Intelligence: November 15, 2002


Despite the success of the FBI in exposing some al Qaeda cells in the United States, there is criticism from Congress and the CIA over the FBI's inability to turn itself into an intelligence agency. The FBI is basically a national police investigative organization. Historically, the FBI gets a case and then investigates like any police force would, with the objective being to build a case so the suspects can be tried and convicted in court. An intelligence agency is a rather different beast. Most of the time, an intelligence agency collects information and analyses it. The CIA doesn't arrest anyone, but does pass on important data for other agencies of the government to act on (mainly the Department of Defense or State Department.) The FBI is now in charge of domestic intelligence gathering, and members of Congress who have been able to grill FBI officials in public, and classified, sessions are not encouraged by what they hear. Many senior members of Congress have heard testimony from CIA officials, so they know what an intelligence agency is and how it operates. It's been noted that the CIA often detects terrorist operations offshore that the FBI has a hard time picking up on when it appears that some of the terrorists have headed for America. The FBI, so far, is acting mainly like the traditional FBI. Part of the problem is outside the FBIs control, for the United States has long forbidden domestic intelligence gathering unless it is in support of a specific criminal investigation. The FBI appears to be treating the war on terror like it was some foreign criminal organization operating within the United States. This approach has not inspired much confidence in Congress, and there's a move towards creating a domestic intelligence organization within the new Department of Homeland Security. The FBI will fight this, as they see it as stepping on their turf. The bureaucratic battle will be interesting, although fatal to any American killed by terrorists who went undetected in the process.


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close