The new FBI, as described by Mueller, will shift its focus to "prevention above all else." The emphasis will move from law enforcement to intelligence and counter-terrorism, and agents will be reassigned from domestic units (where the emphasis is on drug-related and white-collar crime) to ones dealing in terror prevention. The director also wants to add 900 new employees, 500 of whom would work as analysts. This is a sea change for the embattled agency and an answer to critics who maintain it has wasted its manpower on following up traditional crime rather than preventing new waves of terror. But will it be enough to prevent future terror attacks? It's impossible to say for sure, but as Mueller announced Wednesday, the restructuring represents "a dramatic departure from the past."
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The FBI's reorganization effort comes hard on the heels of pointed allegations by longtime agent Coleen Rowley, who wrote a letter to Mueller accusing her superior agents of ignoring her repeated attempts to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui, widely identified as the would-be 20th hijacker in the September 11th attacks. The memo, dated May 21st, goes on to angrily suggest that the agency's leadership is involved in "a delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts?." and is making "a rush to judgment to protect the FBI at all costs." She also charged that critical information from the Phoenix bureau, raising a red flag about a suspicious influx of Middle Eastern men at flight instruction schools, and speculating about possible terror attacks, was ignored at the highest levels of government.
Wednesday, Mueller referred directly to Rowley's memo, and thanked her for her forthrightness. "As our focus changes to terrorism prevention, we must be open to new ideas, to criticism from within and without and to admitting to and learning from our mistakes," he said.