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Column: The FBI’s Struggle to Transform Into an Intelligence Agency

Henry Crumpton served as U.S. coordinator for counterterrorism from 2005 to 2007.


Henry Crumpton/ charlie rose show


Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI, the world’s leading law enforcement agency, has labored to transform itself into an intelligence organization — while preserving its policing pre-eminence. This challenge has proved difficult.

There are major cultural and structural differences between law enforcement and intelligence. I saw how different when I was a senior CIA officer on loan to the FBI, as the deputy chief of the International Terrorism Operations Section from 1998 to 1999. I retired from government service — but recent conversations with knowledgeable government officials suggest that this remains true today.

The FBI is still measuring success, according to one well-informed confidant, based on arrests and criminal convictions — not on the value of intelligence collected and disseminated to its customers.

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