Editor’s Note: J. Gary DiLaura is a legendary FBI agent [He helped break the Timothy McVeigh case; was involved in the John Gotti arrest; and, in the old tradition of the FBI, collared bank robbers after shootouts, setting a record one year for most bank robbers caught in NYC. He advised me on the investigation of “The Lost Women of Nxivm”. He is an opinionated man, with deep-seated political views. In the following post, he may surprise readers with his endorsement of his first boss, J. Edgar Hoover. And perhaps not surprise readers that he thinks two of Hoover’s successors – Robert Mueller and James Comey – have done much to weaken the FBI.]
What J. Edgar Hoover did was to take what was a corrupt, inept, untrained, politically-riddled agency called ”The Bureau of Investigation”, and turn it into the most highly trained, best educated, honest and incorruptible crime-fighting agency in the world, called The Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He did that by getting laws passed that gave the FBI the ability to cross state lines and stop criminals from robbing banks, kidnapping, murdering, stealing cars and crossing the state line to avoid arrest and prosecution.
He accomplished that by setting employment mandates on education and instituted rigorous training at a “boot camp” on the Marine base at Quantico, Va, which was the old chapel on the base, which became the FBI Academy.
Hoover instituted ways and means to get the public interested in the FBI so they would get “involved” with the FBI and help solve crimes. He did that so effectively that the FBI became the agency to call with “tips” and call they did until James Comey actually stopped that by directing calls to FBI headquarters so he could control everything.
When Bob Mueller became FBI Director, in 2001, he immediately changed the entire direction of the FBI – as a result of 911!
The FBI was a ‘Crime Fighting Agency, precluded by law from conducting investigations “outside” of the US. The CIA was the primary Intel Agency and BY LAW was precluded from conducting any investigations “inside” the US.
The FBI gathers Intel within the US from the agents who were designated as “Security Agents” as opposed to Criminal Agents.
Criminal Agents were not allowed to share any information with the Security Agents by DOJ rules and vice versa. A brainless decision pushed forth by members of Congress who ironically later condemned the Criminal Agents for not sharing info with our Security counterparts!
During the Congressional hearings on the 911 failures, I recall a Congresswoman condemning a Criminal Agent from the Minneapolis office of the FBI for not sharing the “learn to fly but not take off and land” info with Security Agents — until that agent read back to her the communication she – the Congresswoman – had written years earlier prohibiting Security and Criminal Agents from sharing Intel!
FBI Minneapolis found the computer of the Saudi and asked FBI HQ for permission to obtain a search warrant for the computer, they said no!? The flight paths of all 911 planes, as well as escape routes, were on that computer!
What Mueller did was to “permanently” make Security/Terrorism the top priority of the FBI and Criminal investigations not 2nd or 3rd on the list of priorities but 4th and forgotten!
It’s understandable why – at first – because of 9-11. BUT it should not have been permanent!
I think the biggest mistake made concerning the FBI was making Terrorism a “Security” investigation instead of Criminal.
FBI Headquarters did that with the Oklahoma City Bombing. They made it a Security case.
As I have written before about the Hillary cases being run by HQ and Security Agents – I believe this was an INTENTIONAL act by Comey to pick Security Agents Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok to assist with the Hillary “matters’.
It magnifies what I have said many times even before; Security Agents do not have the criminal experience to handle criminal investigations any more than I am experienced enough to run a security investigation. There are State Department rules that I have no idea about, not like I know the criminal “laws” and rules!
Allow me to give some examples:
The FBI New York office in early 1991 developed info that a blind Islamic clergyman in Brooklyn was preaching the idea of blowing up the Holland Tunnel, buildings and so forth. Criminal Agent Supervisors wanted to open the criminal case, send in undercover agents and informants to prevent a bombing.
That’s what criminal investigators do! The Security side of HQ lead by AG Janet Reno and her handpicked DOJ staff, said ‘NO! It’s a religion and we can’t investigate a religion.’
The result was the 1992 Twin Towers bombing which was TOTALLY preventable…ask former US Attorney [DC] Joe DiGenova!
When the FBI Buffalo office received the very first teletype where Tim McVeigh’s came up as an alias… UNSUB; AKA, TIM MCVEIGH, I was bank robbery supervisor and the Security Supervisor sought help as they had made the case a security case.
What to do?
I did the criminal stuff criminal agents do. We identified McVeigh as the true name and a former employment associate of McVeigh identified the newspaper sketch as McVeigh!
I called FBI Oklahoma City and spoke to my old friend Danny Coulson who was ADIC, heading up the case at Oklahoma and while on the phone ATF Kansas City and FBI Oklahoma had also just reached the same conclusion: McVeigh is our man. He was arrested, just hours before, by the local PD with a gun and was about to be released after spending a night in jail on the gun charge.
The next thing I knew, we were on a plane under orders of President Clinton, with Bill McVeigh, Tim’s father, to Oklahoma to try to interview Tim, at the prison.
While walking to the prison, a Security Agent asked me if we should tell McVeigh his rights! I told him that it was his decision and his alone!
It was the Criminal side of the FBI that solved the Bombing case and the Twin Towers!
In my opinion, when the dust settled, they should have made the bombing a Criminal case run by criminal agents and called it Terrorism or an Act of War in order to keep these Acts of Terrorism as criminal, under the law!
Instead, Mueller transformed the FBI into a rather limp, Intel agency.
Fortunately for America, there were enough agents working terrorism cases who obviously had criminal experience and they continue to do a great job!
Mueller took all the high volume criminal work, that kept agents sharp, continuously training as investigators and side cast it.
Mueller created the deterioration of the FBI!
It’s like being in the military or on an athletic team! In order to stay good at anything you do, you must see a lot of action or train a lot. In order to stay sharp making arrests, you must make arrests; in order to be a proficient shot, you must practice shooting. When the FBI gave up fugitives to the US Marshals, it was a huge mistake – although I believe that happened before Mueller.
Then Mueller transitioned the FBI into the Intel organization it is today. He signed the death warrant of the FBI; that was his decision and did not come from any order from President Bush or a mandate from the Patriot Act.
It was all Mueller.
I’m not saying don’t conduct Intel gathering on terrorism. I’m saying keep the terrorism investigations on the criminal side, let the security side gather and share Intel, and keep those high volume Fugitive, bank robbery and other interstate violations as active cases. Without everyday arrests, we will completely lose the FBI!
COMEY PUT THE STAKE IN THE HEART OF THE FBI!
What former FBI Director James Comey did was to cut the string between the FBI and the public.
Try to call your local FBI office. Unless they changed what Comey started, you will get a recording instructing you to call 911 if this is an emergency!
Comey routed all calls to HQ to decide where to route the call. When HQ received the call that an insane kid in Broward County is going to shoot up a school, the call never made it to Broward County! Why not? Ask Comey.
Last year, I received info on a badly wanted FBI Buffalo fugitive from a reader about the location of and the escape route he would take that night.
After numerous failed attempts to get through to a live person, someone finally answered the phone. When she tried to put me on hold, I told her if she didn’t hook me up to an agent or supervisor she would be selling newspapers tomorrow. She gave me the complaint agent – who put the case agent on – who was very grateful for the info and it led to the arrest.
When I asked what the hell is going on, and how can the public possibly get through to an agent, he said, “Ask Jim Comey”, thanked me and hung up!
In my opinion, Comey has a disdain for the FBI as well as President Trump and everything Comey had done has been to undermine the FBI and this President!