Struggling FBI

Scott Shane has another article nailing the inability for the government to react to the threat before us, in this case the FBI –

“If you look at, for example, the four key ingredients for counterterrorism success — agents, analysts, managers and computers — the F.B.I. is struggling to get the basics right on all of them,” Ms. Zegart said. “New agents still get more time for vacation than they do for counterterrorism training. Analysts are still treated as glorified secretaries.”

“You need leadership. You don’t need subject-matter expertise,” said Gary M. Bald, whom Mr. Mueller named last year as the first head of the National Security Branch, admitting in a 2005 deposition that he knew little about Islam.

But the good news is there is a group of agents who have broken out of the hierarchy –

“The F.B.I. needs to follow the lead of the small group of agents who’ve made themselves experts,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, a consultant to the bureau and Scotland Yard and author of a book and Web site devoted to Al Qaeda.

But the bad news is-

Mr. Kohlmann said the dozen agents who knew international terror networks best were rarely brought in on local cases.

Bottom line: 5 years later and no real improvement.

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  • purpleslog
    Oct 11, 2006

    The FBI is still fundementally a crime fighting organization. A seperate domestic security intelligence service should be created – an American MI-5. The FBI’s National Security division will never fill that need.

  • Another option:

    It’s already there in the form of police departments walking the beat. Shift resources from the federal government to the local and get enough cops to both walk the beat and rapid response. Build an information platform to let the entire ecosystem of local police forces interact. Break down the police force hierarchy and allow for Israeli type military promotion (Colonel by 30?).

    Basically I don’t think the federal government is the body to handle that task.

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