Culture, Change and Cooperation: A Study of the FBI's Adaptation to the 21st Century Security Environment

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Culture, Change and Cooperation: A Study of the FBI's Adaptation to the 21st Century Security Environment
Bell, Brittney
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Counterterrorism ( jstor )
Information sharing ( jstor )
Intelligence services ( jstor )
Law enforcement ( jstor )
Military technology ( jstor )
Motivation ( jstor )
National security ( jstor )
Police ( jstor )
Public administration ( jstor )
Terrorism ( jstor )
Intelligence service
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


NULL ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Arts; Graduated May 8, 2012 magna cum laude. Major: Political Science
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College/School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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Legacy honors title: Only abstract available from former Honors Program sponsored database.
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UF Honors Program sponosored database

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University of Florida
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Copyright Brittney Bell. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires p

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1 Culture, Change and Cooperation : A Study of the FBI s Adaptation to the 21 st Century Security Environment Brittney L. Bell Dr. Zachary Selden University of Florida


2 ABSTRACT When J. Edgar Hoover served as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), he placed the Bureau on the map as the nation's premier law enforcement agency. He instil led an image of his agents as "G men," known for their brute strength, intellect and independence. However, in the modern political age of interconnectedness, are Hooverian values incompatible with the forward thinking counterterrosim strategy of the FBI a nd its partners? What residual of Hoover's cultural legacy has complicated adaptation to Director Muller's post 9/11 policies? This case study examines the cultural elements of the FBI that continue to challenge the integration of the Bureau's knowledge an d resources into the grander strategy of the Intelligence Community. INTRODUCTION On the night of May 1, 2010, evacuations on several blocks of Times Square disturbed regular Saturday evening activities as police responded to a complaint regarding a smok ing Nissan Pathfinder abandoned in the heart of the Square (Baker 2010) Later identified as belonging to the naturalized United States citizen Faisal Shahzad, the vehicle contained a "crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks" (Rashbaum 2010) Onc e Federal inquiry identified Shahzad, a native Pakistani, as a potential subject in the terrorism investigation in the days following the May 1 st incident, officials placed Shahzad on a no fly list (Rashbaum 2010) Government delay in implementing this no fly categorization, however, permitted Shahzad to board his intended escape flight to Dubai before he was apprehended by law enforcement "The most effective weapon against crime is cooperationthe efforts of all law enforcement agenc ies with the understanding of the American people." -J. Edgar Hoover


3 authorities (Rashbaum 2010) Later interrogation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and confession from Shah zad, revealed that he had sought explosives training while abroad in Pakistan in preparation for his attempted attack in Times Squar e (Rashbaum 2010) Shahzad frequented Pakistan around ten times in the seven years preceding his attempted terrorist attac k. Authorities had been aware of his July visit to Peshawar, Pakistan, "a jumping off point for foreign visitors to join up with jihadist groups;" however Shahzad's naturalized United States citizenship allowed him to slide under the intelligence rada r (Ch iaramonte 2010) Once detained in Federal custody, Shahzad explained that he had traveled from Peshawar to the rogue region of Waziristan (Chiaramonte 2010) Sharing a border with Afghanistan, Waziristan is known to be run by the Pakistani Taliban and to h arbor foreign jihadists, acti ng as a hub for radical Islamism ("The Last Frontier" 2009). The unveiled connection between attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban extremists invites many questions regarding the efficiency of the reformed Intelligence Community. Why was Shahzad's travel to known radical Islamist areas of Pakistan not brought to the attention of counter terrorism authorities? Why did the FBI not inquire into Shahzad's activities sooner? More over, what impeded i ntelligence sharing and allowed Shahzad to board the Emirates flight despite his placement on a no fly list? Inter agency non cooperation is a problem that is not unique to the post September 11 th reformed intelligence community, and the 2010 attempted Ti mes Square bombing intelligence failure was not the first incident that evidenced bureaucratic non cooperation. Competition between the Bureau and intelligence agencies has categorized the discourse of the intelligence community since the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Truman (Hulnick 1997). In this paper, I seek to explain why the reform implemented by the 9/11


