Monday, June 20, 2005


The problem with the FBI is that it has been politicized

David Johnston of the New York Times was allowed to print a piece that nibbled at the surface of this. Here are excerpts: A lawyer who interviewed a number of top current and former counterterrorism officials at the F.B.I. in connection with a lawsuit against the bureau has written to three senators saying the officials lacked a detailed understanding of terrorism and had been promoted to top jobs despite having had little experience in the field.... Mr. Kohn's complaints, although clearly advocacy statements by a lawyer pressing his client's legal claims, are likely to be taken more seriously because they are similar to the findings of reports by recent independent review panels that have criticized the bureau's progress in correcting the flaws exposed by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks....Mr. Youssef has filed a lawsuit complaining that after the Sept. 11 attacks, he was unfairly kept out of counterterrorism matters because of his ethnicity. He speaks fluent Arabic and has extensive knowledge of the Middle East and terrorist organizations. The FBI (and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies) seem to have reverted to the monoculture that prevailed under J. Edgard Hoover. White, conservative men like Aldrich Ames are promoted whatever their qualifications. People of other ethnicities such as Sibel Edmonds find themselves locked out. And politically, the Bureau has devoted vastly more resources into investigating marginal "threats" from the left while being caught with their pants around their ankles by white supremacists like William Krar, who was arrested by local law enforcement. Anyone who really cares about this country should want to see a Bureau that is balanced, including people of all sorts. That's the best possible check (besides citizen oversight) that a democracy could want on an agency that has such extraordinary powers. The monoculture that has evolved is not so many few steps away from become a nightmare agency as we see in totalitarian societies.
A-yep. Ironically, Clinton's attempt at a goodwill gesture -- putting Republican partisan Louis Freeh in charge of the Bureau -- not only backfired on Clinton, but allowed a partisan hack like Freeh to spend more time playing politics than dealing with crime and terrorism.
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