MAY 09, 2008
Nearly seven years after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history the federal agency in charge of protecting the nation from terrorism and foreign intelligence threats still needs to make dramatic leaps to prevent future attacks.
A Senate Intelligence Committee has found widespread problems and weaknesses in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) intelligence program that include serious gaps in training and deployment of agents hired since the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon.
In a lengthy report made public this week, the committee outlines alarming weaknesses in the ailing bureau which has already received dismal performance ratings from crucial entities such as the bipartisan September 11 Commission and the investigative arm of Congress known as the Government Accountability Office.
This latest report says that the FBI has yet to fill crucial national security and intelligence positions key to battling terrorism and that nationwide units, considered to be the front lines of the intelligence effort, are poorly staffed. It also points out that the FBI still lacks an effective training program for intelligence analysts and that most analysts are supervised by agents with no intelligence-gathering experience.
Additionally, the bureau has hired only two senior intelligence officers even though Congress deemed the positions critical two years ago and authorized hiring 24. Included in the report is the FBI’s 2009 budget request— $7,108,091,000—with detailed information on its plans to hire more agents.
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