In Terror Focus, FBI Leaves Many Crimes To Local Cops


In its focus on terrorism, the FBI, which enforces 300 criminal statutes, has cut back substantially on pursuing bank robbers, fugitives, drug dealers, and other traditional criminals, leaving them to other law enforcement, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The FBI now lets police pursue many bank robberies. In Pittsburgh, city police handle most of them; the FBI still goes out on county cases. The FBI has also pulled agents from various task forces combatting guns and drugs, stopped hunting fugitives. and pulled many of its top agents from crime-fighting to its terrorism task forces, which include local police officers and other federal agents.

There has been some concern that garden-variety criminals might take advantage of all this distraction and that Congress should allocate a separate budget for terrorism within the FBI. Said Edward Turzanski, a political analyst and intelligence expert at La Salle University in Philadelphia: “What tends to happen, invariably, is that old problems resurface.” Former Pittsburgh FBI agent in charge Ken McCabe recalls director Robert Mueller saying after Sept. 11, 2001, that “we’re pulling out of DEA task forces, out of ATF task forces, out of the marshals’ task forces.” The FBI still devotes many of its 12,500 agents to organized crime, white-collar crime, narcotics, and public corruption.


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