FBI’s Rowley: New Intel Unit Would Set Back Reform

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FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley says that FBI employees are too busy trying to prevent the next terrorist attack to watch televised hearings of the federal 9/11 commission. Rowley tells Time magazine, “We knew a great deal before 9/11. The problem was, ‘We didn’t know what we knew,’ ” as a former FBI official said. Regarding the idea of taking domestic intelligence gathering away from the FBI giving it to a new agency modeled after Britain’s MI5, “I don’t see why a new force would be better than the FBI at gathering intelligence,” Rowley says. “The field agents I have worked with for more than 23 years are as eminently adept at tackling sophisticated criminal and terrorist enterprises as they are at investigating straightforward whodunits.” She adds that “creating a new agency would undermine one of the most important post-9/11 reforms–removal of the wall between the FBI’s criminal and intelligence functions so that communication between agents and with the CIA is much improved.”

Rowley urges that “rather than despair at the size of the challenge before us,” federal investigators should “steel our resolve, use our common sense and try our hardest.”

Link: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040426-612294,00.html

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