According to a report released Wednesday by the F.B.I. 9/11 Review Commission, the F.B.I. urgently needs to improve its intelligence capabilities to counter threats to the United States. According to the report, the bureau lags “behind marked advances in law enforcement capabilities” and the imbalance “needs urgently to be addressed to meet growing and increasingly complex national security threats.”
The principal authors of the report were Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University; Edwin Meese III, the former attorney general; and Timothy J. Roemer, a former House member from Indiana and former ambassador to India. They found that the agency has made great strides in its intelligence capabilities since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, but more needs to be done.
The report also said that the bureau needed to hire more linguists. The report said, “Hiring additional linguists and integrating them should be a high priority.” F.B.I. linguists are in short supply throughout the country outside of the agency’s large offices. Linguists often must use a virtual system for remote communication with agents and analysts working on cases around the country.
The report released Wednesday was much less critical the F.B.I than the original 2004 report of the national 9/11 Commission, which called for major changes to the agency. The review commission was created by Congress in 2014 to examine how the F.B.I. had put the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission into effect. The F.B.I. is headquartered in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.
The latest report said that many of the findings and recommendations in the report would not be new to the F.B.I. and that the bureau has already been taking steps to address them. Many of the areas cited as needing improvement are considerably better than they were years ago, including the F.B.I.’s foreign language abilities.
The report recommended that the F.B.I. adopt a five-year, top-down strategic plan to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities. The report also noted that budget cuts had severely limited the F.B.I.’s intelligence and national security programs.