I never thought I would ever defend the FBI. As a cop in the field from 1980-1987, I hated it when FBI Agents showed up on my scene. Excuse me, Special Agents. They were so arrogant. Hey, copper, just wave me on through and let me take over, if I feel like it (it it could garner beneficial publicity for the Agency) and you can relax, son. Naturally, there was always some resistance to this approach by the coppers on the ground.
Besides, I was one of the few Troopers who had a college degree (CU, History, 1978). I had been through the crucible of student protests against the [Vietnam] war in Boulder, and we feared the FBI. I was on the highway bridge in Boulder the night Nixon mined Haiphong Harbor, blocking the bridge in protest and snarling rush hour traffic the next morning. We all knew the FBI were building dossiers on us. I fancied I might have one. The CIA, you see, were forbidden to conduct domestic surveillance.
Fast forward to 2002. After the attack upon western values that radical Islam launched against Americans on September 11, 2001, some of the usual suspects were rounded up. Abu Zubaydah, the logistics chief for anti-western terror training camps in Afghanistan, was captured after a gun battle. (I hope he rots in hell.)
Long story short, an expert FBI interrogator named Ali Soufan, who was extraordinarily effective at extracting information from international suspects using traditional interrogation methods (think--gain their trust through simple kindness), interrogated Abu and using time-honored American police methods, gained much valuable intel quickly, including who this guy named Mohammed was (see my last post).
Then the CIA showed up, armed with the torture memos the syncophant charlatan lawyers in the Justice Department had concotted to please their oily masters, the originally asleep-at-the-switch Decider and Great Bird Hunter, justifying torture of American detainees in the War on Terror.
Harsh techniques followed, including waterboarding Abu over eighty times and building a mock coffin in which his handlers were going to bury him alive, reportedly. The flow of information from Abu stopped.
Soufan threatened to "arrest" the rogue torturers and complained to his superiors at the FBI. The FBI was being bested at the time by the goons at the CIA, who had the complete attention of the American Executive branch. Soufan was ordered home. The FBI would have no part in this game.
I understand this. As a lawyer, as in many endeavors, when you are losing badly on a particular day, you don't flail around uselessly, you suspend your efforts in order to come back stronger on a better day. Often you win then. If the American people are as I think they are, the FBI will come out of this a lot better than the CIA.
Read the Newsweek issue dated May 4, 2009.