Terrorism Focus Set For FBI 

Terrorism Focus Set For FBI 
Posted by CN Staff on May 29, 2002 at 10:18:34 PT
By Susan Schmidt, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
The FBI will shift 480 agents from drug and other criminal investigations to counterterrorism posts and plans to more than double the bureau's anti-terror forces under a major reorganization that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is scheduled to announce today.Mueller's plan, as outlined by law enforcement officials, would permanently devote 2,600 agents -- nearly a quarter of the bureau's 11,500-agent workforce -- to counterterrorism units, which were staffed by 1,000 agents before the Sept. 11 attacks. 
The bureau is also engaged in what it calls a "massive" effort to hire 900 linguists, computer experts, engineers and scientists over the next few months to improve intelligence-gathering and analysis.In a separate development, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft is revising department guidelines to give FBI officials in the field authority to open terrorism investigations and undercover probes without clearance from headquarters. The changes, scheduled to be announced Thursday, are intended to place more decision-making power in the field, even as the gathering and analysis of intelligence are increasingly centralized in Washington.Such authority would have allowed Minnesota agents to seek a warrant to search the laptop computer of Zacarias Moussaoui last August without approval from headquarters, Justice Department officials said. Coleen Rowley, general counsel of the FBI's Minneapolis field office, charged last week in a 13-page letter to Mueller that an official in the FBI's Washington counterterror unit "seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately, thwarting" the effort to obtain such a warrant.Moussaoui was subsequently charged as a co-conspirator in the Sept. 11 attacks.The details revealed yesterday follow other changes previously announced as part of Mueller's attempt to change the FBI from a law enforcement agency to one with a major focus on anticipating and thwarting terror attacks. Many of the proposals are focused on upgrading what Mueller has acknowledged is the FBI's limited ability to gather and analyze intelligence.Officials previously revealed Mueller's plan to establish Washington-based "flying squads" to coordinate national and international investigations. That move is opposed by some field agents, who are already skeptical about the competence of FBI headquarters managers.But Mueller, who took over the FBI Sept. 4 after shaking up the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco, is seeking to bring top agents to headquarters, a move many of them resisted in the past.Mueller is also tapping into CIA resources, putting 50 CIA employees on Joint Terrorism Task Forces in field offices around the country, according to congressional sources briefed on his reorganization plan. Last week, congressional officials confirmed that another 25 CIA employees will join the FBI as counterterrorism analysts.Mueller's emphasis on a stronger role for headquarters in gathering and analyzing counterterror information follows scathing criticism of some Washington supervisors for failing to act on information from field agents in Phoenix and Minneapolis last summer about possible clues that a terror strike was in the works.In addition to the pleas from Minneapolis agents about Moussaoui, counterterror supervisors received a memo last July from a Phoenix agent, warning that al Qaeda terrorists might be training at U.S. aviation schools. Agent Kenneth Williams's suggestion for a wider canvass of those schools was rejected.Mueller has been briefing members of Congress about his proposed changes in closed-door meetings. Sen. Charles R. Grassley (R-Iowa) a frequent FBI critic, said he would be pleased to see agents diverted from drug investigations but is not convinced a stronger role for headquarters is wise."Director Mueller needs to reorganize and reform the FBI, but he has to fix the root of the problem: the bureau's cultural problems with preventing crimes, putting image over substance and cooperating with other agencies," Grassley said. "I think Mueller should take the advice of FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and not try to investigate terrorism out of bureaucrat central, FBI headquarters."One FBI agent with broad experience, including time in counterterrorism, was equally dubious yesterday. "Anything controlled by headquarters is destined to be utterly frustrated," he said.Several field agents said they are adamantly opposed to more interference from headquarters. But some said they were encouraged to learn recently that some highly respected field supervisors are moving to headquarters as part of the new effort.The restrictions on field offices that Ashcroft wants to reverse are an outgrowth of privacy laws that prohibit the government from collecting or archiving information except for law enforcement purposes. In the past, the government developed information for individual cases, officials said, but it now needs a mosaic of intelligence to prevent terrorist acts.The new rules would allow field office chiefs to conduct preliminary inquiries for a full year before seeking additional clearance from headquarters.The continued change in FBI priorities means some of the bureau's traditional duties will shift to other federal agencies and local law enforcers.The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local police would have to fill the gap created by the diversion of 400 FBI agents from narcotics investigations. Mueller has told members of Congress that the FBI will no longer open a major narcotics probe if the DEA can do it instead, according to sources on Capitol Hill.DEA Director Asa Hutchinson said he believes diverting FBI agents to counterterrorism is "the right priority for them," but said the DEA may require more resources. "That will be an issue which we will have to address with Justice and with Congress," he said yesterday.In addition, 59 agents each in violent-crime and white-collar crime units will be shifted to terrorism investigations, according to an outline of Mueller's plan. Thirty-eight of the diverted agents from all three divisions will be placed in the FBI's training division at headquarters.Note: Mueller's Reorganization Would Shift 480 Agents. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Susan Schmidt, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Wednesday, May 29, 2002; Page A01 Copyright: 2002 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles:F.B.I. Director, Facing Criticism, Plans New Focus Reorganization Gets Under Way War on Terrorism Takes Aim at Crime
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on May 29, 2002 at 18:23:26 PT
here is the name I asked for
It's David Frasca:This new cover story lasted barely a week before it was exploded by
          Rowley’s 13-page letter to Mueller and the Senate Intelligence
          Committee. Among other things, Rowley revealed that the local FBI
          reports from Arizona and Minneapolis had ended up on the desk of the
          same official at FBI headquarters, David Frasca, head of the Radical
          Fundamentalists Unit. Even on the morning of September 11, as the
          Minneapolis FBI agents were watching television coverage of the suicide
          attacks on the Twin Towers, Frasca called Rowley to tell her not to
          proceed with an investigation of Moussaoui because Minneapolis might
          “screw up” something else going on elsewhere in the country.It's a name we will be hearing more often now in the mainstream news. Why did he forestall the investigation of suspected terrorists. The article I quote from offers two possibilities: deserve to know the truth and should demand an investigation.
