Pressure to overhaul the FBI mounted yesterday when House budget leaders ordered the bureau to embrace the recommendations of a presidential commission on intelligence failures that may erode the FBI’s independence, the Los Angeles Times reports. The powerful House Appropriations Committee acted after a former member of the 9/11 commission expressed concern that the FBI had failed to make sufficient progress in recasting itself. The House may take up the Justice Department budget next week.
The presidential commission on intelligence called for making thousands of counterterrorism and counterintelligence agents and analysts be accountable to an outside agency. A former Justice Department official called the appropriations panel’s action “a shot across the bow.” Said the anonymous source: “You never [mess] with your budget guys – even if they tell you to run naked down Pennsylvania Avenue.” The Justice Department is reviewing proposals from the commission, co-chaired by federal judge Laurence Silberman and former U.S. Sen. Charles Robb, and recently submitted recommendations to the White House.