John McCaslin

FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue is gearing up for July 26 — the bureau's 100th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, the FBI has been piecing together its lengthy crime-fighting history, including pulling from its files several classic gangster photos featuring the likes of John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.

The FBI originated from a force of "special agents" created in 1908 by Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, who served under President Theodore Roosevelt. Up until then, the Justice Department had to call on the Secret Service to conduct its investigations.

"This situation frustrated Bonaparte, who wanted complete control of investigations under his jurisdiction," the FBI notes.

So he appointed his own force of 34 special agents, 10 of them Secret Service veterans, and ordered them to report for duty on July 26, 1908.

This corps "had neither a name nor an officially designated leader other than the attorney general. Yet, these former detectives and Secret Service men were the forerunners of the FBI," the bureau says.

Today, under Robert S. Mueller III, the sixth director of the FBI, the bureau numbers 30,500 employees, including 12,568 special agents and 17,920 support professionals — intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists and others — tasked with everything from protecting the country from terrorist attack to investigating public corruption and violent crime.

Here's to Mort

Ted Lerner, whose group of Washington-area businessmen owns the Washington Nationals, has informed Washington journalist Morton Kondracke where he can grab a nonalcoholic beer or two at the newly opened Nationals Park.

"You can print this: 'Mr. Lerner, where is the nonalcoholic beer?' " Mr. Kondracke had told Inside the Beltway when we bumped into him in the sprawling concourse of the new stadium, during which time he opined that he liked the old RFK Stadium better.

"I have to apologize to the Lerners," Mr. Kondracke now calls to tell us, "they do have nonalcoholic beer at the new stadium. They did not have nonalcoholic beer ever at RFK, so I like the new stadium better."

Lady and son

If offered, syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Reagan says he will accept the vice presidential nomination.

He explained on his Radio America show that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is qualified to be president because she lived in the White House for eight years as "first lady," then surely he is qualified to be a vice president after his eight years there as "first son."

No. 2?

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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