New Boss At The FBI Still Focused On Making Up Pretend Terrorist Threats; May Also Make Up Fake Criminal Plots Too

from the because-that's-what-the-fbi-is-good-at dept

Earlier this year, we noted that the FBI had quietly changed its own description about how it was primarily focused on "law enforcement" to claiming that it was now primarily focused on "national security." That is, over the past decade, the FBI has shifted from being a law enforcement agency, looking to stop crimes, to an intelligence agency, spying on Americans and searching for "terrorists." Of course, this focus has meant that it has basically ignored tons of criminal activity including things like mortgage fraud, which helped create the economic crisis a few years ago. Instead, the FBI has expended so much effort on creating and busting its own fake terrorist plots.

As we've seen over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, the FBI seems to spend an awful lot of time creating totally fake terrorist plots, luring some gullible individual into the plot (where every other participant is FBI, and where all the "weapons" are fake) and then arresting the individual and scoring big headlines about stopping another "plot" -- despite the fact no plot would have existed without the FBI.

When new FBI boss James Comey took the job, he had suggested that he might move the FBI back towards a law enforcement agency, but according to the NY Times, he's been convinced to stick with focusing on terrorism plots. He insists that the risk is much bigger than he thought before he was in the job, though all of the examples he gives are of terrorism happening overseas, not in the US. Given that it must be a lot easier to concoct bogus terrorist plots and ensnare gullible individuals, than it is to track down actual criminals, it's not hard to see why many in the Bureau might have pushed Comey to continue these current efforts.
By Mr. Comey's own account, he also brought to the job a belief, based on news media reports, that the threat from Al Qaeda was diminished. But nine months into his tenure as director, Mr. Comey acknowledges that he underestimated the threat the United States still faces from terrorism.

"I didn't have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job just how virulent those affiliates had become," Mr. Comey said, referring to offshoots of Al Qaeda in Africa and in the Middle East during an interview in his sprawling office on the seventh floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. "There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated."
The article uses the example of the Boston Marathon bombings as an example of domestic terrorism, but as multiple people, including former FBI agent Mike German noted to the NY Times reporter, the problem there was that the FBI ignored all of the key info about the Tsarnaevs, in part because they are flooded in irrelevant info.
"You had all this information coming in, and nearly all of it wasn't helpful," said Mr. German, a former F.B.I. agent, "so agents became accustomed to leads going nowhere and everything they opened became an exercise in how quickly you can close it."

[....] "The year the F.B.I. investigated the older brother, it said it did 1,000 assessments," Mr. German said. "There weren't 1,000 terrorists in Boston that year, and a vast majority of resources were obviously going to things that didn't matter."
Perhaps even more troubling is that Comey thinks that the FBI's "experience" with terrorism may now be useful in tackling other types of crimes.
And Mr. Comey said he also wanted to apply the lessons learned in fighting terrorism to fighting other crimes. If Congress approves, he plans to move the bureau's head of intelligence out of the national security division and create a new intelligence branch that will amass information on crimes like fraud in an effort to more quickly identify trends and perpetrators.
To me, that sounds like the FBI is now going to start creating bogus criminal plots as well for other types of crimes, looking to ensnare gullible people. After all, it's worked so well in going after fake terrorists.

Of course, the FBI could focus on actually going after criminals, but as German points out, the FBI agents focused on fake terrorist plots haven't actually been trained in how to find real crimes.
But the bureau's focus on counterterrorism has led to criticism that a generation of agents have spent their entire careers doing nothing else. Mr. German and other critics say they never learned the basic policing skills needed for a criminal investigation. Mr. Comey has acknowledged the problem, ordering that the F.B.I.'s newest class of recruits, scheduled to start training in June, spend significant time on criminal investigation squads.
From that, it appears that over a decade's worth of FBI agents have never learned basic law enforcement skills to track down criminals. This seems like a recipe for a continuing disaster.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    And Mr. Comey said he also wanted to apply the lessons learned in fighting terrorism to fighting other crimes

    A decade ago, weren't these acronym agencies complaining that the threat from worlwide terrorism was like nothing they have had to fight in the past?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:12pm

    There will always be a threat when your job is at stake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Because we can never have too many intelligence branches, obviously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Can you really blame them? Would you want to be known as the executive agency with no intelligence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Mr. Comey said, referring to offshoots of Al Qaeda in Africa and in the Middle East during an interview in his sprawling office on the seventh floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. "There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated."

