Friday, April 26, 2013
SAME OLD FBI
FUMBLING, BUNGLING, INCOMPETENTS
FBI Director Robert Mueller: Maybe time for him to be let go.
(Friday April 26, 2013 New York City) Sadly, nothing seems to have appreciably changed in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the 12 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The scrutiny and examination of the myriad “intelligence” failures conducted in the aftermath of that infamous day revealed the wide spread, systemic, endemic incompetence, antiquated methods, lack of imagination and overall dysfunction in the country’s well-funded inept intelligence community including some glaring deficiencies in the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Despite a host of purported improvements in how each agency functions and cooperates with each other and with federal, state and local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA), the last 10 days has provided ample evidence that the FBI remains riddled by ineptitude and has fallen back into its insular posture regarding communicating with the Law Enforcement Community (LEC) at large. Since the CIA is not purposed for domestic intelligence collection, the highly regarded 9-11 Kean Commission Report exposed the fatal lack of cooperation between their efforts overseas and coordinating leads with the domestic sentinels at the FBI. As became common parlance after the Commission Report was published, “The FBI and CIA just did not connect the dots.”
SOUTH ON 95
The 210 mile drive southbound on Interstate 95 from downtown Boston to Midtown Manhattan can be made in less than four hours. New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Ray Kelley is acutely aware of this fact. He is particularly disturbed, actually “pissed off” that the FBI failed to notify him that while the two Boston marathon bombers where still on the loose, they had planned to make that ride and set off pipe bombs and a pressure cooker explosive device they had in their possession in Times Square. The FBI became aware of this information after conducting a second interview with the surviving suspect, 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev this past Monday. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed his dismay at the failure of the FBI to notify him that his City had been a potential target of the two Chechan-born brothers.
Mayor Bloomberg commented that this most recent development in the case is a “horrific reminder that we remain targets for terrorists.” Bloomberg continued, “Upon news of the explosions in Boston we immediately mobilized the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism operations because we thought there was a possibility that they could attempt a related attack here. We now know that possibility was, in fact, all too real.” The silence on the part of the FBI is inexplicable and someone in that troubled agency should be held accountable. Hopefully, at least, some explanation will be provided so this kind of “Major league error never happens again,” commented an NYPD Intelligence Unit Detective not authorized to speak for attribution. The Detective added, “Yes, we have seen this before and because the federal agencies were so poor at what they did, this City suffered 9-11-01. It is for that reason that this Unit exists today.”
Overshadowed by the events in Boston last week, the FBI suffered another black eye when they mistakenly arrested a man from Corinth Mississippi, Paul Kevin Curtis, who makes his living as an “Elvis Impersonator”. Ricin-laced letters had been mailed to President Obama as well as Republican Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker and Lee County (MS) Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland. The FBI was quick to arrest Curtis alleging that he had been the source of the ricin letters based, apparently, on flimsy circumstantial evidence that was quickly proven erroneous. The FBI has since identified a second suspect who they “briefly lost” track of yesterday. This new suspect, J. Everett Dutschke who is currently charged with sexual abuse crimes against a 7 year old girl, has since been located after his attorney phoned the FBI to inform them of her client’s whereabouts. The investigation into this strange matter remains fluid.
G-MEN GET AN “F”
It has been quite some time since the glory days of the FBI when they enjoyed the public’s respect and were held in high regard. Their best days may have come in the period between the early 1970’s through the early 1980’s when they reached the heights of success in their campaign against organized crime. After the dark days of the long tenured J. Edgar Hoover and his paranoid wanderings that lead to a host of malfeasance over the course of decades, the FBI aggressively sought to prosecute organized crime, drug dealing, money laundering and other offenses with their new tool known as the RICO Predicates. RICO, an acronym for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act became effective in October 1970. RICO provided the FBI with the legal mechanism to conduct surveillance and investigations with more latitude than ever before.
It was also during that period of time that the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI pioneered the methodology of what would go on to become the highly successful art and science of criminal profiling. The Forensics, Ballistic, and Evidence Laboratories of the FBI were on the cutting edge of their respective disciplines and literally wrote the books that became the standards for Law Enforcement Agencies across the country. But the FBI began to stumble due to institutional inertia, poor management, a failure to adapt to the ever increasing sophistication of technology employed for criminal purposes, and a stale mindset coupled with a work force more concerned with protecting their pensions than thinking “outside the box”. Many former FBI Agents blame the decline of their former employer on the awful directorship of Judge Louis Freeh who was appointed Director by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Freeh’s eight years as Director saw some of the biggest embarrassments for the once highly touted Bureau including the exposure of gross incompetence in the FBI Laboratories, man of which resulted in retrials and dismissals of cases based on shoddy work by the Bureau. By 2001 whatever small sheen of luster remained on the Bureau was forever gone. Barely three months after Freeh’s resignation 19 Muslim extremists successfully perpetrated an attack on United States soil in New York City and Washington DC. The man appointed by George W. Bush to lead the troubled Bureau, Robert Mueller was at the helm for only seven days before 9-11-2001. He still serves as Director and, as many former Agents readily admit, “He (Mueller) was never an Agent. He has never understood the actual mission of the FBI, its process, and you see the results. Mueller is a bureaucrat, a ‘manager’, a lawyer, not a law enforcement guy. He did some positive things for the FBI insofar as upgrading the antiquated computer networks that we were working with as of September 11, 2001 but other than that he has been a huge disappointment, a failure.”
