AUGUST 14, 2007
Cases and leads involving terrorist activities in the United States have been dropped due to power struggles and disputes between the nationâ??s two largest federal law enforcement agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security agencies that investigate and supposedly intercept terrorists in the U.S.â??the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)â??refuse to team up to protect the nation and instead have engaged in a massive power struggle that has left the country vulnerable to another deadly attack.
The appalling lack of cooperation between the agencies has been documented in a 58-page report recently released by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. It cites major delays and refusals by the FBI–the dominant agency in domestic terrorism investigations–in big cases that required the bureauâ??s involvement before ICE could proceed.
For such petty reasons, the report says, ICE agents would subsequently decline to undertake cases of potential national security significance. In fact, in many instances ICE chose to completely ignore or drop leads in cases that had solid connections to terrorist activity.
Homeland Securityâ??s Inspector General launched the investigation after a veteran ICE agent in Houston complained that the FBI blocked a wire tap request on a target who was communicating with a known terrorist.
A veteran senator who is a member of the Judiciary Committee says that the â??petty turf battlesâ? have caused law enforcement agencies to miss a lot and that kind of â??institutional vanityâ? should have been history the day after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
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