FBI Changes “Primary Mission” from “Law Enforcement” to “National Security”


The Bureau has made a wise change since, if their primary mission is  “law enforcement,” then people might expect them to adhere to the law they  enforce on others.

Foreign  Policy’s blog, The Cable, reports:

The FBI’s creeping advance into the world of  counterterrorism is nothing new. But quietly and without notice, the agency  has finally decided to make it official in one of its organizational fact  sheets. Instead of declaring “law enforcement” as its “primary function,” as it  has for years, the FBI fact sheet now lists “national security” as its chief  mission. The changes largely reflect the FBI reforms put in place after  September 11, 2001, which some have criticized for de-prioritizing law  enforcement activities. Regardless, with the 9/11 attacks more than a decade  in the past, the timing of the edits is baffling some FBI-watchers. 

“What happened in the last year that changed?”  asked Kel McClanahan, a Washington-based national security lawyer.

McClanahan noticed the change last month while  reviewing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the agency. The FBI  fact sheet accompanies every FOIA response and highlights a variety of facts  about the agency. After noticing the change, McClanahan reviewed his records and  saw that the revised fact sheets began going out this summer. “I think they’re  trying to rebrand,” he said. “So many good things happen to your agency when  you tie it to national security.”

That last sentence is probably true and shows the problem might not be so  much with the FBI by itself, but with the entire mood and mindset of the  government, including Congress. “National Security” is the buzzword that adds  more money to your budgets.

Of course, one reason to keep the old buzzword is to make people think they did  not pass through an internal government regime change on 9/11/2001. That  realization might make people anxious. So another way to look at this change is  that the FBI realized there was no point in keeping up appearances with the  population. So after a certain amount of news slips out into the media, the PR  people at the FBI might have decided to stop pretending.

After all, when people are dedicated to law enforcement, one might get the  idea that they value obeying the law rather than, say using official government  phones for sexting and engaging in other  unethical behavior. We might think they would not work  with drug traffickers who murder a border patrol agent with a gun supplied  through a BATF program. You might think that they would search out people who  committed no crime and recruit them, posing  as terrorists, to carry  out terrorist attacks against Americans. People might expect the FBI to  not kill an unarmed witness in their custody.

Making “national security” the primary mission really frees up the FBI.

Article originally printed at Political Outcast (http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/01/fbi-changes-primary-mission-law-enforcement-national-security/)

By Mark Horne, 6 Jan 2014


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