Identity Crisis E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

In the old days before 9/11, people had a general sense of what entities like the FBI, CIA and NSA did and didn’t do. For instance the CIA couldn’t operate on American soil because that was the FBI’s job. These days not only does the CIA and NSA operate on American soil, they sometimes even work in conjunction with big city agencies like the NYPD - sometimes out of the same office. So if the CIA, NSA and a wide array of other intelligence agencies now operate on American soil, what is it that the FBI does?

That seems to be a pressing question at the FBI.

According to a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided to change a controversial fact sheet and declared its primary mission to now be "national security."

That change was made after several people complained that national security and espionage are functions of the CIA and the military.

The FBI is supposed to be a law enforcement agency. But the change is mostly meaningless semantics - six of one, half dozen of the other as they say.

Everyone wants in on counter-terrorism because unlike public safety, the money is widely available to almost anyone that asks for it. DHS alone has spent more than a trillion (trillion with a T) since it was created.

And that’s just a fraction of the money spent “fighting terrorism,” at the federal level.

So the problem for the FBI is how does the agency decide whether it’s a law enforcement agency or part of the national security infrastructure? The answer is it does not have to.

The change was made to indicate that trying to stop terrorism, as well as crime fighting are both "primary functions" of the FBI. Which is of course word-salad.

Definition of “primary”: 1. First or highest in rank, quality, or importance; principal.

An FBI official confirmed that the change was made after federal officials read a critical article in Foreign Policy about how the agency now perceives itself as a national security agency like, well, the National Security Agency.

"It's most accurate to say our primary functions are law enforcement and national security and that's probably what it should've said all along," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told  the magazine.

"We've always been both."

The changes come after FP reported that that FBI fact sheets declared "the primary function of the FBI is national security."

Two days later, on Jan. 7, the language was changed to "the primary functions of the FBI are national security and law enforcement."

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