It is entirely up to the individual whether or not to provide information to the FBI via the ITL website. Furthermore, the system will allow a tip to be filed without identifying details, and the submitter may even request that their name be kept private. The FBI can then review these reports without revealing the identity of the informant.
It is received by the FBI's Public Access Center Unit, which processes all tips. One of the most essential things to understand about the FBI's tip line, which can be found at www.fbi.gov, is that every piece of information given by an individual is evaluated by FBI staff at FBI Headquarters. The only thing that can trigger a follow-up investigation is if the caller indicates he or she is in danger.
In other words, even if you give someone else's name as a reference, we will still need your permission before investigating anyone else. Also, details such as address, phone number, and email address are used only to identify you and to communicate with you if necessary. These are not made available to any other agency or department within the federal government.
Finally, the FBI does not disclose whether or not it has investigated a person based on a single telephone call. However, based on published reports, we know that the FBI investigates many people who have gone to great lengths to let them know they oppose terrorism. This includes some who have expressed their opposition through acts such as flying airplanes into buildings, but also includes those who have taken more peaceful action.
All tips are kept totally confidential. There is never a request for personal information, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, IP addresses, or location. A third-party service provider handles all tips. You will never come into personal touch with a law enforcement officer.
Anonymity can be an advantage in some situations. For example, if you are having problems at home and don't want to get your partner involved, calling the police may be the best option for you. However, keep in mind that if you do choose to use this option, you will need to tell them specifically what's going on so they can respond appropriately.
Anonymous tips are useful in cases where there is no other way of getting help. For example, if you witness a crime but aren't sure who did it, you can call the police and leave your name blank in case they need to contact you later. This allows them to deal with things as quickly as possible while still giving them enough information to work with.
Overall, anonymous tip lines are a very effective tool for sending vital information to law enforcement officials. They allow people to reach out when they need help, even if they don't feel like dealing with the issue face-to-face.
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ASKED OF YOU BY ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, INCLUDING THE FBI. You have the right to speak with an attorney at any time, and you have the right to stay silent at all times. Anything you say can be used as evidence in court.
There are several reasons why the FBI may want to interview you as a witness. For example:
Your name may have come up during the investigation of another case. In this situation, the FBI would like to ask you some questions about what you knew about the other incident.
You may have been contacted by an FBI agent who will be conducting the interview. This is usually the case when you receive a letter from the FBI requesting an appointment to discuss the details of your testimony.
You may be called to testify before a federal grand jury. If this happens, the FBI will contact you once more to let you know when you should report to court.
If you can't make it to one of these interviews, do not worry about it. Just because they did not get a chance to interview you does not mean that you cannot still help out with the investigation. You may be able to give useful information through other means, such as phone calls or emails.