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FBI admits it's not really about law enforcement anymore; ignores crimes to focus on creating fake terror plots


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(NaturalNews) A couple years ago, it was revealed that the FBI noted in one of its "counterterrorism training manuals" that FBI agents could "bend or suspend the law and impinge upon the freedoms of others,"[1] which seemed kind of odd for a government agency who claimed its "primary function" was "law enforcement." You'd think that playing by the rules would be kind of important. However, as John Hudson at Foreign Policy has noted, at some point last summer, the FBI quietly changed its fact sheet,[2] so that it no longer says that "law enforcement" is its primary function, replacing it with "national security." (Story by Mike Masnick, republished from TechDirt.com)

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Of course, I thought we already had a "national security" agency -- known as the "National Security Agency." Of course, while this may seem like a minor change, as the article notes, it is the reality behind the scenes. The FBI massively beefed up resources focused on "counterterrorism" and... then let all sorts of other crimes slide. Including crimes much more likely to impact Americans, like financial/white collar fraud.

Between 2001 and 2009, the FBI doubled[3] the amount of agents dedicated to counterterrorism, according to a 2010 Inspector's General report.[4] That period coincided with a steady decline in the overall number of criminal cases investigated nationally and a steep decline in the number of white-collar crime investigations.

"Violent crime, property crime and white-collar crime: All those things had reductions in the number of people available to investigate them," former FBI agent Brad Garrett told Foreign Policy. "Are there cases they missed? Probably."

The article correctly notes that this has had a big impact:

The reductions in white-collar crime investigations became obvious. Back in 2000, the FBI sent prosecutors 10,000 cases. That fell to a paltry 3,500 cases by 2005. "Had the FBI continued investigating financial crimes at the same rate as it had before the terror attacks, about 2,000 more white-collar criminals would be behind bars," the report concluded. As a result, the agency fielded criticism for failing to crack down on financial crimes ahead of the Great Recession and losing sight of real-estate fraud ahead of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.

The article accurately notes how the FBI has basically started ignoring a tremendous amount of financial/white collar crime, but unfortunately never bothers to do the flipside: to look at whether or not the FBI has been even remotely effective in the whole "national security" aspect that is now its "primary function." Because, from the evidence we've seen, it seems like a disaster. Rather than tracking down and capturing actual terrorists (remember how the FBI knew all about[5] the Boston bombers, but did nothing about them?), it seems like the FBI has been coming up with ways to keep itself busy that have nothing to do with really protecting national security.

So... what has the FBI been doing? Well, every time we hear anything about the FBI and counterterrorism, it seems to be a case where the FBI has been spending a ton of resources to concoct completely made up terrorism plots, duping some hapless, totally unconnected person into taking part in this "plot" then arresting him with big bogus headlines about how they "stopped" a terrorist plot that wouldn't have even existed if the FBI hadn't set it up in the first place. And this is not something that the FBI has just done a couple times. It's happened over[6] and over[7] and over[8] and over[9] and over[10] and over[11] and over[12] and over[13] and over[14] and over[15] and over[16] and over again.[17] And those are just the stories that we wrote about that I can find in a quick search. I'm pretty sure there are a bunch more stories that we wrote about, let alone that have happened.

All of these efforts to stop their own damn "plots" screams of an agency that feels it needs to "do something" when there's really nothing to be done. Thousands of agents were reassigned from stopping real criminals to "counterterrorism" and when they found there were basically no terrorists around, they just started making their own in order to feel like they were doing something... and to have headlines to appease people upstairs. The government seems to have gone collectively insane when it comes to anything related to "terrorism."

Read more at TechDirt.com.

Sources:

[1] http://www.wired.com

[2] http://foreignpolicy.com

[3] http://cironline.org

[4] http://www.justice.gov[PDF]

[5] www.techdirt.com

[6] www.techdirt.com

[7] www.techdirt.com

[8] www.techdirt.com

[9] www.techdirt.com

[10] www.techdirt.com

[11] www.techdirt.com

[12] www.techdirt.com

[13] www.techdirt.com

[14] https://www.techdirt.com

[15] www.techdirt.com

[16] www.techdirt.com

[17] www.techdirt.com

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