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fixing the fbi
The views of Mueller, Ridge and others on whether a separate domestic intelligence agency is needed in the war on terrror at home, and a look at the controversy surrounding one former FBI Special Agent who was involved in the "Lackwanna Six" case.

A Portrait of Gamal Abdel-Hafiz: Former Agent in the FBI's International Terrorism Squad

During his seven years as an FBI special agent, Gamal Abdel-Hafiz rose to the second highest level an agent can obtain. Hailed for his work on several major terrorism cases, including the June 1996 Al-Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the 2002 "Lackawanna Six" case, he was then fired abruptly in 2003. Here's a look at the complex allegations that cost him his job.

Do We Need an MI5?

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 President Bush has told the FBI that its primary focus needs to be protecting the U.S. homeland. However, critics argue that the bureau sees this mission through a narrow law enforcement lens -- catching and prosecuting criminals -- rather than through a counterintelligence lens, or trying to develop the intelligence necessary to prevent terrorist acts. The FBI responds that the two are not mutually exclusive -- that law enforcement investigations provide a great deal of intelligence that can be used to combat terrorism. But some outside analysts, most notably the Gilmore Commission, set up in 1999 to assess America's ability to respond to terrorist incidents, have argued that the FBI's two missions should be separated. They say what the U.S. needs is a new domestic intelligence agency, set up along the lines of Great Britain's covert MI5, to collect, assess and disseminate domestic intelligence. Here are the views of FRONTLINE's experts, including civil liberties specialist David Cole, former FBI Assistant Director Dale Watson, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former CIA Associate Director John MacGaffin.

Interview: John MacGaffin

John MacGaffin was CIA from 1963 to 1993, becoming the number-two spymaster for clandestine operations before joining the FBI for six years to advise the bureau on its interactions with the agency. In this interview, he is critical of taking a law enforcement approach to terrorism when there is the possibility that a suspect can be used to gather intelligence about an organization. He argues that during the Cold War, the FBI was very effective at infiltrating the Communist Party inside the U.S. and that it can and should try this approach with terrorist organizations.

America Needs More Spies

According to this article, written by six experienced U.S. national security officials, "Our collective experience makes it absolutely clear that the only way to uncover and destroy terrorist activity is to penetrate the organisations engaged in it. And the best way to do this is to place spies in their innermost councils. Except in movies and novels, Americans do not like spies, especially within the United States; but we have used them successfully in the past and, if we are to succeed in the war against terrorism, we need to again. The question is: who does it, and who controls it?" [The Economist, July 10, 2003]

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posted october 16, 2003

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