Fixing the FBI
This man is pushing some of the biggest changes in the Bureau's History. Think he's a popular guy?
Increasing the frustration, some FBI officials say, is the fact that, in the past year, the quality of the tips and leads received by the FBI and other agencies has declined significantly. Many, agents say, are false alarms generated by petty criminals and illegal aliens to exact revenge on rivals. "It's problematic," says the retired special agent. "It's very labor intensive, and it produces a lack of focus on initiatives and forces you to become fundamentally reactive."
Perhaps to address such concerns, or perhaps because the pressure from the 9/11 commission has finally relented, Mueller has been telling his executives recently that he wants to see more cases generated from the criminal division. But the director has also made it abundantly clear that terrorism will always be the FBI's No. 1 priority, and today's FBI agents have little choice but to accept that verdict or to wait him out. In an odd way, one that many in the FBI still obviously don't get, Mueller's intransigence may be the thing that helps the world's pre-eminent law-enforcement agency survive intact well into the 21st century. "I don't think agents on the street sufficiently appreciate the impact of even one more successful attack on U.S. soil," says the retired agent. "If Mueller did some of the things that they would like to have him do to get back to business as usual, and then there was another domestic [terrorist] event for which the bureau was blamed and Mueller was fired and the bureau was disassembled, they'd say, 'Damn, what happened?'"
With Carol Susan Hook