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Bush says FBI 'doing a better job'

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) -- In a tacit acknowledgment of criticism of the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence agencies, President Bush said Monday the FBI is "doing a better job" and is sharing intelligence information with the CIA -- a task many lawmakers say they failed to do in the months leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Speaking at a welcoming ceremony in Little Rock, where he will later talk about welfare reform, Bush obliquely referenced news stories that have detailed apparent intelligence failures by the FBI and CIA prior to last year's deadly hijackings.

Internal FBI memo and letters revealed that two field offices raised questions about possible terrorism activities before September 11, but FBI headquarters did not connect the apparent clues and leads together.

"When you read about the FBI, I want you to know that the FBI is changing its culture," Bush said. "The FBI prior to September the 11th was running down white-collar criminals and that's good, was worrying about spies and that's good. But now they've got a more important task and that is to prevent further attack.

"And, so, the FBI is changing. And they're doing a better job of communicating with the CIA. They're now sharing intelligence."




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