Top FBI officials were relieved when the 9/11 Commission recommended against creating a new domestic-intelligence agency, reports USA Today. The commission said that if the bureau follows through on improvements begun by director Robert Mueller, it “can do the job.” The commission’s report was somewhat harsher on the CIA, but it did not recommend an overhaul of either agency. It urged creation of a national intelligence director to coordinate both agencies’ efforts.
Mueller has created an office of intelligence, a step toward making the FBI more like the CIA in how it collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence. He also has made intelligence-gathering a priority for agents in all aspects of their work. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a frequent critic of the FBI, said the battle over whether the bureau should be stripped of its domestic-intelligence role isn’t over: “That still is an option that Congress is going to consider.” FBI officials were worried that the commission would recommend taking away the bureau’s domestic spying powers. Current and former FBI officials credit Mueller, who had been on the job a week when al Qaeda struck, with changing commissioners’ minds.