WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI needs to strengthen its intelligence programs and information sharing to counter the diverse and fast-moving national threats that have evolved since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a congressional commission said on Wednesday.
The 9/11 Review Commission report also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s progress in developing key intelligence programs, analysis and human intelligence collection lags its law enforcement capabilities.
“Their message is: You’ve done great, it’s not good enough,” FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday. “And that is exactly my message to the FBI.”
In a review of five recent threats and attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing and attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the crucial tip for three cases did not originate within the FBI, Timothy Roemer, a former U.S. ambassador to India who worked on the report, told reporters.
Roemer said the bureau should give intelligence analysts greater incentive and needs support from the White House and Congress to improve its capabilities.
New threats to the country are greatly expanding in “numbers, scope and lethality,” Roemer said.
Congress created the commission last year to review how well the FBI has carried out recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission after al Qaeda’s hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington.
The 10-month review found the FBI has made significant progress in many areas but still needs better integration of intelligence analysis and criminal investigations.
“This imbalance needs urgently to be addressed to meet growing and increasingly complex national security threats, including from adaptive and increasingly tech-savvy terrorists, more brazen computer hackers and more technically capable global cyber syndicates,” the report said.
The report highlighted dangers from decentralized terrorist networks recruiting homegrown violent extremists. “These foreign fighters, including growing numbers of U.S. citizens, are a clear and present security threat to the United States,” it said.
The FBI faces an increasingly global and dangerous threat environment in 2015 amid an information revolution, the report added. “Everything is moving faster,” it said.
The 9/11 Review Commission said the FBI has built collaborative relationships with government partners, particularly the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. However, it said the bureau needs to share information with the intelligence community and local and state law enforcement agencies more quickly.
The bureau also has “fragmented engagement” with the private sector on cybersecurity threats and should accelerate its outreach, the report said.
Writing by Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Susan Heavey, Dan Grebler and Tom Brown