The FBI: Now, with 48% More Domestic Surveillance … but No Banksters

The FBI produced a self-congratulatory report of the changes they’ve made since 9/11. It describes the FBI’s new intelligence focus. It boasts that it has a functional computer system (which for the FBI is an accomplishment) and 10,200 SCI work stations.

Oh, and it proclaims with joy that the FBI has had a 48% growth in surveillance
teams and capacity since 9/11. Let us rejoice in the proliferation of domestic spying!

But the most telling part of the report is the way it describes its threat-driven focus, then provides a list of prioritized threats. The report makes it clear that the FBI’s focus is driven not by what actual crimes are out there, but by what crimes it chooses to look for. And the list of its priorities puts terrorism, spying, cyber-attacks, public corruption, and civil rights ahead of white collar crime (you know–the banksters who crashed our economy?). This is similar to the priority list suggested by Robert Mueller at his reconfirmation hearing earlier this year…

  • Al Qaeda-launched attack like the Undie-bomber
  • Self-radicalized attacks like Mohamed Osman Mohamud
  • Spies like Anna Chapman
  • Cyber attacks allegedly launched by China
  • Massive corporate fraud committed by people like Lloyd Blankfein that weakens our financial system
  • Health care scams
  • Drug cartel violence
  • Public corruption

Though it appears that white collar crime has, since June, been demoted behind drug cartels and public corruption. And of course, the government has rolled out the new TCO designation, meaning that the FBI’s focus on Japan’s Yakuza technically now ranks higher than its focus on the gangsters dressed in banker’s suits who decimated our own country.

You see where this leads: to where the FBI doesn’t see–and therefore doesn’t investigate–the wholesale corruption of our economy, a crime affecting just about every American and doing far more financial damage than 9/11, because it is spending so much time finding or inventing enough terrorists to justify that being the top threat, the 18 model airplane plots it first invented, then stopped in 2010, rather than investigating banksters.

Mind you, the FBI report does boast of the big increase in penny-ante mortgage fraud arrests and convictions since 2007 (it notes that “mortgage fraud was not tracked separately in arrests and convictions until 2007”). But that’s still less than one mortgage fraud conviction for every 10,000 underwater homes and fewer fraud convictions than cybersecurity convictions. And in spite of the FBI claim that,

Since 2001, the FBI has focused on the most violent
criminals, the largest and most complex fraud schemes,
the most sophisticated and dangerous computer intrusions,
and the most corrupt public officials. [my emphasis]

It has netted precisely zero of those who propagated the complex fraud that brought down our country–not even Angelo Mozilo or anyone from Goldman Sachs, against whom they’ve got reams of evidence.

The FBI calls this emphasis on terrorism (and spies and hackers and corrupt politicians and Japanese gangsters) over white collar crime a “strategic” focus.

Sort of makes you wonder what objective this strategy is supposed to accomplish.

14 replies
  1. DWBartoo says:

    “Sort of makes you wonder what objective this strategy is supposed to accomplish.”

    A “blowjob”, perhaps?


  2. MadDog says:

    “…Sort of makes you wonder what objective this strategy is supposed to accomplish.”

    Must be fulfilling the goals of the For Banksters Incorporated’s new motto: “Keeping our MOTUs safe!”

  3. What Constitution says:

    That’s OK, though — the financial industry is full of exceptionally moral and patriotic individuals and corporate-type persons so it diligently regulates itself, and has the Wall Street Journal on the job as watchdog. Nothing for the FBI to do with such stalwart internal controls in place. And besides, the SEC is on the job should somebody trade upon inside information. What’s to worry? Kind of aspirational, don’t you think — maybe someday you, too, can “succeed” to a point where nobody allocates resources to the enforement of laws ostensibly implicated in how you make your living.

  4. MadDog says:

    OT – If the “FBI: Now, with 48% more Domestic Surveillance” isn’t enough for you, perhaps you need to move up to the DOJ where “talking points” are a replacement for live testimony:

    “A federal judge curbed the U.S. government’s ability to rely on Condoleezza Rice’s talking points in place of her testimony while prosecuting former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for allegedly leaking national security secrets to The New York Times…

    …Prosecutors had wanted to admit talking points from former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice in place of her testimony at trial…

    Oh, and additionally from that CNS article, there’s this:

    “…In adopting the government’s proposed voir dire, the court will take certain security measures for some government witnesses. “Because the witness list will contain the full names of many CIA employees whose identities the government wants to protect, it will remain classified,” Brinkema wrote.

    The court will also erect a screen to block ten specific witnesses from the courtroom. These witnesses can use a pseudonym in open court, and the court will delay “asking potential jurors if they recognize the names of any witnesses until a qualified pool of jurors is established.”

