It was a solid decision for President Obama to ask Congress to keep Robert Mueller at the head of the FBI and extend his term by another two years. He has provided incredible leadership to the organization since 9-11 and in the post Bin Laden months and years, his expertise and experience will be invaluable. I’ll join Francis Rose on Federal News Radio today at 5:20 PM to discuss Director Mueller’s continued leadership at the Bureau, as well as the agency’s history as an intelligence-driven organization.
When Director Mueller took over the reins at the Bureau from Louis Freeh, the FBI had been experiencing many changes and challenges, including the emergence of counterterrorism as a leading investigative program. However, in spite of Director’s Freeh’s dedication to the CT program and his efforts to obtain significant increases to better man and support it, he was not supported by Congress to the funding levels that he requested, and I might add, badly needed.
9-11 changed everything, and over the past ten years, the FBI has been provided funding, as well as new legal and technological tools, that have enabled it to function more effectively as both an intelligence and law enforcement service. As a former Agent who served in the CT program, I am always astounded when I hear or read press reports saying that the FBI is now an “intelligence-driven” organization. Folks, I am here to say that it was always an intelligence-driven organization. Just look at the accomplishments attained in the organized crime program since 1968 when Title III electronic surveillance authority was granted and later bolstered by the RICO statute. La Cosa Nostra and other OC organizations have been decimated because of the FBI’s criminal intelligence efforts. From the day I was assigned to my first field division, it was pounded into my head that I must develop human sources of information. In fact, our annual performance ratings included an evaluation of our development and handling of informants or assets.
During the entire time I served in the CT and CI programs, we used every intelligence collection capability in the tool kit that we had. These programs were completely intelligence driven and managed with the resources we had at hand. In those days, these resources were thin but effective. Since 9-11, I would submit that the funding the FBI received coupled with new legislation like the Patriot Act and the application of technology have been major game changers that Director Mueller was able to use to help keep the homeland safe from attack.
I hope that the FBI and the entire Intelligence Community continue to have the outstanding successes that we have been following. One thing is certain – Director Mueller will keep the heat on the bad guys and do his best to lead the FBI for the next two years. That continuity at this moment in time is needed.