- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005

The FBI has made significant progress in hiring and training intelligence analysts in the war on terrorism, but has fallen short of its hiring goal and has been slow in developing a quality training curriculum for new analysts, a report said yesterday.

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General also said a survey of FBI analysts found that work requiring analytical skills accounted for about 50 percent of the their time, but that others reported performing administrative or other nonanalytical tasks, including escort duty, trash collection and answering the telephone.

The 173-page report also said not all of the FBI agents who supervise the analysts understood the capabilities and functions of the analysts’ job.

“Our review concluded that the FBI has made significant progress in hiring and training qualified intelligence analysts,” Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said. “However, we also found that more can and should be done to improve the hiring, training and retention of FBI analysts.”

The report said that since the September 11 attacks, the FBI has emphasized the development of its intelligence-analysis capabilities to help prevent terrorist attacks.

Mr. Fine noted, for example, that in January 2003, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III created the position of executive assistant director for intelligence and established an Office of Intelligence to manage the FBI’s intelligence program. In addition, he said, the FBI has undertaken an intensive effort to hire, train and utilize well-qualified analysts.

Overall, in the more than 3 years since the September 11 attacks, Mr. Fine said the FBI’s analytical corps has grown from 1,023 analysts in October 2001 to 1,403 analysts in October 2004 — a net increase of 380, or 37 percent.

But the report also said:

• The FBI fell short of its fiscal 2004 hiring goal by 478 analysts, ended the fiscal year with a vacancy rate of 32 percent and hired fewer than 40 percent of its goal of 787 analysts.

• The FBI made slow progress in developing a quality training curriculum, noting that the initial basic training course offered from 2002 to 2004 was not well-attended and received negative evaluations.

• Analysts said they generally were satisfied with their assignments, believed they made a significant contribution and were intellectually challenged, although 27 percent of those hired within the last five years reported dissatisfaction with their work assignments, compared with 13 percent hired more than five years ago.

• Between fiscal 2002 and 2004, 291 intelligence analysts left their positions, with 57 percent leaving the FBI and 43 percent taking new positions within the FBI. Three categories of analysts said they were less likely to remain as FBI analysts: those who worked at headquarters, those hired since 2002 and those with advanced degrees.

The report recommended, among other things, that the FBI improve efforts to hire, train and retain intelligence analysts; establish hiring goals based on need and projected attrition rates; and begin a more rigorous training evaluation system.

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