FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

2008

Materials arranged chronologically.

CNN. "Phone Companies Cut FBI Wiretaps Due to Unpaid Bills." Associated Press, 10 Jan. 2008. [http://www.cnn.com]

According to an audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released on 10 January 2008, "[t]elephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time." The audit "blamed the lost connections on the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. Poor supervision of the program also allowed one agent to steal $25,000, the audit said." That agent "pleaded guilty [to the theft] in June 2006."

Lichtblau, Eric. "Error Gave F.B.I. Unauthorized Access to E-Mail." New York Times, 17 Feb. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to an internal report, a "technical glitch" in 2006 gave the FBI "access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network -- perhaps hundreds of accounts or more -- instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved" by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court "as part of a national security investigation.... The records were ultimately destroyed, officials said."

Eggen, Dan. "FBI Chief Confirms Misuse of Subpoenas: Security Letters Used to Get Personal Data." Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2008. A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 5 March 2008, "FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told senators ... that agents improperly used" national security letters, a type of administrative subpoena, "to obtain personal data about Americans until internal reforms were enacted last year."

Jordan, Lara Jakes. "Audit: FBI Watchlist Data Error-Riddled." Associated Press, 17 Mar. 2008. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

An audit released on 17 March 2008 by "Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine gave the FBI a mixed review for its process of submitting an estimated 8,000 names and other data to the terror watchlist that is compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies. It found that the FBI has proper training and other internal controls in place to help make sure names of suspected terrorists were accurately added to the list. However, Fine's report rapped the FBI for failing to consistently pass along newly discovered information about people on the watchlist, or to remove those who were no longer deemed a threat."

United Press International. "New FBI Washington Intel Head Named." 19 Mar. 2008. [http://www.upi.com]

FBI Director Robert Mueller has named Michelle Jupina as the special agent in charge (SAC) of intelligence for the Washington field office. She replaces Timothy Healy, who will be the new deputy assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence at FBI headquarters.

Nakashima, Ellen. "FBI Backs Off From Secret Order for Data After Lawsuit." Washington Post, 8 May 2008, D1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The FBI has withdrawn a national security letter (NSL) "seeking the name, address and online activity of a patron of the Internet Archive after the San Francisco-based digital library filed suit to block the action." The FBI also agreed to drop the accompanying gag order.

New York Times. "F.B.I. Says It Obtained Reporters' Phone Records." 9 Aug. 2008, A15 (NY). [http://www.nytimes.com]

The FBI said on 8 August 2008 that "that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post in the newspapers' Indonesia bureaus in 2004.... F.B.I. officials said the incident came to light as part of the continuing review by the Justice Department inspector general's office into the bureau's improper collection of telephone records through 'emergency' records demands issued to phone providers."

Lichtblau, Eric. "New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers." New York Times, 21 Aug. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"[F]our Democratic senators told Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in a letter on [20 August 2008] that they were troubled by what they heard" about a Justice Department plan that "would loosen restrictions" on the FBI "to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion.... The Justice Department said ... that in light of requests from members of Congress for more information," Mukasey "would agree not to sign the new guidelines before a Sept. 17 Congressional hearing."

Lichtblau, Eric. "Terror Plan Would Give F.B.I. More Power." New York Times, 13 Sep. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 12 September 2008, the Justice Department announced "a plan to expand the tools the Federal Bureau of Investigation can use to investigate suspicions of terrorism inside the United States, even without any direct evidence of wrongdoing.... Under existing guidelines, F.B.I. agents cannot use certain investigative tools in conducting so-called threat assessments as a precursor to a preliminary or full inquiry. The revisions would allow agents to conduct public surveillance of someone, do 'pretext' interviews -- pose as someone other than an agent or disguise the purpose of the questions -- or send in an undercover source to gather information."

Gorman, Siobhan, and Evan Perez. "FBI Wrestling With Remake as Intelligence Agency: Critics Say Bureau Needs Culture Shift; Director to Testify." Wall Street Journal, 16 Sep. 2008. [http://online.wsj.com]

According to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, an internal study performed last year found a number of weak points in the FBI's efforts to "remak[e] itself into a domestic-intelligence organization." These include "an insufficient number and quality of intelligence sources; a lack of understanding of what information should be collected; intelligence officers with limited awareness of their local areas; and quality-control problems with analysis.... FBI officials said they are implementing fixes to address the problems."

Gertz, Bill. "Ex-Official Reports Counterintelligence Is Weak." Washington Times, 30 Sep. 2008. [http://www.washtimes.com]

In a report made public on 29 September 2008, former National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) Michelle Van Cleave said that "U.S. government efforts to counter foreign spies remains fragmented and weak.... [T]he FBI, CIA and other federal counterspy units lack both a needed focus and strategy for thwarting the growing foreign intelligence threat."

Written for "the private Project on National Security Reform, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group," the report notes that while "the FBI is skilled at enforcing counterespionage and related laws," it is not 'organized, trained or equipped to collect or analyze intelligence on the extensive foreign intelligence presence in the United States beyond those personnel here under official or journalistic cover, or to develop or execute offensive operations to mislead, deny or otherwise exploit foreign intelligence activities against the United States.'"

Lichtblau, Eric, David Johnston, and Ron Nixon. "F.B.I. Struggles to Handle Financial Fraud Cases." New York Times, 19 Oct. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The FBI "is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country's economic crisis.... The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation's economic woes."

CNN. "U.S. Policymakers Mull Creation of Domestic Intelligence Agency." 20 Oct. 2008. [http://www.cnn.com]

On 20 October 2008, "at the request of Congress, the RAND Corporation outlined the pros and cons of establishing a domestic intelligence agency. It also discussed different ways to organize a new entity, either as part of an existing department or as a new agency."

Mueller, Robert S., III. "Protecting the United States from Terrorism and Crime...It Always Begins with Intelligence." Intelligencer 16, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 27-30.

Based on a speech given to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego, CA, 10 November 2008, the FBI Director focuses on partnerships with local law enforcement and "tools," including geospatial mapping, task forces, and COMPSTAT.

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