New Boss At The FBI Still Focused On Making Up Pretend Terrorist Threats; May Also Make Up Fake Criminal Plots Too21/05/2014 19:44
Earlier this year, we noted that the FBI had quietly changed its own description about how it was primarily focused on "law enforcement" to claiming that it was now primarily focused on "national security." That is, over the past decade, the FBI has shifted from being a law enforcement agency, looking to stop crimes, to an intelligence agency, spying on Americans and searching for "terrorists." Of course, this focus has meant that it has basically ignored tons of criminal activity including things like mortgage fraud, which helped create the economic crisis a few years ago. Instead, the FBI has expended so much effort on creating and busting its own fake terrorist plots.
As we've seen over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, the FBI seems to spend an awful lot of time creating totally fake terrorist plots, luring some gullible individual into the plot (where every other participant is FBI, and where all the "weapons" are fake) and then arresting the individual and scoring big headlines about stopping another "plot" -- despite the fact no plot would have existed without the FBI.
When new FBI boss James Comey took the job, he had suggested that he might move the FBI back towards a law enforcement agency, but according to the NY Times, he's been convinced to stick with focusing on terrorism plots. He insists that the risk is much bigger than he thought before he was in the job, though all of the examples he gives are of terrorism happening overseas, not in the US. Given that it must be a lot easier to concoct bogus terrorist plots and ensnare gullible individuals, than it is to track down actual criminals, it's not hard to see why many in the Bureau might have pushed Comey to continue these current efforts.
By Mr. Comey's own account, he also brought to the job a belief, based on news media reports, that the threat from Al Qaeda was diminished. But nine months into his tenure as director, Mr. Comey acknowledges that he underestimated the threat the United States still faces from terrorism.
"I didn't have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job just how virulent those affiliates had become," Mr. Comey said, referring to offshoots of Al Qaeda in Africa and in the Middle East during an interview in his sprawling office on the seventh floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. "There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated."
The article uses the example of the Boston Marathon bombings as an example of domestic terrorism, but as multiple people, including former FBI agent Mike German noted to the NY Times reporter, the problem there was that the FBI ignored all of the key info about the Tsarnaevs, in part because they are flooded in irrelevant info.
"You had all this information coming in, and nearly all of it wasn't helpful," said Mr. German, a former F.B.I. agent, "so agents became accustomed to leads going nowhere and everything they opened became an exercise in how quickly you can close it."
[....] "The year the F.B.I. investigated the older brother, it said it did 1,000 assessments," Mr. German said. "There weren't 1,000 terrorists in Boston that year, and a vast majority of resources were obviously going to things that didn't matter."
Perhaps even more troubling is that Comey thinks that the FBI's "experience" with terrorism may now be useful in tackling other types of crimes.
And Mr. Comey said he also wanted to apply the lessons learned in fighting terrorism to fighting other crimes. If Congress approves, he plans to move the bureau's head of intelligence out of the national security division and create a new intelligence branch that will amass information on crimes like fraud in an effort to more quickly identify trends and perpetrators.
To me, that sounds like the FBI is now going to start creating bogus criminal plots as well for other types of crimes, looking to ensnare gullible people. After all, it's worked so well in going after fake terrorists.
Of course, the FBI could focus on actually going after criminals, but as German points out, the FBI agents focused on fake terrorist plots haven't actually been trained in how to find real crimes.
But the bureau's focus on counterterrorism has led to criticism that a generation of agents have spent their entire careers doing nothing else. Mr. German and other critics say they never learned the basic policing skills needed for a criminal investigation. Mr. Comey has acknowledged the problem, ordering that the F.B.I.'s newest class of recruits, scheduled to start training in June, spend significant time on criminal investigation squads.
From that, it appears that over a decade's worth of FBI agents have never learned basic law enforcement skills to track down criminals. This seems like a recipe for a continuing disaster.