How Far Do We Want The FBI To Go?

THE BUREAU is now responsible for preventing crimes, not just solving them--which means learning to spy here at home

Back in the dark, scary days of autumn, top law-and-order men like John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge pinned little silver sheriff's stars to every American chest and told us to be vigilant, form neighborhood watch groups and report anything suspicious. The 911 lines promptly jammed, local cops chased flocks of wild geese, and no one felt much safer.

Too much information, it turns out, is sometimes not much better than too little--especially if the information ends up in the hands of a federal agency that doesn't know what to do with it, an agency that hates embarrassment above all things. So...

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