- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

Efforts by the FBI to hire, train and retain intelligence analysts in the wake of September 11 have improved over the past two years but remain “slow and uneven” in some areas, while falling 400 analysts short of the bureau’s funded staffing level, a Justice Department report said yesterday.

“Our follow-up audit found that the FBI has made good progress in its efforts to hire, train, utilize and retain intelligence analysts,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. “However, additional improvements are still needed in important areas, such as the time it takes to hire analysts and the training program for analysts.”

In the report, Mr. Fine said despite the FBI’s hiring of 375 new intelligence analysts in fiscal 2006, it remained 400 short of its funded staffing level of 2,574 analysts. In addition, he said, the average time from when a job announcement closed until the intelligence analyst candidate entered on duty increased between fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2006 from 19 weeks to 31 weeks.

The report said FBI managers said the lengthy screening process might have been a factor in candidates losing patience and accepting employment elsewhere. It said the FBI needs to design a better training program for its intelligence analysts, adding that a majority of those interviewed said the training did not meet their expectations in helping them do their job.

Additionally, it said, the “professional divide” between FBI analysts and special agents remained a concern, adding that 80 percent of the analysts interviewed and all the analysts’ supervisors questioned said FBI special agents “misunderstand the functions and capabilities of intelligence analysts at least some of the time.”

“In our prior report, we had recommended that all special agents — not just new agents — receive training on the role and capabilities of intelligence analysts,” Mr. Fine said. “However, other than a brief exposure through one joint exercise in new analyst and new special agent training, FBI special agents receive no formal training in the function and proper utilization of intelligence analysts.”

Mr. Fine said of 15 recommendations in the May 2005 report, 10 remain open and “require additional action and monitoring.”

The new report recommended that the FBI evaluate the hiring and background investigation process to accelerate the accession of new analysts; involve intelligence managers and experienced analysts in training curriculum development; make student and supervisor evaluations of analyst training mandatory; and use the results to identify needed improvements.

Executive Assistant Director Willie T. Hulon, who heads the FBI’s National Security Bureau, said the agency appreciated the report’s recognition of program improvements and was aware that additional work needed to be done. He said the FBI agreed with the recommendations and was working to implement them.


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