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Comment #5 posted by Lehder on May 29, 2002 at 11:23:57 PT
Who? official
   in the FBI's Washington counterterror unit "seemed to have been consistently, almost
   deliberately, thwarting" the effort to obtain such a warrant.Let's have a name for whomever put the damper on investigating the 9/11 terrorists, and the name of whomever the first name reports to and on up the chain of - generously - incompetence, just like following a line of cocaine all the way to Jorge Ochoa or Pablo Escobar. Let's see who's at the top and arrest the terrorist kingpins.How many agents were at Rainbow Farms? Over 100, I recall. Spending four days immediately prior to 9/11 to kill two peaceniks and keep a blackout on the news lest Americans find out that cannabis is a blessing that INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY, PREVENTS CANCER, STOPS PAIN, and ENRICHES LIVES.I voted Libertarian in part because Harry Browne would have disbanded both the FBI and the DEA upon taking office. We don't need them.
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Comment #4 posted by darwin on May 29, 2002 at 11:16:22 PT
Crime falls in cannabis trial area
News flash from the BBCCrime falls in cannabis trial areaThe south London borough which is piloting a scheme to treat cannabis offenders more leniently has seen a dramatic drop in the level of street crimes. 
The number of robberies and muggings in Lambeth has halved in the last six months, and the latest figures for this month show the trend is continuing. Police have stemmed the rate of increase in the number of street crimes right across London. But the drop in Lambeth is considerable, according to figures released on Wednesday. There is a massive saving of resources achieved by this reduction in crime 
Det Supt Jim Webster, Lambeth Police There were 468 robberies and muggings in the Lambeth area last month, compared with 916 in October. So far this year, robbery is down by 18% - the highest street crime reduction in London. Police say the use of traffic officers on robbery patrols and operations targeted at known suspects have helped bring about the reduction. Cannabis warning Senior officers also acknowledge the contribution by the borough's former Commander Brian Paddick, who was removed from his post in March. His scheme, to warn those caught in possession of cannabis rather than arrest them, was part of a plan enabling police to focus on street crime. Detective Superintendent Jim Webster, crime manager for Lambeth Police, said: "There are some 450 fewer people per month becoming victims of street robbery now as compared to six months ago. "This the result of concentrated effort from many agencies within the borough. Successful initiatives "There is a massive saving of resources achieved by this reduction in crime." Police said successful initiatives included the use of robbery response cars operating six days per week between 1600 and 0200 BST Monday to Saturday. Police, working with Lambeth housing department, have also been targeting convicted youngsters and teenagers suspected of involvement in crime. Their parents are being visited and in some cases they have been warned that their children's behaviour could lead to their eviction. Police have also concentrated on a number of Tube stations to carry out crime prevention and have installed surveillance cameras at key crime hotspots. 
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Comment #3 posted by darwin on May 29, 2002 at 11:05:57 PT
A DEA Response
Now for a rsponse from an anonymous DEA agent, courtesy of"Tomorrow's announcement by Robert Mueller on the changes in feebdom is good news for DEA... the narcotics turf returns to our domain. Wherego the feebs, so goes DEA... The feebs will get more money, so will we. This will mean more DO's and more ASACs and GSs. S/As with no case histories or court time will soon find themselves running groups and offices. But the best part of all... we won't have to show a single thumb's up on arrests! We can continue to be the non-productive, sorrowful waste of taxpayer money. Eventually, some president will have to do a 'Nixon' on DEA... either abolish or reconstitute us. But, for the meantime, lets all just sit back and enjoy our fed paychecks... whoever said 'working welfare' was indecent never worked for DEA. We are the 'working welfare' agency. The only work we do is collect our paychecks." 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 29, 2002 at 10:59:18 PT
I'm Watching CNN
They want to take 400 agents from drugs and transfer them to another agency. Why don't they legalize marijuana and they can have ALL of the agents assigned to cases on marijuana. That is such a good idea. Why don't they think of it? They really should before our country goes broke trying to do it all.
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on May 29, 2002 at 10:45:22 PT
Here's Your Chance
If you speak Farsi or Pashtun, Urdu or Indonesian, your government wants you. A chance to serve your country, or perhaps live under its bootheel. Maybe you, too, can serve selflessly for years only to have some know-nothing seeking a scapegoat accuse you of treason because you're still not a WASP-member of the good-old-boy network swilling beer and engaging in racist fun and hijinks.Here's your chance.
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