4 Commission has still failed to effectively foil terrorism plots despite significant policy changes to the structu re and operations of the intelligence community and, more specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I will argue that the institutional culture of the Bureau has stymied inter agency cooperation and intelligence sharing. In pursuit of this proje ct, I will first delineate a brief history of the Hooverian model of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its pre 9/11 structure and culture I will then discuss the reformed mission, st ructure and policies of the FBI as well as that of the broader Inte lligence Community I believe that a review of the FBI's structural components is necessary in order to attain a versed perspective on the Bureau as an institution and in order to illustrate how the Bureau has or has not adapted to a political environment distinctly different from the politics of Hoover's era I do not, however, intend to argue that the reformed structure of the Bureau itself is flawed. I am not claiming that the Bureau has not adapted sufficiently to the post 9/11 era of technological adv ancements and cell based terrorism on the level of policy. Rather, I am speaking about the level of implementation. I am writing about the reality, not the theory. I am studying what occurs in practice, when agents and analysts with distinct beliefs, knowl edge and cultures function within the bureaucracy. I aim to show that the cultural stigmas held within the FBI inhibit the flow of intelligence to the scope of the Bureau's counter terrorism mission. To demonstrate the change resistant culture, I will focu s on the specific impediments that influence the Bureau at both the level of policy and at the level of implementation Moreover, what I aim to elucidate in the most general sense is the restrictive nature of bureaucratic culture and competition. As such, before narrowing my focus to the case of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I will explore the literature regarding the motives of bureaucracy.


5 LITERATURE REVIEW Before exploring current knowledge on bureaucracy, I first find it necessary to establish an explicit definition of bureaucracy. In this literature review, I will be functioning under the domain of bureaucracy as defined by Niskanen (1971): bureaus are "nonprofit organizations which are financed, at least in part, by a periodic appropriation or g rant." To my knowledge, the literature is divided in its description of the underlying motives of bureaucracies and the way in which bureaucracies function. Wise (2004) outlines four distinct schools of thought that the literature regarding bureaucratic c ulture are categorized as : (1) the Weberian/Responsible Bureaucracy (2) the Representative Bureaucracy (3) the Public Service Motivation and (4) the Public Choice Theory Before I align my work with a specific approach, I will detail prevailing argument s belonging to each approach more specifically. The Weberian Bureaucracy The Weberian or Responsible Bureaucracy model derives its basis from the core values of the Weberian tradition; assuming the rule of law, equal treatment under law, and impartiality (Wise 2004). In order to uphold these values, proponents of the Weberian bureaucracy school argue, politics and administration must interact only when necessary. Weber's (1962) bureaucracy, regardless if a public or private institution, is not influenced in any capacity by the private lives of officials. This separation of public and private spheres advanced by the traditional model of Weberian bureaucracy ensures that bureaucratic institutions serve the public interest while limiting special interests (Wi se 2004). It follows that behavior in a responsible bureaucracy is constricted by rules. March and Olsen (1989) define rules in this context not only as "routines, procedures, conventions, roles,


6 strategies, organizational forms and technologies...[but] also as the beliefs, paradigms, codes, cultures, and knowledge that both support and contradict those roles." These rules are followed, according to March and Olsen, regardless of whether they benefit the personal interest of individuals in the bureaucracy The Representative Bureaucracy The representative bureaucracy model posits the idea that individuals become members of a government institution in order to ensure their representation in the decision making process of that organization. Wise (2004) vie ws that behavior in a representative bureaucracy stems from a bureaucrat's desire to determine the appropriate actions in a given situation Wise and Tschirhart (2000) vie w that both public and private sector bureaucracies have attempted to achieve repres entativeness by emphasizing diversity standards. Demands for diverse demographic representation follow from a normative desire for bureaucracies to provide justice and satisfaction to citizens. Krislov (1974) rejects the premise that the diversity of the administration would reflect the conflicting interests of different factions of society; a civil servant elected for embodying a single set of ideals, he contend s cannot be expected to stagnate in the same perspectives he held at the time of his appointm ent throughout the twenty or so years of his career. The notion of a representative bureaucracy seems to be an unrealistic ideal when applied to the organic and constantly changing real world demographic. Public Service Public service theory uniquely focu ses not on the bureaucracy itself, but on the motivation of public servants that diverges from that of counterparts in the private sector. Service in public bureaucracies, according to this approach, is an end rather than a means to an end, such


7 that "the process that causes individuals to perform acts that contribute to the public good [is] a way of satisfying their personal needs" (Wise 2004). Perry and Wise (1990) believe that certain individuals are predisposed to these motivations ; these individuals dr iven by a public service motivation are more likely to become member s of public organization s The mission of the institution charges individuals to link their work performance with their personal needs and self concept (Wright 2007). Rainey (1979), howev er, argues that the "procedural rigidity" of public administrations may confound performance and motivation of employees because these government institutions do not provide the incentives of private companies. Public Choice In contrast with public servi ce theory, proponents of public choice theory argue that bureaucracies are motivated by budget and resource maximization. This school views bureaucracies as self interested organizations actuated by the potential for personal gain. As a bureaucracy grows, its mission will deviate from the organization's purpose and concentrate on the survival of the bureaucracy itself (Downs 1967). Niskanen (1971) demonstrates public choice theory through the economic model of supply by bureaucracy. A bureaucracy's primary objective is to expand in size and budget, which is negotiated by a review board. Survival under this review board requires that a bureaucracy is profit maximizing and is competitive with the other bureaus being reviewed by this common board. As such, comp etitive bureaus will cooperate effectively only if the review board provides a rational motive for this cooperation (Niskanen 1971). Moreover, Niskanen (1971) explains that in the case of national security institutions, monopolistic specialization in compl ementary processes would, in the view of the bureau, reduce risks. Fear of diffused authority contributes to this risk avoidance, as well as to conservatism and


