but that’s not the end of the story. While the Bureau cited security concerns and costs as the primary reasons for discontinuing the public tour, in 2008 they opened an education center inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building as a source of training for new employees and to instruct its law enforcement partners (state, local, international, etc.). About a year ago on August 25, 2014 the FBI began a pilot program that opened the FBI Education Center to the public. Now anyone can request a visit to the FBI building in advance.
Here are the requirements: the FBI requires potential visitors to request a tour through on of their members of congress about 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Advance notice is required so that the Bureau can conduct a security background check for each visitor in advance. Times are also limited to visits Monday through Thursday during normal business ours. So the good news is everyone can visit the FBI Building if plans are made in advance. And if you pass the background check! For the most part, people have remained unaware that a visit is possible. Custom Tours of DC is happy to help you plan a private customized tour that includes a visit to the FBI Building. Please contact us!