In what could be an ominous sign, the FBI has announced on their website that they are no longer focusing on law enforcement as their primary mission, but are instead joining the war on terror.
The change was noted by Foreign Policy, which shows a snapshot from the FBI’s fact sheet both before and after the change.
In the old fact sheet, it says “the primary function of the FBI is law enforcement.” Since the organization’s inception to fight organized crime this has been its primary goal and their exploits were featured in numerous movies and even a television series named the FBI.
The new fact sheet contains no mention of law enforcement as part of its mission. Instead it now says “the primary function of the FBI is national security.”
While the FBI has been assisting in counterterrorism efforts in America, especially since the attacks on 9/11, the agency still insisted its primary focus was on law enforcement. Indeed, people renting or purchasing a DVD are confronted with a message advising them the FBI investigates movie piracy as law enforcement officials.
However, based the fact sheet suggests the FBI is now officially planning on making these duties secondary to counterterrorism investigations. The agency has long been criticized for its gradual de-emphasizing of traditional law-enforcement, but the new change has some wondering why the agency decided to officially abandon its traditional duties.
Kel McClanahan, a Washington based national security lawyer told Foreign Policy he was curious as to what changed in the last year.
“I think they’re trying to rebrand,” he said. “So many good things happen to your agency when you tie it to national security.”
The challenge the agency faces is pressure to focus on counterterrorism in order to prevent attacks like the Boston Marathon massacre. In the days following the attack the agency was criticized for not identifying the bombers prior to the attack despite numerous warning signs.
The FBI is not the only organization sending out signs it is directing its resources towards non-traditional roles. The Federal Reserve is posting new positions for law enforcement officers in cities across the country.
It was also recently revealed that many government agencies now have their own police force including the Department of Education and the Social Security Administration. News that the Department of Education had its own security force came to light when they used their SWAT team to raid the home of a woman they accused of defrauding the student loan program.