BIG FEET GETTING IN THE WAY
One of the longest running knocks on the FBI is their failure to interact with local LEA smoothly and productively. That was not the case in Boston last week but has been a problem that infected many investigations in the past. The FBI has a very well defined mission in what crimes are within their purview and in other types of crimes they must be specifically “invited” by the local LEA to offer assistance. Typically the FBI wastes no time in their efforts to wrest control of an investigation from the host LEA and, in so doing, usually ends up alienating the local agency instead of working in a cooperative manner. Local police Departments that have had long running acrimonious relationships with the FBI derisively refer to the Feds as “Big Feet”. “What the FBI fail to realize is that the local Police know the territory and is intimately familiar not only with the turf but also the people,” commented a retired NYPD Detective who worked in the Organized Crime Unit from 1979 to 1991. He continued, “I can recall the FBI sending young Agents up to New York City to work with us on Organized Crime operations who had never even been in a big city before. They stuck out like sore thumbs and simply could not assimilate as people in NYC and certainly not as Agents involved in sensitive on-going investigations.”
There have been numerous incidents where the FBI has blundered into long term efforts such as undercover and “sting” operations and have destroyed what was sometimes years of painstaking old fashioned Police work. In some of these cases the FBI’s incompetent bungling would have appeared like a comedy of errors if the stakes had not been so high and the investigations totally “blown”. Lately the FBI has suffered more failures and embarrassments than they have victories. Famed New York criminal defense attorney Gino Palermo commented, “ The FBI does a very few things well and a great many other things extremely poorly. Often in their haste to bring prosecutions they have cut corners, mishandled legal elements of cases from interrogations to evidentiary chain of custody protocols. We have all read of the systemic deficiencies in their once highly touted forensic laboratories and we have all witnessed the results of the Agencies recalcitrance, refusal to share information with others Agencies and continue to “stovepipe” what solid leads they do develop.”
It is safe to concede that most Americans have been lead to believe there have been dramatic changes in our bloated, convoluted, top heavy, risk averse “intelligence community” from the CIA, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Agency (TSA) as well as the FBI and, this has simply not been the case. In the rush to correct the multitude of dysfunctions at the FBI haphazard modification were made. The benchmark standard of their abject uselessness was exposed for all to see in the aftermath of one of their greatest, most fatal failures that made it possible for 19 foreign nationals come to the United States, live here among us, lose track of several of the perpetrators after they were embedded among us, receive aviation training while carefully planning their high jacking terrorist attack carried out virtually flawlessly on that bright September Tuesday morning 12 years ago. Hopefully in the “after action assessments” that will no doubt be conducted in the future, the FBI will identify what went wrong – if anything - prior to the Boston Marathon bombing.
There are statutory mechanisms in place that protect the Constitutional and civil right of Americans from overzealous Law Enforcement Agencies including the FBI. Ther FBI by its charter and mandate is a domestically empower organization while the CIA is forbidden from conducting operation on our home soil; their realm exists in operating overseas but there must be a true increase of the seamless cooperation between the two so that dots are connected and there are no gaping cracks for foreigners already of terror “watch lists” to fall threw as has so often been the case in the last 20 years.
Many of the most glaring deficits in intelligence gathering, analysis, and dissemination were supposed to be eliminated by the creation of the National Intelligence Agency which has only served to blur the lines of command and has in many ways made coordination among its 22 assorted member Agencies even more complicated. If anything according to insiders in the diverse and to a degree disparate members organizations under the auspices of the NIA and DHS have lost their primary sense of mission and rather than having the DHS be a stronger all-in-one concern it suffers from profound weaknesses in which it is clearly not as robust and functional as the sum of its parts.
TAGS: FBI ERRORS IN RICIN LACED LETTERS INVESTIGATION, FBI BLUNDERS, FBI INCOMPETENCE, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING INVESTIGATION, FBI INTERFERENCE WITH LOCAL LEC, UNCOOPERATIVE WITH LOCAL JURISDICTIONS.
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