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Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit

President Bush continues on Ashcroft's mission to tear down the walls between intelligence gathering and criminal investigations:

President Bush on Wednesday ordered changes intended to break down old walls between foreign and domestic intelligence activities by creating a new national security division within the Federal Bureau of Investigation that will fall under the overall direction of John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence.

The powers accorded intelligence gathering and law enforcment agencies are different for good reason. For example, it prevents the Government from making an end run around the Fourth Amendment. The ACLU has an excellent explanation of the issue here.

What exactly is "the wall?" Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick describes it this way:

[the wall is] a set of procedures implementing a 1978 statute (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA) and federal court decisions interpreting it. In a nutshell, that law, as the courts read it, said intelligence investigators could conduct electronic surveillance in the United States against foreign targets under a more lenient standard than is required in ordinary criminal cases, but only if the "primary purpose" of the surveillance were foreign intelligence rather than a criminal prosecution.

....The Patriot Act, enacted after 9/11, together with an unprecedented appeal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, paved the way for the Justice Department to permit largely unrestricted information-sharing between intelligence and criminal investigators because the law changed the legal standard that had given rise to the guidelines in the first place. The Patriot Act says that electronic surveillance can be conducted in the United States against foreign threats as long as a "significant purpose" -- rather than the "primary purpose" -- is to obtain foreign intelligence.

This article has more.

My view: Intelligence gathering is the wrong job for a law enforcement agency. The FBI is not cut out to be an intelligence gathering agency.I think the wall is a good thing. But it looks like it's about to come tumbling down.

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    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    Just another round of Reagan idolatry. Psst, George: when Reagan said to tear down that wall, he threatening the Soviet Union, not the American people.

    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#2)
    by SeeEmDee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    Since the wonderful day we all saw the Berlin Wall being dismantled by jubilant Germans, I've heard sensible people here in my own country say that the Europeans had become more free than we are. Now, with this latest version of COINTELPRO rising from it's grave to menace Americans again, I tend to believe them.

    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    6-30-05-TOON O' THE DAY:"The Impossible Dream"

    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:44 PM EST
    ...new national security division within the Federal Bureau of Investigation that will fall under the overall direction of John D. Negroponte...
    Will this have anything to do with domestic death squads?

    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:59 PM EST
    I strongly disagree with this opinion. More and more terrorists are using criminal acts to fund their terrorist operations (such as laundering money earned in the US to foreign accounts). To tear down the wall would go back to pre-9/11 operations, which means nobody would be talking to anybody all over again. What we need is for every agency, intelligence/law enforcement, federal, state, local, etc. to work together to prevent further attacks. This means sharing criminal and intelligence matters among each other, and certainly within the FBI. A terrorist attack against the US or it's citizens and interests is a criminal offense, and can be prosecuted as such. It is the same people who believe that the Patriot Act should be repealed, and if it was, they would be the first to scream at our law enforcement and intelligence agencies if we experienced another 9/11 or similar attack. How soon we forget....

    Re: Bush to Create New FBI Intelligence Unit (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:59 PM EST
    oh, and a previous commenters remarks about,"death squads" in the FBI?? Have you ever met an FBI Agnet? The majority join the FBI because they want to fight for a greater cause and feel like they have positively contributed to society. They are there to protect America and American citizens. Have we all gone CRAZY?