Congressional Republicans have stymied significant reform of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by refusing to split off its counterintelligence functions into a separate agency, the Washington Monthly contends. Despite a series of spy scandals in recent years, key figures in the Bush administration and Capitol Hill rejected calls for a new domestic counter-intelligence agency modeled on Britain’s MI5. The new agency would absorb the FBI’s domestic spook-hunting responsibilities, and would be responsible for nothing else, the magazine says.
Instead, the Homeland Security Department created by Congress “did little to challenge the bureau’s fundamental structural problems,” concludes the Monthly. The article wonders how Republicans could hold their fire as “some of the nation’s most tightly-held and vital secrets were turned over to adversary states.” Whatever the explanations Republicans have “sat on their hands and put politics ahead of the national interest as the scope of the problem and the cost to national security have become increasingly apparent.”