    All of which should be of marginal interest to the FBI, as I thought foreign intelligence was the task given to the CIA.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    ...and the NYPD, apparently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Geno0wl (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 12:23pm

    When new FBI boss James Comey took the job, he had suggested that he might move the FBI back towards a law enforcement agency, but according to the NY Times, he's been convinced to stick with focusing on terrorism plots.

    More like he was convinced that giving up the "good fight" against terrorists means loosing funding and power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    Let's be perfectly clear here. The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided that the new class of recruits should spend significant time on criminal investigation squads

    How about they spend ALL of their time on criminal investigation squads? - since that is, you know, THEIR JOB.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    And then they realized that when you piss off your citizens, they become remarkably just like terrorists... at least, terrorists fighting the people in power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    You wouldn't be suggesting that some of the grafters...er...I mean lobbyists' would be funded with ill-gotten gains from illegal corporate activity and that the FBI might investigate those activities thereby cutting off those campaign contributions? Would you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    How about they spend ALL of their time on criminal investigation squads? - since that is, you know, THEIR JOB.

    Unfortunately that is no longer true: 'Earlier this year, we noted that the FBI had quietly changed its own description about how it was primarily focused on "law enforcement" to claiming that it was now primarily focused on "national security."'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Terrorists, or as they like to call them: 'Job security'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re:

    Would't you like to write your own job description? Seems to me the would be a process for a federal agency to change their mandate, not just write up a change in manifesto.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    This is law enforcement busywork. Except that unlike digging a hole and filling it back in again, you throw someone into the hole before you fill it back up. It makes me think the FBI is in desperate need of some layoffs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    yeah, maybe the boston bombing wasn't a good example...

    ...because you don't have to scratch below that surface very far to see that it is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE that this was ANOTHER of the feebs reverse stings MAKING terrorist plots where there were none...
    only, this one got out of their control...
    *THAT* is why they leaned on the friend they executed during an interrogation, *THAT* is why various foreign nationals who knew the brothers were scooped up and spirited away and FORBIDDEN to return to the US, even though they had NO involvement or criminal acts...
    there is a very good chance this was a feeb plot that got away from them; THAT is why they killed a guy not involved, so that the one brothers DOCUMENTED his story with the feebs would not come to light...
    not a pretty story FROM ANY ANGLE...
    feebs are scum...

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    AntiSocialist, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Changing job descriptions.

    Must be cool. Imagine if every citizen in the U.S. changed their job description to 'national civil liberty security'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    PenguinBrat (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 2:29pm

    Chaotic West

    I predict in the next 20 yrs, the old 'wild west' term will be re-coined for the here and now as the 'chaotic west'. This is just getting stupid. /sigh

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    Going after the real domestic terrorists and criminals...

    Comey is actually the perfect one (or at least was at one point) to go after the hotbed of terrorists and criminals operating domestically. They are centrally located and well organized and even more important, everyone knows where they are. They are holed up Ina compound in Maryland called Fort Meade. He can start arresting the responsible parties there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Grafters? What do people adding new branches to trees have to do with terrorism - unless of course he is now Monsanto is somehow involved? Or did you actually mean "grifters"? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What do you know, there are multiple meanings of the word "grafter". ;-)

    http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/grafter

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I had no idea that "grafter" could be used this way. The synonym "grifter" is more common, so I assumed that it was just a typo. I love learning new things!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 4:48pm

    Re: yeah, maybe the boston bombing wasn't a good example...

    A year ago, heck even a couple months ago, I would have rolled my eyes at that.

    But now? Not just possible, but I'm seeing it as downright probable. Where's my tin foil?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    My intent was a verb describing the act of providing graft to a politician. Guess I missed, or should I take credit for assigning a new meaning to an older term? Does any money come with that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Me neither. The only grafting I have ever heard of had to do with trees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    David, May 20th, 2014 @ 11:00pm

    Re:

    Yeah, the intelligence is getting spread thin here... Good thing that all the agencies are laying it on thick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    David, May 20th, 2014 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: yeah, maybe the boston bombing wasn't a good example...

    Well, 9/11 was also properly intelligenced. They probably underestimated the plot they were letting happen in order to see just what bin Laden was up to.

    The problem is that the kind of "intelligence" they gather is just useful for analyzing the aftermath. It's too vague for anything else.

    The only thing that works are insiders, people who have a background to be let close enough to the plot and still believe they are doing the right thing by helping the U.S.A.

