Nearly seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI “has yet to make the dramatic leaps necessary” to become an effective intelligence-gathering organization and protect the country from terrorism, a congressional analysis released Thursday said. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee recommended the bureau yield more of its historic autonomy to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and that “performance metrics and specific timetables” be established to address a variety of shortcomings.
The panel found widespread problems in the FBI intelligence program, including gaps in the training and deployment of hundreds of analysts hired since Sept. 11, 2001, to assess threats to the nation. Field Intelligence Groups, which are considered the front lines of the intelligence effort in FBI field offices around the country, are “poorly staffed, are led overwhelmingly by special agents, and are often ‘surged’ to other FBI priorities,” the report said. The critique is the latest to question whether the bureau can effectively transform itself from a law enforcement organization to one that also roots out terrorists before they strike.