Cannabis News DrugSense
††Did The Drug War Claim Another 3,056 Casualties?
Posted by CN Staff on June 03, 2002 at 13:32:09 PT
By Arianna Huffington†
Source: Arianna Online

justice The Phoenix memo. The Rowley letter. The Oklahoma red flag. All elements in this true and tragic story of fumbling feds that has more smoking guns than a Quentin Tarantino movie. So why did the FBI, whose job it is find smoking guns, fail to see the smoking guns popping up all around it?

In announcing his big reorganization plans, Director Robert Mueller seemed to consider the FBIís tragedy of errors a question of flawed management flow charts, nothing that a rejiggered PowerPoint presentation couldnít fix. But there was a much more fundamental problem plaguing the bureau before Sept. 11. And it wasnít one of office politics, but of office-wide priorities. Namely, the agency's crippling addiction to America's war on drugs.

While Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida minions were diligently preparing for their murderous mission, the FBI was looking the other way with equal determination. More than twice as many FBI agents were assigned to fighting drugs (2,500) than fighting terrorism (1,151). And a far greater amount of the FBI's financial resources was dedicated to the war on drugs.

And this pathological prioritization of the drug war extended well beyond the allocation of money and manpower. It was ingrained in the culture. Counterterrorism units were treated like the bureau's ugly stepchildren, looked down upon by FBI management because they weren't making the kind of high-profile arrests that spruce up a supervisor's resume and make the evening news. Let's face it, canvassing flight schools in search of suspicious students is nowhere near as sexy as one of those big drug busts with the bags of coke or bales of pot piled high for the cameras.

Itís now painfully clear that there were terror warning signs aplenty but that they were disregarded by distracted FBI officials who had their eyes on a very different prize.

In Phoenix, where the now infamous Ken Williams memo originated, counterterrorism agents complained bitterly about their efforts being given "the lowest investigative priority" by a supervisor who preferred glamorous drug-fighting investigations. Even though the anti-terror squad was understaffed, having been assigned only eight of the division's 200 agents, it had managed to infiltrate groups of suspected terrorists through the use of paid informants, including a man who was being trained to be a suicide bomber. They had also uncovered local men with ties to World Trade Center bomber Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and to a virulently anti-American Muslim organization linked to al-Qaida.

So what was their reward for all this? Regular head-butting sessions with higher ups who balked at having to allocate resources for information that didn't lead to immediate arrests. Iíll bet doubloons to donuts that the Phoenix agents doling out cash to drug case snitches very rarely ran up against the same sort of resistance -- what one veteran terrorism squad member described as "micromanaging, constant indecision, and stonewalling."

Meanwhile, across the country in Boston, Raed Hijazi, an admitted al-Qaida member who had become an informant in exchange for avoiding jail, tried to warn FBI agents about Arab terrorists and sympathizers, particularly Nabil al-Marabh, a member of an al-Qaida terrorist cell who was arrested in the wake of 9-11. But the FBI wasn't interested in Hijaziís terror leads -- they only wanted to hear what he knew about heroin being smuggled into America from Afghanistan.

And it wasn't just the FBI. This Drug War Uber-Alles mindset infected the entire law enforcement community, starting at the top. "I want to escalate the war on drugs," said Attorney General John Ashcroft in his first interview after being nominated for the post. "I want to renew it. I want to refresh it." And he was true to his word. Witness the $43 million the Bush administration gave to the Taliban just four months before Sept. 11. Sure there was the small detail of harboring a guy named bin Laden, but the Taliban had agreed to ban the production of opium poppies. And so the drug war trumped the terror war once again.

So is this kind of thinking finally a thing of the past? I'm not so sure. Even after last week's highly touted reorganization, which included the reassignment of 400 narcotics agents to counterterrorism, there will still be 2,100 agents spending their invaluable time and energy fighting a fruitless drug war. This despite the fact that combating drugs didn't even make Director Mueller's official Top Ten list of priorities.

Which raises the question: if the drug war is suddenly lower on the FBI pecking order than combating white collar crime (#7), protecting civil rights (#5), and taking on public corruption at all levels (#4 with a bullet!), then how come 1 out of 6 agents will still be working that beat? The numbers just don't add up.

According to high-ranking FBI officials, Mueller originally intended to pull the plug on his agency's involvement in the drug war, shifting every one of his counternarcotics agents to counterterrorism activities, but was talked out of it by drug war generals who can't admit defeat. Not only should the White House follow though on Mueller's instinct and choose the war on terror over the war against drugs, they should insist that the FBI hire new kinds of people to fight this new kind of war.

"Merely reassigning traditional FBI agents to fight terrorism isnít enough," former senator Gary Hart, who co-chaired the U.S. Commission on National Security, told me. "The new counterterror team should be more like the Delta Force. Not standard-issue agents in dark suits and ties, but young, imaginative 21st century investigators recruited from outside the bureau."

At the same time, we should make sure that the administration doesn't just transfer the drug war and its attendant lavish funding from the FBI to the DEA, which will no doubt show up on the Hill any day now, looking for more money to take up the drug fighting slack.

As the soaring budget deficit reminds us, federal coffers are not a bottomless well.

Everything comes with a price. Sadly, it's looking more and more like the price of the drug war may have included the 3,056 lives lost on Sept. 11.

Complete Title: Did The Drug War Claim Another 3,056 Casualties On 9-11?

Newshawk: mp
Source: Arianna Online
Author: Arianna Huffington
Published: June 3, 2002
Copyright: 2002 Christabella, Inc.