8 the development of routines within the bureaucracy (Langevoort 1990, 529). Moe (1984) explains that routines imposed by supervisors determine the organizational structure of the bureaucracy and dictate the behavior of subordinates. These institutionalized routines restrict the organic flow of information and limit the decision making capabilities o f agents. Discretion by agents in the principal agent hierarchy becomes more limited in older institutions, according to Tirole (1986), because a mature bureaucracy has older members bound by previous commitments. In addition, autonomy of agents in a large bureaucracy is more limited and the bureaucracy is more resistant to adaptations (Tirole 1986). The informal and rule driven means of communication between the principal and agents in a large bureaucracy, according to Downs (1967), implies varying knowled ge at different levels of the hierarchy that compounds coordination between supervisors and those lower in the hierarchy. This communication barrier could have serious implications for national security bureaucracies that depend on timely communication of information and intelligence. These four schools of bureaucratic theory rely on hypothetical sets of assumed values of both human nature and economics. This study will center on challenging the appropriateness of public choice theory of bureaucratic postu re, which on the surface seems to touch at a potential cause of non cooperation between the FBI and other national security institutions. The foundation of public choice theory in rational choice economics, however, neglects the core elements of political decision making. George (1969) elaborates on this point that the operational code of a political decision maker, or their system of beliefs about the political world, "provides norms, standards and guidelines that influence the actor's choice of strategy." Rational choice in a political environment, therefore, is compounded by "cognitive limits such as the incomplete nature of information about the given situation and the inadequa te knowledge of the benefits of


9 selecting one option over the other (George 1969). Political decisions are thus akin to philosophical, instrumental, and cultural factors and beliefs. THEORY/HYPOTHESIS Although George's (1969) work in operational code stems from foreign policy analysis, the relationship that he identifies between rational decision making and the subjective belief system and cognitive limits of the decision maker can appropriately be translated to evaluating the conduct of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In this study, I will argue that the operational code an d culture institutionalized by J. Edgar Hoover guides the processes and actions of the FBI. To define culture in terms of the FBI and national security institutions, I will borrow the distinction drawn by Zegart (2007): the ideas, values, and beliefs that influence how employees view the world and what they hold dear ." Zegart (2007) explains that while cultures can be positive when they correspond with the organization's mission, cultural pathologies preclude innovational thoughts and actions. The force c ompelling the FBI to avoid cooperation with other agencies is not a unique flaw in the Bureau, nor is it only evidenced in the intelligence community. Large bureaucracies become more institutionalized and resistant to change over time. Ritualized procedure s and methodologies survive decades of employee turnover, and internal hierarchies prevent innovative discussion between the agent and principal. Often times, at the level of theory, policies may seem logically sound, but at the level of practice, policies do not yield the desired result due to cultural impediments. In general, this research is concerned with the relationship between bureaucratic character and efficiency at achieving the mission of the institution. To describe this trend in terms of variab le relationships, I am concerned with the way in which the independent variable


10 of policy interacts with the confounding variable of culture to affect change, the dependent variable, in the bureaucratic institution. I will argue that policy change is neces sary, but not sufficient, to yield institutional change. With a distant principal agent relationship within a large bureaucracy, even if a principal (or new director in this case) seeks to alter the system and to change the policies by which the bureaucrac y functions, cultural beliefs and stigmas held among the agents can render the new policies inadequate to achieve the bureaucracy's mission. Cultural change therefore constitutes another necessary condition to facilitate the desired change in the instituti on itself. With a culture as distinct and institutionalized as that of Hoover's "G man" based FBI, policy changes that compromise the independence and power of Special Agents and of the Bureau as an organization through reliance on analysts, technologies o r other national security institutions will not be as effective in practice as they may seem in theory. Adaptation to demands for cooperation is not impossible; however, change at the level of i mplementation will be a gradual and a likely resisted process. DATA/METHODS Considering the qualitative nature of my research question, I will be using a case study of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to obtain insight on the factors that characterize the bureaucracy and how these factors affect the ab ility of the institution to accomplish the Bureau's mission. This case study involves a multifaceted approach to describing the posture of this federal bureaucracy. First, I will describe the historical background of the way in which J. Edgar Hoover revolu tionized the Federal Bureau of Investigation and augmented its image to be perceived as the national security and law enforcement powerhouse that it is today. I will then look at the discourse of the reform movement and criticisms of the FBI and its intell igence failure by the 9/11 C ommission. In this section, I will also provide a clear picture of the structure


