WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI needs to strengthen its intelligence programs and information sharing to counter the diverse and fast-moving national threats that have evolved since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a new U.S. report said on Wednesday.
The 9/11 Review Commission report said the bureau’s progress in developing key intelligence programs, analysis and human intelligence collection lags behind its law enforcement capabilities.
“This imbalance needs urgently to be addressed to meet growing and increasingly complex national security threats, including from adaptive and increasingly tech savvy terrorists, more brazen computer hackers and more technically capable global cyber syndicates,” the report said.
The commission was created by Congress last year to review how well the Federal Bureau of Investigation has carried out recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission after the al Qaeda’s hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington.
The 10-month review found the FBI has made significant progress in many areas but still needs better integration of intelligence analysis and criminal investigation. It cited a significant gap between the bureau’s goals for its intelligence programs and their effectiveness.
The report highlighted the dangers from decentralized terrorist networks recruiting homegrown violent extremists. “These foreign fighters, including growing numbers of U.S. citizens, are a clear and present security threat to the United States,” it said.
The FBI faces an increasingly global and dangerous threat environment in 2015 amid an information revolution, the report said. “Everything is moving faster,” it said.
The 9/11 Review Commission said the FBI has built collaborative relationships with its government partners, particularly the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. However, it said the bureau needs to share information with the intelligence community and local and state law enforcement agencies more quickly - and with fewer strings.
The FBI needs to counter perceptions that “it views relationships as transactional and tactical and is not interested in building lasting partnerships that advance common goals and missions,” the report said.
The bureau also has “fragmented engagement” with the private sector on cybersecurity threats and should accelerate its outreach, the report said.
Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Heavey