Related Articles:

FBI Changes Prompt Fear in Drug War

Terrorism Focus Set For FBI

F.B.I. Director, Facing Criticism, Plans New Focus

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Comment #11 posted by Zero_G on June 04, 2002 at 12:59:42 PT
also grows cannibis. The Hindu-Kush region is world renowned for its hashish.

small point, but, we do wish to remain accurate.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Lehder on June 03, 2002 at 18:46:48 PT
if they nuke us...
it will have been made possible by the uncrackable smuggling routes that feed tons of cocaine and heroin to the US, immune to the best efforts of the DEA, FBI, Customs Service, and the Border Patrol, and all made possible by the "war on drugs." The device will be delivered in a big box that has been stenciled with the red letters "C O C A I N E". A crooked cop will accept a couple of thousand dollars for passing along the box that he thinks contains dope.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #9 posted by mayan on June 03, 2002 at 18:23:53 PT
Formal Website Launch...
9-11 and the Public Safety: Seeking Answers and Accountability -

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #8 posted by Tigress58 on June 03, 2002 at 17:39:30 PT
Who Financed the Terrorists?
It's interesting that the Super Bowl government ads, say smoke a joint, do drugs, you finance terrorist. But who was it that gave the Taliban the $43 million in the first place? Was it the Bush Administration? Who really financed the terrorist? It wasn't the joint I bought. Afaganistan grows heroine, not weed.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #7 posted by xxdr_zombiexx on June 03, 2002 at 16:59:53 PT
I have been saying this since day One.
A lot of us have.

**In Phoenix, where the now infamous Ken Williams memo originated, counterterrorism agents complained bitterly about their efforts being given "the lowest investigative priority" by a supervisor who preferred glamorous drug-fighting investigations. **

I tell people over and over the FBI Uniform Crime Report for the past year shows the record 750,000+ people arrested for cannabis possession, eclipsscing all other crime COMBINED. This clearly evidences where law enforcement has spent its time.

All they wanna do now is more of the same, evidenced by further raids on California Medical cannabis sites (AND taking that man's 2.5 grams he had fought for for 2 years) when al Queda is allegedly gonna whack us a good one again.

Id like to think that some people are going to tire of the Pot NAzi Approach.


[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by mayan on June 03, 2002 at 16:51:46 PT
It's All Relative...
Is Bush Using the FBI As A Scapegoat?

FBI's shifting versions on missed 9/11 warnings:

Warnings a poor cover up for Bush's past mistakes:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by gloovins on June 03, 2002 at 16:02:07 PT
Rather Pay4 Pot Eradocation or Terrorists ?
Did The Drug War Claim Another 3,056 Casualties On 9-11?



Put 1/20 of their annual balooning disgraceful budget into an AGRESSIVE U.S. AIR MARSHAL PROGRAM wheras EVERY commercial Flight into or exiting the USA (yes folks this IS possible! read nxt paragraph) has at least one firearm or tranquil gun.

Ck out the DEAth's budget kids! 10 billion or something? I dont have the desire to search google but I know its up there.

"But abolish the DEA? MMM, I don't want drugs coming into this country, even though I know its impossible to stop, my kids & my car & driving blah blah blaH...Blah b lah bl ah ..."

Yes, if you Abolish the DEA then ahhhh *poof* there goes any chance for these rouge terrorists syndicates to profiteer & they go away as their black market is OVER. I.E. NO MORE GROSS EXAGGERATED PROFITS to be made. Bam, done.

Now would/could this have happened if Nixon hadn't created the DEAth machine? Most likely. There was alot of "sky-jacking" back then in the 70's, its somewhat not so shocking this didn't happen sooner. We should have listened to the Shafer Report AND GOTTEN PRIORITIES DAMMIT!

Hey ECHEOLON peeps & gov't employees (who we all know our tax dollars pay for them to snoop on us) reading this:

Quit your job & be an AIR MARSHAL & do something productive for your country with my tax money you take every paycheck I get you DOPEheads.

Prioritize, for a safer planet.

Write-In Gov. Gary Johnson / Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2004.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 03, 2002 at 14:20:56 PT
More than 120 FBI agents, State Police officers and Cass County Sheriff's deputies were at or near the scene during the standoff.

Police Defend Shootings of 2 Men at Rainbow Farm

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by null on June 03, 2002 at 14:14:13 PT
just do it
According to high-ranking FBI officials, Mueller originally intended to pull the plug on his agency's involvement in the drug war, shifting every one of his counternarcotics agents to counterterrorism activities, but was talked out of it by drug war generals who can't admit defeat.

For the love of humanity, DO IT, Mueller!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by p4me on June 03, 2002 at 14:04:23 PT
How about some info?
I dedicated some of my spare time last week to looking up the archives of Rainbow Farms here and at MAPinc. I could only find the mention of 120 FBI agents in one comment. I could not find the number in any article. I do remember an article several months ago that mentioned the number 50 but it was a slanted article and I do not believe that number.

Does anyone have a link that talks about the FBI force at Rainbow Farms last Labor Day?


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by krutch on June 03, 2002 at 13:50:40 PT:

This Author is Right on the Money
The FBI wasted much time on chasing after contraband instead of concentrating on truly dangerous enemies of the state. This is why the Bush adminstration has scurried to tie drugs to terrorism. The link is tenious at best.

Americans are waking up. It is time for the government to stop policing the personal habits of its citzens, and start dealing with real criminals.

[ Post Comment ]

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