11 of the intelligence community before and following the large scale intelligence reform. I will also discuss the new mission of the FBI. The next s ection will take a closer look at a cultural traits that have, despite policy reform, remained dominant characteristics of the FBI that guide the discourse of decision making and cooperation: the Need to Know Tradition, the Agent Analyst Paradigm, the retr oactive versus proactive dichotomy, and the cultural aversion to technology. The need to know tradition of the FBI requires that anyone viewing sensitive information acquire the appropriate level of security clearance, barring the spread of information to people who do not have the appropriate clearance. This measure precludes an individual potentially capable of connecting the dots and developing this information into valuable intelligence from ever seeing the information. I will discuss this security para dox in more detail in Section III (A) of this case study. Another cultural tradition of the FBI that I will discuss in this case study is the agent analyst competition paradigm. The mission reform after the September 11th intelligence failure has led the FB I under Director Mueller to actively recruit Intelligence Analysts, the support personnel counterparts to Special Agents. The competitive rifts between agents and support staff and the implications of this internal competition between Bureau employees will be explained Section I II(B) of this case study. Section III(C) will take a closer look at the transformation of the Bureau's mission from the law enforcement mission of the FBI made famous by Director Hoover to it's present priority of counter terrorism. Finally, Section III(D) will analyze the FBI's disinclination toward utilizing technologies that facilitate efficient spread of intelligence in the present information age. In order to pursue my research, I will largely rely on the data collection method of document based research. I will be using both primary and secondary documents, gathering insight from political and legal journals FBI publications, governmental and congressional


12 reports, and other elements of the written record to describe the case o f the FBI in terms of bureaucratic efficiency. I will also supplement this information with observational data and interview data. Having worked with both Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts in two Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Offices I witn essed the cultural impediments to cooperation at play. I attended a multi agency execution of a search warrant in which a lack of coordination between the FBI, DEA, and FDLE complicated the intelligence collection on site. In addition, I will be interviewi ng Special Agents and former FBI supervisors to attain a first hand perspective on cooperation efforts and bureaucratic eff iciency. Anonymous input from current FBI Special Agents and Support Personnel contribute an interesting perspective about the way bu reaucratic culture determines the efficiency of the FBI at accomplishing its objectives. Though I am assured that a qualitative case study presents the most comprehensive means of assessing the culture of the FBI relative to my theory and hypothesis, I mu st be candid about the limitations of my approach. Neglecting to use a larger quantitative analysis does compromise the ability to generalize my findings about the subset FBI to the larger scope of bureaucracy Fenno (1978) explains that non quantifiable d ata is no less worthy in political science than any other form of data analysis. I do not claim in that my research is quantifiable, and my aim is not to develop a statistically empirical analysis of bureaucracy. My objective in this project is to describe the behaviors, motivations and cultures that characterize this specific public bureaucracy and to determine how these factors have impacted inter agency cooperation in intelligence and counter terrorism This variety of research is appropriate for explain ing shortcomings of the bureaucracy and discovering which elements of the FBI's culture have permitted intelligence failures. In a practical sense, I hope that this report will be able to offer explicitly or implicitly prescriptions for refining the FBI in terms of its counter terrorism


13 mission. Moreover, I aim to contribute to the knowledge on the interplay between the variables of policy and culture. I must also be candid and forthcoming about the bias in my study. Observational and interview data in my study will be extrapolated from a specific Field Office and Resident Agency located in similar geographic regions It is possible that the observations I have made are influenced by regional factors. However, FBI policies regarding the selection, training and placement of Bureau employees may serve to mitigate this bias. Assignment of Special Agents and Analysts to these field offices is representative of the Bureau's demographics in theory ; mobility agreements signed by newly appointed FBI personnel allo w FBI Headquarters to relocate employees to different offices in order to diversify FB I populations in each of the 56 field offices and their corresponding satellite offices. I am unable to confirm, however, if retention of personnel at each field office a fter the probationary period i s systematic rather than random I am able, nonetheless, to use data collected from these offices as specific cases in which conduct at the level of implementation deviates from regulations enfo rced by the headquarters. The le gitimacy of my conclusions will therefore not be compromised by the qualitative nature of my study. CULTURE ANALYSIS I. HOOVER'S FBI John Edgar Hoover, in his forty eight year term as the director of the FBI (then BOI) institutionalized the Federal Burea u of Investigation as a fundamental organization in the United States government. Hoover raised the standards for Special Agents appointed to the Bureau, requiring comprehensive background investigations, interview processes and physical fitness


