Capitol Staff Questions FBI’s Domestic Intel Work

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Congressional researchers say questions remain about the FBI’s ability to transform itself into an effective domestic intelligence agency geared to prevent terrorism, reports the Associated Press. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service said yesterday that the FBI has increased intelligence operations, centralized control of national security cases at headquarters, and enhanced recruitment and training of analysts since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Still, the report says “the culture of the FBI, including its law-enforcement-oriented approach to intelligence, may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to necessary intelligence reforms.”

Maureen Baginski, the FBI’s chief of intelligence, said the bureau has come very far in a short time. Each of its 56 field offices now has a contingent devoted to intelligence, and every morning at headquarters top FBI officials discuss intelligence arising from the day’s threats, investigations, and other activities.

The report lays out five options for Congress: Maintain the status quo, create a separate National Security Intelligence Service within the FBI, transfer the FBI intelligence program to the Department of Homeland Security, relocate the FBI intelligence program at the CIA, and create a separate domestic intelligence service similar to Great Britain’s MI-5.

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-04-07-fbi_x.htm

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