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May 09, 2008
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FBI called slow to join terror fight

By Richard B. Schmitt
The Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI "has yet to make the dramatic leaps necessary" to become an effective intelligence-gathering organization and protect the country from terrorism, a congressional analysis released Thursday said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee recommended that the bureau yield more of its historic autonomy to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and that "performance metrics and specific timetables" be established to address a variety of shortcomings.

The panel found widespread problems in the FBI intelligence program, including gaps in the training and deployment of hundreds of analysts hired since Sept. 11, 2001, to assess threats to the nation. Field Intelligence Groups, which are considered the front lines of the intelligence effort in FBI field offices around the country, are "poorly staffed, are led overwhelmingly by special agents, and are often 'surged' to other FBI priorities," the report said.

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