Expert On FBI: Police, Intelligence Work Don’t Mix


Of all the failures that allowed the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, to succeed, the FBI’s are the most egregious, says former National Security Agency director William Odom in a Washington Post commentary. “Blistering criticism has been abundant, but not a single serious remedy has been demanded,” Odom says. His list of continuing problems include botching the acquisition of state-of-the-art information technology systems, intelligence personnel’s taking a back seat to crime-fighters, and sending agents abroad that create create tensions with CIA stations and display incompetence to foreign counterpart agencies.

“No one can turn a law enforcement agency into an effective intelligence agency,” Odom says. “Police work and intelligence work don’t mix. The skills and organizational incentives for each are antithetical. One might just as well expect baseball’s Washington Nationals to win football’s Super Bowl as believe the FBI can become competent at intelligence work.” His “only hope for improvement” would be a separate agency, equal to the CIA and under the new director of national intelligence–the so-called “MI-5 solution,” after the British example.


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