Amy knows much more about intelligence and terrorism than I do, and her list of birthday gifts for the FBI is a sensible one, within limits. But the best present for the Bureau, the present that would really make the recipient better-off, would be relief from the counter-terror assignment, an assignment which is simply a lousy fit for the agency’s organizational culture.
Think about it this way: If someone asked you how to fashion a hair-dryer out of a bicycle, you could do it, with a little ingenuity.
* Attach playing-cards to the spokes of the front wheel with clothespins.
* Build a frame to convert the bike into a stationary bike.
* Have the person with wet hair stand next to the front wheel while someone else gets on the bike and pedals madly.
* Then the breeze created by the playing-cards will dry the hair: very, very slowly.
Or you could go out and buy a hairdryer, which would (1) dry hair more effectively; (2) not require the presence of a cyclist; and (3) free up the bike for use as transportation or for sport.
Amy’s post attempts to answer the question “What’s the best way to do a prevention-oriented, intelligence-intensive, foreign-culture-intensive job with a technologically backward, culturally insular organization devoted to making prosecutable cases about violations of Federal law?” And it’s not a bad answer to that question, as posed. But surely the right answer to that question must be “By using some other organization.” It’s a classic case of “If I were going there, I sure wouldn’t start from here.”
If we need an MI-5 — an counter-intelligence agency that also provides domestic security against foreign threats — let’s build one for the purpose, rather than trying to do the job “the FBI way,” which in this context will inevitably be the wrong way.