Tuesday, April 13

no one was fired at FBI either

In WaPo, a lame excuse from former FBI chief Louis Freeh:
"Commission member Timothy Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, asked Freeh why no action had been taken by FBI headquarters in response to a memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who had detected suspicious flight training by young Arab men.

'I don't know,' Freeh replied. But he said that getting the requested information from civil aviation schools nationwide would have required the agency 'to first overcome a couple of federal statutes' prohibiting the schools from turning over the information without a subpoena."

The fact is, subpoenas are not that hard to get. Besides that, however, it's likely agents could have gotten the info they needed without a subpoena. Flight school teachers probably noticed weird things here and there about these particular students, and would have likely talked about it.

Rather than those pesky subpoenas, the real problem seems to be a general lack of focus and funding. J.A. came on board late, of course, but it seems his priorities were even more out of whack:

Some commission members believe Ashcroft placed a low priority on counterterrorism efforts during his first seven months, citing Justice Department documents that show he was focused more on drugs, violent crime and civil rights.

A day before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Ashcroft formally denied a $50 million request from the FBI to hire more counterterrorism agents and intelligence researchers, according to witnesses and Justice Department documents.

At least that problem is over now that the war on terrorism porn is revving up.

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