14 evaluation s as well as advanced education in either legal or financial discipline ( "Directors, Then and Now" 2012 ). Hoover's FBI permeated popular culture and became revered for its power and success in capturing and indicting bank robbers and kidnappers The FBI un der Hoover was prided with employing Special Agents who were considered men of integrity and honor, whose "educational qualifications ensure the finest of America's young manhood" (Hoover 1952). While Hoover's administration did showcase counterintelligenc e efforts against Soviet intelligence the overt prestige of law enforcement agents continued to dominate the culture of counterintelligence in the FBI ( Odom 2003). Hoover also emphasized the necessity of the continued confidentiality of FBI work. He expla ins that by maintaining confidentiality of Bureau reports, the FBI guarantees the protection of sources from danger or public scrutiny (Hoover 1956). Confidentiality of information and sources providing this information protects individuals and methods tha t aide in FBI operations (Hoover 1956). This tradition of secrecy and confidentiality came to characterize the discourse of Bureau investigations and intelligence handling fr om Hoover's term to the present. Moreover, Hoover's glorification of Special Agent s as the premier asset to the Bureau would, in its legacy, instigate a cultural divide between intelligence analysts and "Special" Agents. II. THE POST 911 FBI REFORM In the years since the September 2001 terrorist attack, the Bureau has adapted in order to meet the growing security demands of the twenty first century. Prior to 9/11, the FBI's counterterrorism strategy functioned on insufficient intelligence and training, limited analysis capabilities and information sharing barriers ( Kean et al 2004). Th e modern FBI faces a "complex threat environment" different from that in which Hoover's FBI operated in, and at the level of policy, the Bureau has since 9/11, "transformed itself into a intelligence led national


15 security agency whose highest priority is to protect our nation from terrorist attack (Mueller 2011). The FBI formed an independent National Security Branch comprised of its counterterrorism and counter intelligence divisions, and forged Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) in each of the Bureau's 56 field offices (Treverton 2008). As FBI Director Mueller (2011 ) advised Congress in his testimony, however, the FBI's refurbished mission still involves dealing with various security threats in addition to its counterterrorism priority: cyber based attacks public corruption, t ransnational organized crime, major white collar crime, and significant violent crimes. With such a broad policy agenda, it is clear that the Bureau would need the assistance of specialists both within the FBI and in other national se curity institutions in order to manage the scope of the counter terrorism mission. The imposition of several policies intended to enhance collaboration between national security institutions as members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC) follo wed from such demands for cooperation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation joins with sixteen other government agencies and organizations to comprise the IC: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Coast Guard Inte lligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State, Department of the Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Marine Corps Intelligence, the National Ge ospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency (NSA), Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ( "Seventeen Agencies" 2012 ). Under the mandate of the Intelligence Reform and Te rrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was formed with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) functioning as the leader of the IC ( "A Complex Organization" 2012 ). In addition, this Act in conjunctio n with the


16 9/11 commission report encourages inter agency intelligence sharing and increasing mobility of classified information between national security organizations (NSIS 2008). In addition to the implementation of the ODNI to coordinate intelligence sharing within the IC, Executive Order 13354 created the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) in 2004 with the mission of "l ead [ ing ] our nation's effort to combat terrorism by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integ rating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort" ( "National Counterterrosim Center 2012 ). Executive Order 13470, which modifies EO 13354, delineates that the FBI's role in this joint national intelligence shall be to "collect, analyze, produce, and disseminate foreign intelligenceto support national and departmental missions" (EO 13470 2008 ). Furthermore, Congress instituted the Information Sharing Environment (ISE), hosted by the ODNI, as a stride toward integrating all law enforcemen t and intelligence organizations in order to share information pertaining to terrorism, homeland security and law enforcement (Nojeim 2009). In spite of internal and external policy initiatives to cooperate and share, however, it appears that another for ce is impeding the transformation of the FBI into a more proactive, forward thinking and open institution. To further our understanding of this issue, it is important to look into the elements of the Bureau's culture that predispose it against open coopera tion. III. FBI CULTURE A. Secrecy and the Need to Know Tradition The very nature of work in a national security institution creates a security paradox that biases bureaucracies such as the FBI against information sharing and cooperation. In order to prote ct information that could potentially threaten the security and national interests of the United States, sensitive information must be concealed from the general public, as asserted in


