FBI Failures & Criticism

See also:

Investigative Accomplishments
FBI Hall of Shame

Where are they now ...

Things the FBI would rather not admit


Robert Hanssen The 25-year FBI veteran is accused of giving Soviet and, later, Russian agents thousands of pages of classified documents disclosing the identities of Russian agents secretly working for the United States who later were executed. Will the FBI apologize for hassling a CIA employee? See: Your Father Is a Spy' Washington Post, Sunday, August 19, 2001
Dmitry Sklyarov The Russian programmer who was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a speech at DEF CON 9 and charged with criminal violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (See http://www.freesklyarov.org for background information and news.) How did the the FBI got suckered into doing the dirty work for Adobe Systems - then was left holding the bag when Adobe pulled out. www.boycottadobe.org
Wen Ho Lee In a hard-edged FBI interview with indicted nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee last March, federal agents told him that if he didn't own up to spying, he might be jailed for life or even executed. "The Rosenbergs are the only people that never cooperated with the federal government in an espionage case," an agent told Lee, according to an unclassified copy of the transcript obtained by TIME. "You know what happened to them? How the FBI Turned the Screws on Wen Ho Lee
Waco, Texas


April 1993 - "... they've driven their tanks up to us, they've bust in the side of the building a little bit one time. You said that was a mistake - it was not in your control - that wasn't in the commander's wishes. You know - all of this has been shown that if these guys want to fight - Now I don't want to fight. I - I want - I'm a life too, and there's a lot of people in here that are lives. There's children in here." --The Last Recorded Words Of David Koresh - Narrated by Prof. James Tabor, author of Why Waco? (University of California Press)

At first Reno explained that a paramount reason for approving the tear-gas assault on April 19 was that "babies were being beaten." ("Reno Says, I Made the Decision," WPost, Apr. 20, 1993.) FBI Director Sessions, however, said the next day there was "no contemporary evidence" of child abuse. ( Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas, February 28 to April 19, 1993.) And Reno revised her statement several months later, agreeing there was no evidence of ongoing child abuse by Koresh, who was wounded in the shootout on Feb. 28, at Mt. Carmel, as the Branch Davidians' residence was known. ("Waco Siege Prompts Crisis Training for Top Justice Department Officials," WPost, Dec. 9, 1993.) WACO FAQ @pbs More at: David Koresh Branch Davidians @yahoo
Net result: more than 80 Branch Davidians, including 22 children died in the fire on April 19. People died including the children the government claimed to want to "protect". General lost trust in government. Exposed the incompetence of the FBI & ATF earning them a reputation as a "bunch of trigger happy thugs". Provided the impetus and justification for the April 19 Oklahoma City bombing.

Ruby Ridge

August 22, 1992, "Randy Weaver went to see his son's body in the shack where it lay. He was shot and wounded from behind by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi. As Weaver struggled back to his house, Horiuchi assassinated his wife Vicki as she stood in the doorway, holding their 10-month-old baby. ... possibly the worst was their taunting of the Weaver family after Vicki Weaver's murder: "Good morning, Mrs. Weaver. We had pancakes for breakfast. What did you have?" That was one of the FBI's tactics revealed in court records, reported by Jerry Seper in the Washington Times in September 1993." --FBI Siege of Ruby Ridge ... Larry Potts was the senior official in charge of the operation. Not only was he not prosecuted, Freeh promoted him to acting deputy FBI director.


Net result: Government agents shooting a mother to death while holding her baby on her front porch does not play well to the American public. Agents with "shoot to kill" orders do not help to make Americans more trusting of the government.

Leonard Peltier On June 26, 1975, at the Jumping Bull's compound on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, two unmarked cars following a red pick-up truck came into the compound in which an encampment of the American Indian Movement (AIM) was located. A firefight took place between in which one native warrior, Joseph Stuntz, and two FBI agents died. Leonard Peltier supporters' claim he was framed for a murder he did not commit, others disagree.
Richard Jewell

The press leaks that Richard Jewell was "prime suspect" in the Atlanta Olympic bombing did not help the credibility or reputation of the FBI. ...

"Earlier this week, FBI Director Louis Freeh told a Senate committee that his agents violated Jewell’s constitutional rights in the 88 days that he was under federal scrutiny for planting the bomb that killed two people during the Atlanta Olympics." ACLU Press Release: 07-30-97

Net result: FBI has egg on it's face and Richard Jewell gets money from the networks.

Bernard Temple How they helped a violent career criminal avoid 25 years to life in prison. How they helped him avoid the imposition of a five-year suspended sentence. How they gave him $17,000. By the end of LaFreniere's testimony, the jury understands that Magee was saved from hard time not once, but twice by the federal government, which also paid him a remarkable amount of money. The task force members worked on the Temple case for three years. It was the first murder case they put together. --Trial by Liar, sf weekly, 01/14/1998
Net result: Government spends lots of money and lets lots of criminals go free.
Mir Aimal Kasi

Kasi was snatched (kidnapped?) by the FBI from a small hotel in Pakistan in June after a 4-1/2-year international manhunt... no judicial proceedings ... found guilty of gunning down two Central Intelligence Agency officers (Frank Darling, 28, a CIA communications engineer and Lansing Bennett, 66, a physician and intelligence analyst) and wounding three other men at a traffic light outside the spy agency's McLean, Virginia, headquarters on Jan. 25, 1993. The four-man audit team (Joel Enlow, 40, Tracy Ritchie, 41, Ephraim Egbu, 42, and Larry Jennings, 49) and their Pakistani driver, 51-year-old Anwar Murza, employed for 10 years by Union Texas, were gunned down as their car inched along in traffic in Karachi, Pakistan, on Nov. 12. [Reward]Authorities believe the attack was in retaliation for the U.S. conviction of a Pakistani man in the 1993 killings of two CIA employees. See: Americans Killed in Pakistan. In court, the final witness, Dr. Evan Nelson, a clinical psychologist, testified for the prosecution that Kasi had told him that he had no regrets for his shooting rampage. He said Kasi told him he acted out of anger at perceived U.S. injustice toward Muslims and was eager to make clear that he was not mentally ill. Nelson quoted Kasi as having said during a 2-1/2-hour interview that he felt it was shameful to be put on trial and wished "he had a gun and been able to fight to the death when they came for him in the hotel."
Kukui Roadhouse: 1/23/93 CIA Assassinations


Net result: 6 Americans dead, Kasi about to be sentenced to death, and Americans unable to safely do business in Karachi. The FBI clearly does not understand the consequences of it's actions - especially when dealing with foreign cultures with a hostility toward the United States.

  • TRAC FBI site - source for comprehensive, independent, and non-partisan information
  • Parents Against Corruption and Coverup - These people created this web site as a "repository of information related to Tommy's murder and the cover up by the FBI and Fairfax Co. VA  police."

When the FBI couldn’t bust the Chinese spies stealing U.S. nuclear-weapons secrets, it went after the spycatcher who exposed them. Humiliated by its inability to crack what intelligence experts call the worst national-security breach in U.S. history, the FBI and other agencies are trying to grind down the man who discovered the espionage, informed Congress of the cover-up and warned the public. The FBI went after that man, former Department of Energy, or DOE, intelligence official Notra Trulock The FBI Targets Key Spycatcher By J. Michael Waller

March 12-- Father Franklyn McAfee, the pastor of the church attended by accused FBI spy Robert P. Hanssen, has threatened to have several supporters of the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum arrested. The offense? Handing out information about FBI director Louis Freeh, who is also a member of Father McAfee's church. The FBI's Catholic Church


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The FBI ... Past, Present & Future