IN THE NEWS
The FBI has earned its bad reputation for insularity. When the leaders at the top of the executive branch ask for orthodoxy, not measurable results, an already borderline dysfunctional organization can accrue even worse habits:
- The FBI is asking Congress for even broader latitude with "administrative subpoenas," its way of avoiding having to ask a judge for an actual subpoena. Administrative subpoenas allow the FBI to seize private information, often (probably usually) without notifying the target of the investigation. Their track record so far isn't that good, and it's not because the FBI lacks the law enforcement resources to nab terrorists planning mayhem to Americans.
- The FBI has also not asked for as many additional analysts as you might expect, given that counterterrorism is now supposed to be its top priority. On the one hand, to be fair, the FBI isn;t the only part of the executive branch that has been slow to increase its staff of people with the linguistic, cultural, and other skills needed. On the other hand, the FBI pushed hard to be at the center of domestic counterterrorism cases, and to expand its role in investigations abroad. With whom, exactly, is the question.
[Thanks to praktike for the pointers to these stories.]