FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

2006

Materials arranged chronologically.

Bergman, Lowell, Eric Lichtblau, Scott Shane, and Don Van Natta, Jr. "Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends." New York Times, 17 Jan. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

After the 9/11 attacks, NSA "began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month. But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans. F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators."

Gertz, Bill. "Intelligence Intransigence." Washington Times, 5 Feb. 2006. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

Intelligence officials say that there "has been opposition to restructuring and reform from bureaucrats within the DNI, CIA and FBI." The FBI "opposed the creation" of a National Security Branch (NSB), combining "the counterterrorism, counterintelligence and intelligence-analysis sections." NSB head Gary W. Bald said "FBI agents have accepted other mission changes through the years, although the new NSB is the latest and most significant." Bald is "a career criminal investigator with little intelligence experience.... The new NSB is working on a comprehensive intelligence-training program and has changed its method of training agents as generalists, instead making two types: specialists devoted to national security work and those who will do criminal investigative work."

Lipton, Eric. "Report Sees Confusion Likely in a Sea Attack by Terrorists." New York Times, 4 Apr. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A report released on 3 April 2006 by the Department of Justice inspector general warned that "[p]otentially disastrous confusion could arise during a terrorist attack on a cruise ship or ferry because of a power struggle" between the FBI and the Coast Guard "over who would be in charge." After 2001, the Coast Guard, a part of DHS, "created 13 specialized teams based at major ports around the nation ... [and] trained to respond to a hostage situation or other maritime terrorism.... The F.B.I., a division of the Justice Department, has 14 of what it calls enhanced maritime SWAT teams and a separate hostage rescue team trained to respond to maritime terrorism....

"The government tried to clarify the roles through an October 2005 document called the Maritime Operational Threat Response." It says the DHS and its agencies, including the Coast Guard, "take the lead 'for the interdiction of maritime threats in waters where D.H.S. normally operates,' American ports and coastal waters. The document says the role of the Justice Department and the F.B.I. is to search for clues to prevent maritime terrorism and, if there is an attack, to investigate and prosecute. But the new report says the 2005 document has 'not eliminated the potential for conflict and confusion in the event of a terrorist incident at a seaport.'"

Stein, Jeff.

1. "Bureau Pines for Labors of Hercules." CQ Weekly, 1 May 2006, 1156-1157.

"[D]espite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an upgrade [of its computer system] that was supposed to allow agents and analysts to share criminal and terrorism files," the FBI still does not have a system to match the CIA's Hercules system. Nonetheless FBI Director Mueller "is dedicated to installing state-of-the-art systems, despite lingering problems." But "for the time being, agents and intelligence analysts are stuck with the present Automated Case Support system, or ACS, which the inspector general calls 'obsolete.'"

2. "FBI Under the Gun." CQ Weekly, 1 May 2006, 1152-1159.

Gary M. Bald's statement in a legal deposition that substantive expertise is not prerequisite for working in the FBI's counterterrorism unit opens this critique of where the FBI is in remaking itself as a domestic intelligence service. Conclusion: "[I]t still has a long way to go"; yet, "[f]or better or worse, counterterrorism is the FBI's game now.... Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI's annual budget has shot up more than 80 percent, from $3.1 billion in fiscal 2000 to $5.7 billion in fiscal 2006.... The FBI's continuing analytical shortcomings have contributed to a number of well-publicized counterterrorism pratfalls."

3. "New Breed of Journeymen G-Men." CQ Weekly, 1 May 2006, 1155.

"New agents now train side by side with budding counterterror analysts."

Waterman, Shaun. "Congress: 'Little Progress' on Intelligence Reform." United Press International, 27 Jul. 2006. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

A report prepared by HPSCI staff, released on 27 July 2006, says that the DNI "has largely failed so far to put in place strategic planning and acquisition systems for the 16 U.S. spy agencies he manages, and 'heavy-handed' efforts to expand his budgetary powers risk provoking a turf war." The report goes on to say that "much progress has been made in better managing the intelligence community's analytic resources, and in identifying 'unintended and unwanted overlaps and, more importantly, critical gaps' in the capabilities of its different agencies. It also praises the changes made by the FBI in restructuring itself and reorienting its mission more towards domestic intelligence gathering, while insisting that much more remains to be done."

Eggen, Dan, and Griff Witte. "The FBI's Upgrade That Wasn't: $170 Million Bought an Unusable Computer System." Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2006, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The reporters review the failure of the FBI's "Virtual Case File (VCF), a networked system for tracking criminal cases that was designed to replace the bureau's antiquated paper files.... The collapse ... stemmed from failures of almost every kind, including poor conception and muddled execution of the steps needed to make the system work, according to outside reviews and interviews with people involved in the project....

"Lawmakers and experts have faulted the FBI for its part in the failed project. But less attention has been paid to the role that the contractor [Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)] played in contributing to the problems." An audit "found that the system delivered by SAIC was so incomplete and unusable that it left the FBI with little choice but to scuttle the effort altogether."

Shane, Scott, and Lowell Bergman. "F.B.I. Struggling to Reinvent Itself to Fight Terror." New York Times, 10 Oct. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Five years after the Sept. 11 attacks spurred a new mission, F.B.I. culture still respects door-kicking investigators more than deskbound analysts sifting through tidbits of data. The uneasy transition into a spy organization has prompted criticism from those who believe that the bureau cannot competently gather domestic intelligence, and others, including some insiders, who fear that it can."

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