A current editorial piece by Dan K. Thomasson, entitled “The FBI doesn't play well,” excoriates the FBI for historically and currently running roughshod over other law enforcement agencies.
There is little new in recent reports of a long-standing feud between the nation's two top law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In fact, since 1924 when J. Edgar Hoover took over the ineffectual and corrupt Bureau of Investigation in the Justice Department, the FBI has been at odds with nearly everyone, usurping the jurisdiction of every police agency from the sheriff's office to its own siblings, like ATF. 1
With 12,500 agents it has developed into a perfect model of arrogant uncooperativeness, demanding everyone else's information but refusing to give up its own. The result is a national police force that has been caught in one debacle after another without any detrimental consequences to its own operations but with the possibility of plenty for the welfare of Americans. The damage done to national security by the FBI's long-term feud with the CIA prior to Sept. 11, 2001 may be incalculable.1Yes, that is the FBI’s long-held reputation. That’s why local law enforcement formed an intelligence gathering organization, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, in the 1950’s.
As a result, twenty-six (26) law enforcement agencies met in San Francisco, California on March 29, 1956 to discuss problems and possible solutions. The most important result of that meeting was the creation of the LEIU – The LAW ENFORCEMENT INTELLIGENCE UNIT and the development of an organizational purpose that survives to this day.2
You will notice that LEIU was originally comprised of, “…local and state law enforcement agencies in the United States…” Federal agencies need not apply. It is only in the last couple of years that LEIU invited federal agencies to join the organization in a somewhat limited fashion. Someone had to offer an olive branch after 50 years.3The sudden demand upon the FBI to take primary responsibility for terrorism dumped a huge requirement for change upon the Bureau with a concomitant economic impact. In 2005, the FBI considered an ill advised step.
The FBI, famous for its straight-laced crime-fighting image, is considering whether to relax its hiring rules over how often applicants could have used marijuana or other illegal drugs earlier in life.4I wrote previously.
Drug use and financial problems are key issues in law enforcement since both can make a person susceptible to corruption and recruitment to treason. Obviously law enforcement agencies can not afford to have officers corrupted. What is amazing is that the FBI considers analysts, linguists, computer specialists, and accountants of lesser importance than sworn officers. Is that an example of sworn officer elitism or FBI bureaucratic ineptitude? A foreign intelligence agent compromising an FBI intelligence analyst could be a far greater coup than compromising a sworn FBI agent.4But, the FBI is evolving.
The FBI has begun the most comprehensive realignments of its counterterrorism division in six years so it can better detect the growing global collaborations by terrorists and dismantle larger terrorist enterprises, according to senior bureau officials. 4Recently, I wrote:
It took 9/11/2001 to start the monumental federal directional shift away from traditional law enforcement activities and toward the intelligence function. Terrorism is, after all, a primary federal responsibility. It is not an easy task for the F.B.I. to transform itself into an intelligence agency.5OK, so the FBI has been the big bully in the law enforcement circles. But, it is not a one-way street. Other Federal agencies, as well as the state and locals, have contributed to the problem.
Despite their reputation, the FBI has some of the finest personnel with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working.
Here are today’s facts.
All terrorism is a local issue. Just because a local jurisdiction does not have a high likelihood of being on the receiving end of a terrorist act does not mean that the jurisdiction is free of the plotters and their cohorts. Doesn’t the local law enforcement agency have a responsibility to do all that it can to search them out? Waiting for the feds to singly address the problem is foolish because the national task is massive, resources are limited and the best information is more readily available to the local law enforcement agencies.5
Unconscionable are the law enforcement agencies which are simply giving lip-service to the need and don’t actually contribute to the cause. In essence, these agencies are lying to their city fathers and citizens.5My previous admonition:
To the citizens with law enforcement agencies which are not carrying their weight to protect the American people, it could be you, your loved ones, or friends who pay the price of the negligence. These agencies are supposed to work for you. Tell your city leaders what you want your police force to do. Find your voice, and find it loudly!5To the admonition, I add:
Call and/or write your Federal representatives and tell them to ensure that all of the Federal law enforcement agencies work in concert together and with the state and local agencies on the common goal of a safe America. Tell your Federal representatives to cut-off all Federal funds to any city, county or state jurisdiction that does not join an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
It is a worn but true saying, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Start dialing and writing.
Links in this Blog:
1. The FBI doesn't play well
3. F.B.I. Is Evolving To Meet the Need
4. FBI Suggests Lowering Requirements
5. Not All Law Enforcement Agencies Are Combating the Terrorist Threat
Additional on the Subject:
Domestically, How are We Doing on National Security?