WASHINGTON—FBI director Robert S. Mueller III announced Monday that the entire manpower of his increasingly disillusioned agency has been diverted into a massive nationwide search for some semblance of genuine, concrete truth.
"After years of investigating all the things people do to one another, from murder to mail fraud, every agent at the bureau's disposal has been reassigned to track down something—anything—that could still be considered pure and true," the world-weary Mueller said. "We are currently working around the clock to pinpoint the exact location of any shred of goodness left in humanity, and will not rest until this ineffable notion is finally in our custody."
Added Mueller, "If some inkling of truth is out there, the FBI will find it."
The existential hunt, underway across all 50 states, is the largest initiative launched by the FBI to date. So far, nearly 8,000 federal agents have been mobilized to search for the intangible concept, with several units being deployed to watch the setting sun, walk barefoot through fields of grass, and "listen—truly listen" to the laughter of children in hopes of tracking it down.
In addition, the FBI has reportedly started selling off all its belongings, including even its highly prized forensic spectral analysis equipment, in the event that divesting itself of worldly possessions will bring it closer to locating the elusive truth.
According to an interoffice memorandum, all FBI employees have also been instructed to throw their cell phones into the Potomac River.
"We are following several leads," said Mueller, who was seen Monday leaving the agency's entire $6.4 billion budget next to a homeless man sleeping on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. "Reliable witnesses have said that truth may be hiding in a good, honest day's work, or is potentially being harbored in something as simple as a butterfly alighting on a chrysanthemum."
"At this time, we are also attempting to verify CIA intelligence which seems to indicate that the only real truth is living one's life not by any philosophy, but simply by being kind and decent and good," Mueller continued.
Several agents contacted for interviews told reporters they have been dispatched on investigative cross-country road trips in beat-up Volkswagen vans, while others have been ordered to take peyote and wander through Joshua Tree National Park in an effort to obtain clues from animal spirit guides.
Mueller also said there would be an international component to the search. Dozens of officials have been assigned to vaccinate orphans in African villages, and 80 additional agents have been told to lose and then find themselves again while backpacking across India. The FBI is reportedly counting on these missions to provide some insight into the whereabouts of anything resembling an unadulterated ethical certitude.
"Our internal affairs division has been authorized to use every self-interrogation method at its disposal," Mueller said. "After all, if the clues we've gathered from the Bhagavad Gita concerning the Paramatman aspect of the Brahman are in fact accurate, divine purity and truth may very well be traced right back to each of our hearts."
At press time, the FBI said that it had detained a number of Tibetan monks, philosophy professors, and Sufi scholars as "persons of interest."
Though many government agencies have been supportive of the FBI's dogged pursuit of a potential universal morality, others said that the bureau is prone to these types of large-scale philosophical dragnets and will soon return to normal.
"You'll see. They'll get tired of this whole silly thing soon enough," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "This is just like when they botched that big heroin ring bust a couple years ago and everyone over there became a Buddhist for two months."