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Inspector Gen. Report Says FBI and ATF Sometimes Race to Be First to Explosive Scene

The Inspector General report simply confirms what’s already been reported and spoken of between agencies. In D.C., there  clearly have been turf battles between ATF and the FBI. One of those incidents occurred in 2003 when a North Carolina man with tractor threatened to set off explosives on the Mall in Washington. And that wasn’t the only one here.  It may build agency pride, but it’s bad for the public.

Burning car

By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer
WASHINGTON – The inter-agency feuding between agents of the FBI and the ATF over handling of explosives investigations is so serious they sometimes race to be first on the scene of an explosives incident, a new report says.

The report – issued Friday by the Justice Department’s inspector general – found a major duplication of effort and strong disagreement about who has jurisdiction in investigations.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are agencies within the the Justice Department, and the department was sharply criticized by its inspector general, Glenn Fine, for failing to resolve the dispute.

“Our audit found, for example, that the FBI and ATF sometimes race to be the first federal agency on the scene of an explosives incident,” the report said. “Disputes have occurred when one agency arrives first and other agency believes the incident falls within its lead agency authority.”

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