    Brinkema asked the government further explain why it wants to conceal the names of those 10 witnesses even from the defendant and the jury…”

    (My Bold)

  5. MadDog says:

    More OT – From the “Too Funny to Be True” category, via ABC News comes this:

    “CIA Punishment? Go Work with NYPD

    A senior CIA officer whose operational misjudgment contributed to one of the deadliest days in CIA history was recently assigned to a post with the New York City police department as a result of his mistakes, according to current and former officials…

    …”The agency sent him to New York for Khost as punishment,” said a former senior official briefed on the assignment…”

  6. joberly says:

    EW—Yes, one measure is a mortgage fraud conviction for every 10,000 homes underwater. Another, almost as bad, is to look at the number of arrests and prosecutions by US Attorneys, with FBI help, compared to the estimated amount of mortgage fraud committed. The FBI’s own 2006 estimate of mortgage fraud was running at about 28,000 estimate cases per year, up from 25,000 in 2005:
    From 2001 through the first quarter of 2006, the FBI estimated a cumulative total of 85,000 cases of mortgage fraud. And yet only 124 arrests in 2007? And fewer than 1,000 arrests last year? I’d say the odds of getting arrested, never mind prosecuted and convicted of mortgage fraud, were less than one-in-a-hundred during the “Greenspan Put” era, and the subsequent Great Recession.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The FBI’s claim that it has a “functioning computer system” is more than a decade late and a billion dollars above budget. Separately, I wonder what “improvements” Mr. Obama has made to the White House’s IT system, or if he’s still using the GOP outsource team.

    As you say, I’d rather read about credible increases in FBI investigations and DoJ prosecutions against business: fraud, collusion and illegal hiring practices no longer seem to be crimes, just ways in which corporations acquire money and contribute heavily to the regime in power. Reading about the FBI’s increase in surveillance capabilities is not reassuring to anyone who still remembers what the Constitution used to mean in practice.

  8. MadDog says:

    Even more OT – The latest “I forgot” Fast and Furious piece via the AP:

    “In the latest development in the controversy over an Obama administration gun-smuggling investigation, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division said Monday he regrets not alerting the department’s leadership to problems in a similar gun-smuggling probe under the Bush administration.

    Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said he knew in April 2010 that investigators in the 2006 Bush-era probe had allowed hundreds of guns to be transferred to suspected arms traffickers — the same tactic that Republicans are criticizing the Obama’s administration for using in Operation Fast and Furious…

    …Breuer said he made a mistake in not telling Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole about the earlier probe called Operation Wide Receiver in which the so-called gun-walking tactic was used…

    Can you say “Lanny is toast”? I thought you could.

  9. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, who has been all over Fast & Furious, broke this newest piece tonite on CBS News (which is where I saw it first). Her report online:

    “DOJ head knew of ATF “gunwalking” in April 2010

    …Documents just released this afternoon show the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Lanny A. Breuer, learned about the tactic of ATF gunwalking as early as April of last year.

    In a memo, Brueuer’s deputy wrote him that, in a case called “Wide Receiver” started under the Bush Administration, “ATF let a bunch of guns walk” in an effort to catch the big fish of Mexican drug cartels and said the gunwalking case could be “embarrassing” to ATF…”

    Embarrassing? Ya’ think?

  10. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: And from the WSJ article on this latest revelation:

    “…In an April 2010 email Jason Weinstein, a senior official in Mr. Breuer’s office describes being “stunned” at learning about the ATF tactics.

    “ATF [headquarters] should/will be embarrassed that they let this many guns walk,” Mr. Weinstein says.

    Mr. Weinstein met with a senior ATF official to raise concerns. But the concerns don’t appear to have had an impact on ATF, which was already months into Fast and Furious, and continued using some of the same tactics until late 2010.

    Warnings about the dangers of the tactics came as early as 2006, according to the documents. A July 2006 memorandum from prosecutors in Phoenix to then U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton cites objections from ATF lawyers. “ATF legal counsel is opposed to this proposed method of furthering the investigation, citing moral objections,” the memo states. Agents proceeded to use the tactics, despite that objection…”

  11. pdaly says:

    Since the FBI is going to be looking for terrorism just about all the time, to the exclusion of gold collar crime, how about this angle?

    After 9/11, the TV kept announcing that “they blended right in.” And ‘nobody in the intelligence and law enforcement community thought outside the box.’

    Well, it’s a good thing for the CIA and FBI that Al Qaeda has not tried to fit in with MOTUs. Or if they have, we are blind to it. Imagine if Al Qaeda were running with investment bankers?– plotting to take down America and we’re not looking for them on Wall Street! Our government might miss Al Qaeda a second time!

  12. P J Evans says:

    The FBI isn’t doing very well with priorities 4 and 5 – those should be at the top of the list, or else they’ll be a lot higher on the list of places visited by people with pitchforks and torches. They aren’t even dealing with the crimes that people have admitted to, never mind investigating others stuff.

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