FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

2009

Materials arranged chronologically.

Lichtblau, Eric. "Justice Dept. Finds Flaws in F.B.I. Terror List." New York Times, 7 May 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, released on 6 May 2009, says that the FBI "has incorrectly kept nearly 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list on the basis of outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while missing people with genuine ties to terrorism who should have been on the list.... By the beginning of 2009, the report said, this consolidated government watch list comprised about 400,000 people, recorded as 1.1 million names and aliases, an exponential growth from the days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Meyer, Josh. "FBI Planning a Bigger Role in Terrorism Fight." Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2009. [http://www.latimes.com]

Under the still developing "global justice" initiative, the FBI and Justice Department will "significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.... The approach effectively reverses a mainstay of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, in which global counter-terrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem, not a law enforcement one."

Blood, Michael R. "FBI Director Defends Use of Informants in Mosques." Associated Press, 8 Jun. 2009. [http://www.ap.com]

On 8 June 2009, FBI Director Robert Mueller "defended the agency's use of informants within U.S. mosques, despite complaints from Muslim organizations that worshippers and clerics are being targeted instead of possible terrorists."

Schmitt, Eric. "F.B.I. Agents' Role Is Transformed by Terror Fight." New York Times, 19 Aug. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The author spent two days with a 21-member FBI threat squad, known as Counterterrorism 6, or CT-6, based out of Norwalk, CA. The FBI "now ranks fighting terrorism as its No. 1 priority. It has doubled the number of agents assigned to counterterrorism duties to roughly 5,000 people, and has created new squads across the country that focus more on deterring and disrupting terrorism than on solving crimes. But the manpower costs of this focus are steep, and the benefits not always clear.... The threat squad here is just one part of the F.B.I.'s sprawling Los Angeles field office. About 30 percent of the office's 750 agents work on terrorism cases, including Al Qaeda, Hamas, terrorism financing and animal rights extremists."

Savage, Charles. "F.B.I. Is Slow to Translate Intelligence, Report Says." New York Times, 27 Oct. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A report issued on 26 October 2009 by the office of Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine says that the FBI's "collection of wiretapped phone calls and intercepted e-mail has been soaring in recent years, but the bureau is failing to review 'significant amounts' of such material partly for lack of translators." In a statement, the FBI "said that it was working to reduce its backlog of unreviewed audio recordings and electronic documents, and that it continued seeking to hire or contract with more linguists."

Savage, Charles. "Loosening of F.B.I. Rules Stirs Privacy Concerns." New York Times, 29 Oct. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Released in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the FBI's "Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide" has "opened the widest window yet onto how agents have been given greater power in the post-Sept. 11 era.... One section lays out a low threshold to start investigating a person or group as a potential security threat. Another allows agents to use ethnicity or religion as a factor -- as long as it is not the only one -- when selecting subjects for scrutiny....

"The manual authorizes agents to open an 'assessment' to 'proactively' seek information about whether people or organizations are involved in national security threats. Agents may begin such assessments against a target without a particular factual justification.... Assessments permit agents to use potentially intrusive techniques, like sending confidential informants to infiltrate organizations and following and photographing targets in public. F.B.I. agents previously had similar powers when looking for potential criminal activity. But until the recent changes, greater justification was required to use the powers in national security investigations because they receive less judicial oversight....

"When selecting targets, agents are permitted to consider political speech or religion as one criterion. The manual tells agents not to engage in racial profiling, but it authorizes them to take into account 'specific and relevant ethnic behavior' and to 'identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities.'"

Johnson, Carrie. "FBI to Probe Panels that Reviewed E-mails from Alleged Fort Hood Gunman." Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The FBI announced on 8 December 2009 that William H. Webster, former FBI director and DCI, will conduct "an independent investigation into the policies and actions of two bureau task forces that reviewed e-mails from the alleged Fort Hood shooter [Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan] in the months before the Nov. 5 massacre at the Army base." Webster "will have the authority to make recommendations about FBI guidelines for national security probes and possible changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

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