The FBI has been the darling of federal law enforcement for decades, at least in Congress. What the bureau wanted, the bureau got, while other agencies remained hard-pressed to meet the challenges of their assignments. The bureau’s persuasiveness among lawmakers was unchallenged, perhaps partly out of fear and partly a hangover from the “G-Man” image built long ago and bought into by half the kids in America.
Just about every time something went wrong — from incidents in Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the early 1990s to the 1996 Olympic bombings in Atlanta — the FBI passed it off as the result of insufficient manpower or the fault of another agency. “We need more men and resources” became its mantra for every mistake — including the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, where the bureau failed to heed warning signs.