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]
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.