Thursday, May 22, 2008

FBI insider opens up about bureau problems

WASHINGTON — The FBI’s counterterrorism program cannot adequately protect the nation against another attack by Middle Eastern terrorists, a high-ranking FBI official and recognized whistleblower claimed Wednesday in a rare appearance on Capitol Hill.

Bassem Youssef, in oral and written testimony, decried what he saw as major deficiencies in his own bureau’s counterterrorism operations.

He accused the FBI of needlessly violating the civil liberties of thousands of Americans, misidentifying threats against the United States and repeatedly making “sloppy mistakes."

Youssef, currently the chief of the FBI's Communications Analysis Unit, is a known bureau whistleblower whose past statements — and alleged bureau retaliation against him — have triggered investigation by the Department of Justice.

He again ran the risk of backlash Wednesday and expressed some anxiety at the start of his testimony.

"Regardless of what happens to me when I walk into the Hoover building tomorrow, (these concerns) are what I wanted to get across," Youssef told the subcommittee.

The sparsely attended meeting included an appearance at the witness table by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a longtime FBI critic and advocate of government whistleblowers.

Grassley spoke in support of Youssef and other FBI dissidents, saying, "Underneath all of the good things (in) the FBI, unfortunately, there is a history of abuse, mismanagement and retaliation so strong that it has become part of its organization culture.

"Only a brave few dare to speak out. … When they do speak out, they usually suffer retaliation," he said.

Full story.

Wow. That's quite eye-opening, I'm really surprised something like that made it to the mainstream press. It really makes me wonder - if this is the kind of things we actually hear about, what else can be going on behind the scenes?

I don't mean to sound like a Conspiracy theorist, but things like this do concern me, greatly. It was Abraham Lincoln (ironically enough, the man should've taken his own advice) who said "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." And James Madison is known for saying "If tyranny and oppression ever come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." With things like this (and the Patriot Act, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, etc.) I can see the wisdom of Americans who came before us... Are we willing to listen to them?

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