17 NSC Intelligence Directive No. 12 (White 2003). Intelligence is therefo re categorized under different classifications based on the degree to which publicity of this information would harm national security, ranging from R estricted to Confidential to Secret to Top Secret. These classifications, however, limit those able to vie w the information and interpret its value in preventing terrorist activity, for example. While all FBI employees are required to undergo an extensive background investigation and to attain a Top Secret grade security clearan ce after receiving a conditiona l job offer t he granting of this clearance does not in itself entitle Special Agents or Analysts access to all Bureau files. In addition to thwarting the internal flow of intelligence, the need to know tradition inhibits information sharing within the b roader IC. Different regulations and procedures for classifying and sharing intelligence obscure the understanding of classification levels and discourage trust across the IC ( McConnel & Meyerrose 2008). The cultural lack of trust held by the FBI and other IC members challenges the ability to embrace the "responsibility to provide" mentality requisite to successful information sharing and cooperation ( McConnel & Meyerrose 2008). Secrecy traditions also impact the flow of intelligence through the intelligen ce cycle. To gain more insight on the intelligence cycle, I spoke with a current FBI Special Agent working in counterterrorism and former supervisor at the FBI's Miami Field Office, who agreed to sit down with me on the condition of anonymity. He explains that intelligence can be shared through two channels: top down sharing, from the federal government to the local level or bo ttom up sharing, from the grass roots to the government. The agent underscores that in the present security environment, there exist s no balance between top down and bottom up information sharing bottom up intelligence monopolizes the intelligence cycle because of trust issues and need to


18 know requirements. Only in the event that a local entity's security is directly threatened will in formation be pushed down to share from the federal government, he elaborates (2012, March 12) Ineffective vertical cooperation within the bureaucracy further complicates horizontal coordination between the Bureau and other agencies particularly in the e vent of a national emergency. Accustomed to these blocked channels of communication in times absent major security crises, Bureau personnel do not appropriately develop cooperation skills necessary in times of crisis. T he 2001 example of the Anthrax scare illustrates the plausible detriment to national security and the safety of American citizens resulting from the infrequency of top down intelligence sharing. In his case study on the relationship between emergencies and government information, Maxwell (200 3) expresses how ineffective flow of information from the government to the public can thwart threat mitigation. A lack of communication between the CDC, FBI and the military prior to declassifying information to the public led to confusing and contradicto ry messages about the nature of the Anthrax scare and a lack of normative "scientific objectivity" (Maxwell 2003). Inefficient knowledge sharing between the disciplines of science and national security at the time of the Anthrax scare's bioterrorism invest igation highlighted deficiencies in preparedness for managing cross disciplinary crises (Maxwell 2003). In a study more specific to national security and law enforcement cooperation, Cordner and Scarborough (2010) prompted Bureau and local law enforcement personnel with hypothetical scenarios in order to gauge the effectiveness of recent policy initiatives meant to promote interagency cooperation. When prompted with a situation in which a Bureau employee accessed intelligence relating an international terro rist organization to a domestic drug smuggling case, respondents generally concurred that the Bureau would unilaterally pursue the


19 investigation (Cordner & Scarborough 2010). One respondent remarked that, "[although] information sharing between the federal and state government has improvedthe level of cooperation seems to vary greatly depending on the personalities of individual Bureau and police chiefs" (Cordner & Scarborough 2010). He explains that when the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) collabo rates with local police on a case of similar magnitude, often times the Bureau declines to expose specific intelligence details to the locals (Cordner & Scarborough 2010). Despite the 2008 National Strategy for Information Sharing emphasis on the transitio n from a "need to know" to a "need to share" culture, progress appears to be impeded by cultural biases at the level of implementation. The "need to share" between federal and local law enforcement agencies is most evident in a 2001 case of non coordinatio n between FBI intelligence and local law enforcement when multiple 9/11 hijacker's were stopped for traffic violations prior to their suicide attacks. In July 2001, a Florida police officer stopped September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta for speeding (Stewart 2011). Atta presented an invalid drivers licence, and a warrant for his arrest was issued after he neglected to pay his ticket (Candiotti 2002). Then, in September 2001, Maryland State police stopped hijacker Zaid Jarrah for a speeding violation (Candiotti 2002). The FBI failed to communicate to the local law enforcement officers that Jarrah had been placed on the CIA's watch list, and Jarrah was released with only a speeding ticket. Poor communication between federal and local authorities permitted Jarrah to free ly drive to Newark Airport two days later, on September 11, 2001. B. The Agent Analyst Paradigm While Hoover's FBI centered around Special Agents as talented and capable actors in the Bureau's law enforcement mission, the present FBI's post 9/11 pr iority of counterterrorism has


