DOJ Spin Regarding FBI Counter Terror Efforts Not Justified its Own Report

April 20, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - - In a much touted report [see, Washington Post, FBI had Doubled Counter Terrorism Forces, release] today, the Department of Justice claimed that it had doubled the number of assigned agents to counter terrorism related investigations since 2001.

The accompanying full report [see,] prepared by the DOJ Inspector General's office, however demonstrates that while that claim might well be accurate, it's hard to substantiate using the declassified report's data given the large number of redactions it contains, for example refer to exhibits I-3, 1-2 and 1-3 dealing with resource allocations, all of which are entirely blacked-out. Similarly 1-5,6, 8 and others have been redacted.

Assuming the data does exist in the classified study, today's press release still fails to present the matter fairly, in that if hides the fact that while significant caseload continues to be weighted in the direction of counter terror, it has systematically been decreasing since 2005, with 2009 featuring nearly 20% fewer active cases than 2005, not at all impressive given the large increase in domestic terror events during the last 18 months.

Below from the report, exhibit 1-7, pg. 39.

2005 - 3,339
2006 - 3,015
2007 - 3,083
2008 - 2,978
2009 - 2,855

Similar figures, exhibit 2-9 pg. 68., showing a slightly different presentation of the data, but still showing a near 20% drop in active cases over the last five years.

2005 - 2,269
2006 - 2,000
2007 - 2,061
2008 - 2,026
2009 - 1,917

Analysis: It seems clear that the DOJ is spinning in this matter, that the department has met an increased threat with an inadequate assignment of manpower. While we do have the IG's statement that 26% of current manpower assignment is now devoted to counter terrorism [IG Glenn A. Fine reported that in fiscal 2009 "the FBI used 26 percent of its field agents to address counterterrorism matters, while using 51 percent to address criminal matters...a significant change from FY 2001 when the FBI used 13 percent of its field agents on counterterrorism matters and 72 percent on criminal matters." [see,] in the face of an obviously increasing threat - in our judgment partially brought on by this administration's weak posture internationally regarding terrorism - this is clearly a formula which isn't working and one would hope that eight plus years after 9/11 the FBI should have been able to adequately apportion sufficient resources necessary to combat the national security threat posed by domestic terrorism.

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