FBI says Boston Bombings were Unpreventable, Rejects Criticism.

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The FBI has received a significant amount of negative publicity since the Boston Marathon Bombings, after it was revealed that deceased bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been on their terror radar since 2011 and yet still was able to perpetrate the sensational attack which killed 3 and injured dozens more. However, the FBI has rejected criticism and concluded, after conducting several internal investigations, that little to nothing else could have been done to prevent the attack. As the New York Times reports:

“[The] conclusion is based on several internal reviews that examined how the bureau handled a request from a Russian intelligence agency in 2011 to investigate whether one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has been radicalized during his time in the United States.”

“…FBI officials have concluded that the agents who conducted the investigation and ultimately told the Russians that there was no evidence that Mr. Tsarnaev had become radicalized were constrained from conducting a more extensive investigation because of federal laws and Justice Department protocols. Agents cannot use surveillance tools like wiretapping for the type of investigation they were conducting.”

I agree with the FBI’s claims. I do not think what happened in Boston was realistically preventable. It was too random. The FBI claims they did not find evidence that Tsarnaev was radicalized, but it would not matter even if they had. Becoming radicalized is not illegal. There is no legal standard against which one is determined to be radicalized or not. Even if he was obviously radicalized, the best they could do until “criminal conspiracy” was obvious would have been to put him under 24/7 surveillance; an entire team of men being paid upper-middle class salaries to watch someone 24/7 who may never commit any crimes. It seems justifiable on a singular level, but times that by thousands of people across the US; can such massive expense still be justified?

“…The FBI has no plans to appoint an investigator to examine it’s procedures, but Inspectors General from four federal agencies, including the Justice Department, said they would be working together on their own investigation into how the government handled intelligence before the attack, The FBI has been cooperating with the inspectors general by giving them investigative files and the opportunity to interview agents.”

The FBI is biding their time. The Public will forget about their alleged bungling in due time, as scandals involving faceless bureaucrats are usually forgotten. Bureaucracies are efficient at only one thing: stonewalling and refusing to cooperate in a timely manner. The FBI will do this until the heat blows over.

Attacks such as the Boston Bombing will never be reliably preventable by the FBI. They are too random. No amount of money, power, or staffing will ever change this. Intelligence bureaucracies are notoriously inefficient. The East German secret police employed 2 out of every 10 East Germans as informants at one point (which is astounding), yet still could not easily track the numerous underground anti-communist movements. The FBI is no different.

The FBI will likely not do much in response to the Boston Bombing. Above all else, bureaucrats hate attention and public scrutiny. This is why bureaucrats will choose inaction before action whenever possible. Action attracts immediate attention; inaction typically doesn’t attract attention until the bureaucracy has had time to prepare itself. When an agency fails to act, the blame can be mostly disseminated throughout the entire organization. How, then, can anyone be punished? What are they going to do, close the FBI? Besides, they have a standby excuse for these situations: “We need more money / power / people.” Congress and the Public accept this excuse because it seems to make sense. The scandals blow over. The Public largely forgets and moves on, and bureaucrats can go back to their daily grind of rule-following and empire-building.

When a bureaucrat DOES act, and screws something up, they are apt to be crucified and rejected by their organization as an example. “It was this guy’s fault, not ours!” The last thing bureaucrats want is attention and scrutiny from the Media and the Public. Taking action and potentially screwing up will generate attention and threaten cushy jobs and little empires. A bureaucrat is better off not taking action and instead blaming either the regulation or the lack of resources. Inaction is more easily justified.

This is why I am not very concerned with the possibility of a total Police State in America. Intelligence agencies want more money, but not because they have a genuine interest in watching or controlling us; they’re just a bunch of empire-building bureaucrats looking to line their own pockets. If they become too noticeable and oppressive, that generates negative attention. They fear negative attention. Therefore, intelligence agencies will continue to ask for more money, they will continue to get it, and they will totally waste it in most instances, as bureaucracies are apt to do; but they are not interested in controlling / watching the populace as compared to their interest in empire-building and keeping their jobs.

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