20 challenged the primacy of Special Agents as the central actors in the organization's mission. Contrary to the agent analyst dynamic of the law enforcement division, analysts's roles in the National Security Division are of pa ramount importance because of their technical skills and specialized knowledge. Thus, the special agent's role is to support these analysts in their pursuit and processing of intelligence ( McGroddy 200 4 ). Cooperation between analysts and their colleagues i s essential to the counterterrorism effort ( McGroddy 200 4). It appears, however, that cultural stigmas that pride the "special" agents as superior assets to their analyst counterparts complicate cooperative efforts between Bureau employees. The FBI's Offi ce of Intelligence claims that special agents constitute one of the best collection mechanisms available to the intelligence community ," even though analysts are recognized as those with specific expertise in areas pertinent to counterterrorism and intell igence (Thornburgh 2005). Moreover, organizationally, most intelligence agencies hold agents and intelligence analysts equally accountable in counterterrorism efforts (Zegart 2007); however, Lautner (2010) reports that within the FBI's national security br anch, three intelligence or counterintelligence divisions are led by Special Agents and not by senior intelligence officials. The influx of analyst hiring that occurred in the years after 9/11 instigated personal tension between agents and analysts (Shane & Bergman 2006) At the top level of the counterterrorism division, leadership changed seven times between 2001 and 2006, and one in particular stepped down from her position in the counterterrorism division because of her "clashing with FBI old timers" (S hane & Bergman 2006). The backgrounds of analysts differ from those of Special Agents in terms of education, work experience and life experience because of contrasting qualifications. The differences in hiring qualifications are charted below:


21 Special Age nts Intelligence Analysts Must be 23 37 years old at time of appointment Must have 4 year college degree Must have 4 year college degree minimum Must have 3 years professional work experience No prior work experience required Must qualify under one o f five Special Agent Entry programs: accounting, law, computer science/information technology, language, diversified Should come from a listed background of interest related to area of work/study, cultural or language expertise Must pass background invest igation/polygraph Must pass background investigation/polygraph Must pass Phase I & II testing Must pass Phase I testing & interview (source: & Before the present guidelines for hiring intelligence analyst s were established, the murky regulations for the analyst hiring process led to confusing and varied procedures that starkly contrasted the rigid standards of Special Agent hiring. Throughout the 2004 fiscal year, the FBI tried three different hiring proce dures, which resulted in inconsistent review processes (Thornburgh 2005). Interview procedures conducted by field offices, which should be of critical importance in selecting analysts to handle sensitive national security information, ranged from casual "m eet and greet sessions" to f ormal interviews (Thornburgh 2005). In some cases, due to the high demand for an increased analyst work force, the interview process was neglected entirely in assessing candidates (Thornburgh 2005). Because of the number of "bur eau traditionalists" those who worked for the FBI prior to the post 9/11 mission overhaul resisting cultural change within the Bureau, acceptance of intelligence analysts as equal assets to the FBI has proven a slow process (Shane & Bergman 2006). Five yea rs after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, intelligence analysts continued being treated like what Zegart termed "glorified secretaries" (Shane & Bergman 2006). C. A Retroactive Institution with a Proactive Mission Hoover's bureau of G men stigmatized the FBI a s the nation's most powerful law


22 enforcement agency. Despite the Bureau's new priority mission of counterterrorism, FBI agents view law enforcement missions, such as bank robbery and public corruption cases, as a more "glamorous" responsibility than workin g counterterrorism missions (Natta 2002). In the years prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, legal barriers precluded the mingling of intellig ence and criminal investigation. The Patriot Act removed these barriers, however, which permitted the reshaping of the FBI's methodology from one of response to a culture of prevention and deterrence. D espite the removal of these barriers the FBI's Intelligence Division continues to face challenges in acclimating its culture toward a more proactive app roach (Roberts 2006). The shift from a law enforcement establishment to a counterterrorism agency has been uncomfortable for the FBI as it shifts its priority from traditional missions to analysis and prevention (Zegart 2007). Maintaining its traditional law enforcement missions in addition to its new national security objectives, the Bureau lacks a singular focus that would direct its culture from one of reaction to one of action. This model contrasts that of foreign countries' domestic intelligence progr ams that focus on a unified "culture of prevention" (Treverton 2008). This results in a divided organization functioning under two opposing objectives and methodologies. D. The Aversion to Technology I first learned about the Bureau's stigma against the use of technology when I began interning at the FBI field office and an agent was briefing me on the squad's current cases. His discussion began as a casual oral explanation of the intelligence that the squad had accumulated, but when matters became too co mplicated, he left the room to find a visual aid. As the agent re entered the room wheeling in a white board, he joked that he wanted to introduce me to the Bureau's most advanced and reliable piece of technology.


23 Underlying this comedic statement, howeve r, is a cultural truth about the Bureau: Hoover established FBI Special Agents as "men of actionG men'with an aversion to technology and analysis" (Zegart 2007). The slow development and adaptation to information technologies has impeded communication a nd coordination for the Bureau both internally and externally. The necessity to improve the technological capabilities of the FBI and to cooperate with other agenc ies through these technologies became evident following the Se ptember 2001 terrorist attacks. FBI technologies lagged as it functioned under the computer capacities of the 20 th century, while terrorists had begun engaging in 21st century cyber warfare (Schmitt 2003). Th e need for policy change regarding technology w as reflected in Director Muell er's updated list of FBI priorities in the F all of 2001: 9. Support federal, state, county, municipal, and international partners. 10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission (Thornburgh 2005). It appears, however, through analysis o f the results of Director Mueller's initiative to improve the technological capacity of the Bureau, that some internal force is hindering the transformation of the FBI at a functional level to a technologically savvy organization. A 2005 report by a panel of the National Academy of Public Administration found that four years after Director Mueller's prioritizing technological transformation, modern information technologies remained "under utilized" in spite of their attainability (Thornburgh 2005). Before the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI essentially operated on paper, as its 42 outdated computer systems were not interconnected in a way that allowed the transfer or sharing of information (Laut n er 2010). After 9/11, the Bureau attempted to instit ute the Trilogy information system as a preliminary step in the process of information technology modernization. Trilogy entailed a two part agenda: (1) to modernize the workstations of