    And with the U.S.' "screw the world" attitude, those are hard to get by. Nobody admires the values of hoodlums enough to stick their neck out for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, May 20th, 2014 @ 11:24pm

    You Poor Fools Keep Conflating Terrorists With Criminals

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Terrorists CANNOT be compared with Criminals. To treat Terrorism as on par with some old Crime that you can prosecute through the Courts is just laughable. For one thing Terrorists have no respect for our rule of Law or our Freedoms. So HOW CAN WE hamper our law enforcement forces with crippling requirements like Due Process when their going after Terrorists? These Evil Persons are just LAUGHING at us! We have to hit them, no-holds-barred, NOW!

    Dont you want to prevent another Another Madrid train bombing? Another London Underground bombing? Another Boston Marathon Bombing? What could be MORE IMOPRTANT than living in a Terrorism-free world? What Cost could be To High? How Crazy are you to put up with this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    MedicalQuack, May 20th, 2014 @ 11:37pm

    "The Grays"...

    You just hit on what I have been talking about for a while and yikes it's at the FBI too. Well I guess I should not be too surprised but people can't tell the difference between what's a virtual world value and where the real world kicks in and you defined it here I think with the FBI. I have been picking on the White House for turning into a big template too and when I saw the Obama/Biden selfie, I thought to myself, well they're gone to the virtual values too and I don't know if they will get back to the real world. Here's what I said a few weeks ago and yeah it's scary.

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/03/virtual-worlds-real-world-we-have.html

    I have a page I call "The Attack of the Killer Algorithms" too with videos done by folks smarter than me that explain how dirty code and models get us and we get Algo duped.

    http://www.ducknet.net/attack-of-the-killer-algorithms/

    So now we have the FBI that is supposed to protect us, right? Are they off too far in the virtual worlds too? It sounds like it.

    Spurious Correlations - Per Capita Consumption of Cheese As Correlated With Number of People Who Died Tangled Up In Their Bed Sheets! Ok this is where this starts:) It's actually pretty well done and with a bit of satire but he's right what in the heck are people correlating together and how many are out there to suck it up?

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/05/spurious-correlations-per-capita.html

    We end up with stuff like this, quantitated justifications for things that are just not true and take a look at what journobots are starting to do too. Charlie Siefe is great and he also wrote a good book "Proofiness, the Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception"..It's about 3 years old now but still very good.

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2013/12/quantitated-justification-for-believing.html

    If you like the Killer Algorithm page of videos send folks over to learn up if you like. I don't get anything out of ti but I'm just so darn frustrated with people getting so duped I put those videos there to hopefully at least get a few folks to be a little skeptical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    zip, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:45am

    The real FBI

    Like the German Gestapo and the Soviet KGB, the FBI has always preferred focusing its attention on dissidents, not street-crime.

    Although the FBI was ostensibly created for the purpose of investigating inter-state crime, criminal investigations have always taken a back seat to the task of neutralizing perceived "national security" threats. Like infiltrating and taking down any organization the FBI boss doesn't like. The pinnacle may have been reached in the 1960s, when the American Communist Party, labor unions, black-civil-rights organizations, anti-war protesters, Puerto Rican separatist groups, and many other dissident groups, were all targeted at the same time. All in the name of national security, of course.

    Had Techdirt been around in the pre-internet "newsletter era" - there's little doubt that Mike Masnick would have had his very own FBI file, as was typical of newsletter authors who dared to criticise the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Re: You Poor Fools Keep Conflating Terrorists With Criminals

    Dont you want to prevent another Another Madrid train bombing? Another London Underground bombing? Another Boston Marathon Bombing? What could be MORE IMOPRTANT than living in a Terrorism-free world? What Cost could be To High? How Crazy are you to put up with this?

    I am relieved to see this parody comes from Mr. Big Content. I was worried someone might actually believe this stuff (actually I'm sure many people do). Nice troll, sir!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Darth Colonel Sanders, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    You never know when The Mandarin may attack.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 21st, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What else would one who grafts be called? A grifter would be one who grifts...whatever grift means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 21st, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You've never heard of skin grafting, AC?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 1:46am

    I hope all americans have a lawyer on retainer. You know the government may make up a case against you at any time. It will be your own fault if you are not prepared to properly defend yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 23rd, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Changing job descriptions.

    I was told that civil liberties was a Socialist/terrorist area, AntiSocialist. No wonder the NSA is spying on us! ;P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 23rd, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    I think that's the plan, AC. Have you noticed that you have to be rich to get decent representation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Mr. James P. Crothers, May 25th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Going after the real domestic terrorists and criminals...

    I didn't think... the Bankers are hole up at Fort Meade, do you believe they are getting there story stright from the people at the sidelines?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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