Documenting the FBI

Declassified Documents Provide New Detail on Confronting the Terrorist Threat – from al-Qaeda to Skinheads – New Archive Posting Opens Window into Broad Range of Recent FBI Operations – Published on The National Security Archive, by Jeffrey T. Richelson, July 19, 2012.

A new Web resource posted today by the National Security Archive offers a wide-ranging compilation of declassified records detailing the operations of a key component of U.S. national security. Among the new documents are internal reports on domestic terrorism that expand on what previously public intelligence assessments have revealed.  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been one of the best known and most scrutinized components of the U.S. government for well over seventy years. As a result it has been the subject of non-fiction books, novels, a multitude of articles, films and television shows, and congressional hearings. In addition to its criminal investigative effort and pursuit of bank-robbers that propelled it into the news, the Bureau has also been heavily involved in counterintelligence, counterterrorism, foreign intelligence, and counter-subversion work. FBI successes, failures, and abuses have helped produce attention and controversy for the Bureau.

Today’s National Security Archive posting of 38 documents – drawn from a variety of sources – provides a window into the Bureau’s activities in those areas since, with one exception, 1970. The collection’s aim is to present a foundation for understanding the scope and history of the organization, and in some instances to offer correctives to popular accounts. Freedom of Information Act requests yielded a number of the documents included in the briefing book, which are being posted here for the first time. Included are two intelligence assessments of the domestic terrorist threat – The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland: An FBI Assessment (2004) and A Threat Assessment for Domestic Terrorism, 2005-2006 (2007) – which examine the threat from al-Qaeda and its supporters as well as from assorted home-grown terrorist groups … //

Also, included are detailed inspector general reports concerning the FBI’s performance in the case of Robert Hanssen, the FBI official who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia, its handling of information related to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and its employment of national security letters. Finally, included are a number of Congressional Research Service studies on the Bureau’s history and current activities, including its terrorism investigations.

DOCUMENTING THE FBI: … (full long text, Documents 1 to 38 and Notes 1 to 5).

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