The following are parts of the transcript of the 9/11 hearings.
"I think that there was at the time a very strictly enforced wall
in the Justice Department between law enforcement and intelligence and that repeatedly, there are many statements from presidents and attorneys general and so forth that say that the first priority is bring these people to justice, protect the evidence, seal the evidence and so forth.
"The second core challenge was a legal issue that became a management challenge as well. Certain provisions of federal law had been interpreted to limit communication between agents conducting intelligence investigations and the criminal prosecution units of the Department of Justice. This was done so that the broad powers for gathering intelligence would not be seized upon by prosecutors trying to make a criminal case. The separation of intelligence from criminal investigations became known as the wall.
"Over time, the wall requirement came to be interpreted by the Justice Department, and particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as imposing an increasingly stringent barrier to communications between FBI intelligence agents and criminal prosecutors."
between criminal and intelligence investigation apparently caused agents to be less aggressive than they might otherwise have been in pursuing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, surveillance powers in counterterrorism investigations. Moreover, the FISA approval process involved multiple levels of review, which also discouraged agents from using such surveillance
"Many agents also told us that the process for getting FISA packages approved was incredibly lengthy and inefficient. Several FBI agents added that, prior to 9/11, FISA-derived intelligence information was not fully exploited anyway but was collected primarily to justify continuing the surveillance."
"The FBI was hampered by an inability to develop an endgame. Its agents continued to gather intelligence with little hope that they would be able to make a criminal case or otherwise disrupt the operation.
Agents were stymied by rules regarding the distinction between intelligence and criminal cases, in part due to the wall then in place between criminal and intelligence investigations, as described above."
"Throughout the 1990s, the FBI's counterterrorism efforts against international terrorist organizations included both intelligence and criminal investigations. The FBI's approach to investigations was case-specific, decentralized and geared toward prosecution."