The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, has
proposed the creation of an intelligence service within his organization and
repeated his opposition to calls for a new and separate domestic spy agency.
Mr. Mueller told members of the U.S. Congress he supports what he called
the creation of a service within a service, reorganizing but keeping domestic
intelligence responsibilities within the FBI.
He says this is necessary so agents can act quickly to stop terrorist attacks
against targets within the United States.
"We must continue to integrate intelligence and law enforcement operations," he
said. "We must be able to employ both intelligence and the criminal tools as
part of the integrated counterterrorism strategy that gives us the flexibility
to move quickly from intelligence gathering to disruption at a moment's notice."
Some members of Congress have questioned whether an agency devoted for decades
to law enforcement can make intelligence a mission of at least equal importance.
One proposal would set up an organization similar to Britain's security service,
known as MI5, which collects, analyzes and disseminates intelligence aimed
at disrupting terrorism, espionage and sabotage against Britain.
Mr. Mueller has worked hard against the idea of an independent, domestic,
intelligence agency. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, current Attorney General
John Ashcroft, his predecessor Janet Reno and George Tenet, who resigned Thursday
as CIA director, have all recommended against a new homeland spy agency.
The CIA is responsible for U.S. intelligence operations overseas.
The FBI director told members of Congress a separate organization for domestic
intelligence gathering would lead to needless duplication.
"If you wish to establish another agency, you have to replicate a number
of the pieces of the bureau that contribute to the ability to anticipate and
disrupt another attack," he said.
Mr. Mueller said that a new agency would have to duplicate the FBI's surveillance
activities and translators, and establish relationships the bureau already
has with local law enforcement agencies.
The FBI director proposed that a new directorate of intelligence be established
within the bureau with clear authority over intelligence functions.