24 employees with new hardware and software and (2) to supplement the inv estigative process with improved, user friendly case management software ( McGroddy 200 4 ). Implementation of the Trilogy program intended to create as a high speed network that connected individuals working in all FBI field offices through a common Virtual Case File in response to the geographic ambiguity of the terrorist threat (McGroddy et al. 200 4 ). Despite this stride toward modernization, however, a 2004 report by the NRC's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board found that the FBI's effort and o perational investment in the task of implementing the Trilogy program were "late and limited," projecting little success in transforming the Bureau's intelligence process (McGroddy et al. 2004). In fact, by 2006, the Trilogy program was deemed an immense f ailure, costing the government around $10 million (Calbom 2006). Following the Trilogy failure, the Bureau proposed the Guardian system, which FBI supervisor Gerald Rogero claims would potentially prevent terrorist attacks by allowing all law enforcement a gencies to access tips through a common database (Montopoli 2009). A sister to the FBI's E Guardian program, which mimics the broader Information Sharing Environment (ISE) by sharing unclassified knowledge about terrorism the Guardian system contains tips contributed from different law enforcement entities (Nojeim 2009) Failure to update information contained in the Guardian system, however, has led to multiple counts of data integrity issues. FBI supervisors have neglected to follow up on thirty percent of threats contained in this database (Nojeim 2009). These particular instances of failure clarify that the outdated technological capabilities of the Bureau cannot be attributed to a lack of policy initiative. Funding has, on multiple occasions, been all ocated to bringing the FBI's information technologies to the twenty first century.


25 Another factor, therefore, must be confounding the success of the Bureau's programs. Cultural stigmas held by Special Agents of the older generation leads to resistance agai nst using newer information technologies even though these newer systems may promise more efficiency than older methods of case management (Thornburgh 2005). A seasoned FBI Special Agent currently working in counterterrorism, who has chosen to remain anon ymous, adds that "technology is advancing so fast that the seasoned employees find it hard to keep up with it; however, the younger generation is trained and conditioned to embrace technology and can produce the desired product (2012, March 12). Having ex periencing this generational dynamic in the field, the Special Agent expresses that, absent good management, "occasionally the new employee encounters resistance and resentment from the seasoned employee." The rift between the younger, technologically lite rate generation and the seasoned agent of the G Man mindset has the potential to discourage cooperative communication between these divergent cultures. CONCLUSION The four cultural characteristics that I have outlined in this study, (1) secrecy and the n eed to know tradition (2) the agent analyst paradigm (3) the retroactive legacy and (4) the aversion to technological advancement, elucidate just a few of the apparent impediments to revolutionary institutional change in the discourse of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It seems that these cultural pathologies have frustrated Director Mueller's objective of improved FBI intelligence cooperation internally and externally. The guidelines of the National Strategy for Information Sharing (NSIS) and the adve nt of the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) have conceptualized an Intelligence Community committed to the ideals of cooperation, coordination and information sharing ; however, before this ideal interagency cooperation comes


26 to fruition, the FBI must s ee internal change. It is necessary that change to this institution of such a strong legacy and staunch culture emanate not only from the top in terms of policy, but also from the bottom in terms of the mentality of individual actors. As recruiting efforts proceed in the coming years, the FBI will benefit from seeking open minded and innovative personnel who are able to modify traditions of the Bureau to compliment the national security environment in which it operates today. By educating future employees o f the significance of each Bureau role and by holding every employee to equal standards of honor, intellect and excellence, competition can be transformed to camaraderie. Peer training with seasoned and newly hired employees in technological and traditiona l methods of case management and intelligence processing may improve employee competency while encouraging mutual respect between the old and young generations. Cultural change will be a gradual and tedious process; however, it will not be an impossible en deavor. Given a decade or so of successfully recruiting talented and open minded Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts who are motivated by a common interest of ensuring the national security of the United States, the Bureau can develop a culture compat ible with its forward thinking, communication oriented missions. With the focus and will of the Bureau's people, coupled with committed and effective leadership, a new culture will emerge, one centered on the tenets of proactivity, sharing and cooperation.


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