I would be okay if my idea for a DSIA, was actually an expanded and reinvented United States Secret Service. Since it has a history/story, it might be better for organizational cohesion.
What is the DSIA?
DSIA – Domestic Security Intelligence Agency
- counter-intel activity
- counter-terrorist activity
- intelligence activity
- network in with local law enforcement & contractors
- US Secret Service / Executive Protection activity
- fold in TSA Intell
- Embed DSIA/IC cells in all relevant agencies
- full spectrum profiling by covert security officers
- (include members of that agency in the cell)
- Other posts: here
Update: Related from Judge Posner:
The FBI is a detective bureau. Its business is not to prevent crime but to catch criminals. The Justice Department, of which the FBI is a part, knows only one way of dealing with terrorism, and that is prosecution. (Mr. Mueller is a former prosecutor.)
For prosecutors and detectives, success is measured by arrests, convictions and sentences. That is fine when the object is merely to keep the crime rate within tolerable limits. But the object of counterterrorism is prevention. Terrorist attacks are too calamitous for the punishment of the terrorists who survive the attack to be an adequate substitute for prevention.
Detecting terrorist plots in advance so that they can be thwarted is the business of intelligence agencies. The FBI is not an intelligence agency, and has a truncated conception of intelligence: gathering information that can be used to obtain a conviction. A crime is committed, having a definite time and place and usually witnesses and often physical evidence and even suspects. This enables a criminal investigation to be tightly focused. Prevention, in contrast, requires casting a very wide investigative net, chasing down ambiguous clues, and assembling tiny bits of information (hence the importance of information technology, which plays a limited role in criminal investigations).
The bureau lacks the tradition, the skills, the patience, the incentive structures, the recruitment criteria, the training methods, the languages, the cultural sensitivities and the career paths that national-security intelligence requires. All the bureau’s intelligence operations officers undergo the full special-agent training. That training emphasizes firearms skills, arrest techniques and self-defense, and the legal rules governing criminal investigations. None of these proficiencies are germane to national-security intelligence. What could be more perverse than to train new employees for one kind of work and assign them to another for which they have not been trained?
Every major nation (and many minor ones), except the United States, concluded long ago that domestic intelligence should be separated from its counterpart to the FBI. Britain’s MI5 is merely the best-known example. These nations realize that if you bury a domestic intelligence service in an agency devoted to criminal law enforcement, you end up with “intelligence-led policing,” which means orienting intelligence collection and analysis not to preventing terrorist attacks but to assisting in law enforcement.
MI5 and its counterparts in other nations are not law-enforcement agencies and do not have arrest powers. Their single-minded focus is on discovering plots against the nation. Knowing that arrest and prosecution should be postponed until a terrorist network has been fully traced and its methods, affiliates, financiers, suppliers and camp followers identified, they do not make the mistake that the FBI made last year in arresting seven Muslims in Miami on suspicion of plotting to blow up buildings there, along with the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Update: Related from John Yoo:
It makes less and less sense for one agency, the FBI, to be grappling with Internet-savvy Al Qaeda terrorists while also dealing with drug trafficking, insider trading on Wall Street, copyright violations and industrial espionage.
The FBI’s current organizational culture is fundamentally incompatible with foreign intelligence and with war. For instance, the FBI rates and promotes agents based on the number of cases opened and solved. This makes sense if the bureau’s sole mission is solving crimes that have already occurred — but not if the mission is gathering intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks.
The inherent inflexibility of the FBI bureaucracy conflicts with the very heart of the intelligence mission. Intelligence officers must be imaginative to intuit patterns that might signal an unconventional attack on the order of 9/11. They need to act more quickly and decisively than traditional law enforcement officers. The FBI moves slowly, managing its employees by command and control. Criminal prosecution is the FBI’s preferred tool to handle terrorism. It doesn’t think first of double agents, blackmail, bribery or misinformation — all valuable tools in combating terrorism.
Filed under: Public Policy | Tagged: Domestic Security | Leave a comment »