The Terrorism Trade-off

A Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigative project

In 2007 the Seattle P-I published a series of stories called “The Terrorism Trade-off,” in which we examined the decimation of the FBI’s criminal program in the years following 9/11. The story called attention to the lack of white collar crime investigation, anticipating the mortgage crisis a year later.

The stories were based in large part on my analysis more than 1 million records of federal criminal investigations obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. We concluded that changes in staffing had led to a precipitous drop in investigative activity. (See the methodology)

Our findings led to congressional hearings, became an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign and – after President Obama took office – resulted massive new funding for the FBI.

It was awarded the White House Correspondents Association’s Edward A. Poe Award for investigative reporting.

Here are PDFs of the pieces, provided as a public service since they are no longer available from SeattlePI.com, the P-I’s digital successor.

The Terrorism Trade-off

THE TERRORISM TRADE-OFF - FOCUS ON NATIONAL SECURITY AFTER 9/11 MEANS THAT THE FBI HAS TURNED ITS BACK ON THOUSANDS OF WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 11, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY, TRACY JOHNSON and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

HOW THE SEATTLE P-I PUT THIS STORY TOGETHER
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 11, 2007

SEATTLE FBI OFFICE SEVERELY UNDERSTAFFED - THE NUMBER OF CRIMINAL CASES HANDLED HERE BY THE AGENCY IS OFF SHARPLY
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 11, 2007
By DANIEL LATHROP
P-I investigative reporter

THE SUCCESS OF COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS DIFFICULT TO EVALUATE - BUT FBI AGENTS SAY THEY ARE TRACKING LEADS EXHAUSTIVELY
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 11, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
P-I reporter

FBI BLASTED FOR CUTS IN CRIME FIGHTING - DEMOCRATS EXPRESS OUTRAGE OVER TRANSFER OF AGENTS TO TERRORISM FOCUS
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 12, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY, TRACY JOHNSON and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

FBI OPENING FAR FEWER CIVIL RIGHTS INQUIRIES - TERRORISM SUPERSEDES HATE CRIMES, POLICE ABUSE
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - April 26, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY, TRACY JOHNSON and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

FBI LACKS RESOURCES TO FIGHT BOOM IN MORTGAGE FRAUD - 2,500 AGENTS REASSIGNED TO TERRORISM WEREN’T REPLACED
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - July 5, 2007 By DANIEL LATHROP
P-I investigative reporter

LEFT TO FIGHT A DRUG WAR ALONE - TRIBES SEE FBI SUPPORT DWINDLE
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - August 20, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

MURRAY TO FBI: YOU’RE PUTTING STATE AT RISK - SENATOR CALLS FOR AGENCY TO ASSIGNMORE AGENTS
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - September 18, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

FBI FACES DEEP CUTS IN PROGRAMS TO FIGHT CRIME - AGENTS STILL BEING TRANSFERRED TO COUNTERTERRORISM
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - September 28, 2007
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

BID TO STRENGTHEN FBI IN NORTHWEST GAINS GROUND
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - October 5, 2007
By DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporter

BILL SEEKS DETAILS ON FBI STAFFING - BOTH PARTIES BY MURRAY’S SIDE
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - December 20, 2007
By DANIEL LATHROP and PAUL SHUKOVSKY
P-I reporters

NO NEW MONEY FOR FBI’S CRIME SQUADS - BUDGET WOULD FUND NEW AGENTS ONLY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - May 19, 2008
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

SENATE PANEL TO WEIGH FBI CRIME SQUAD FUNDS - SUBCOMMITTEE MAY TRY TO REVERSE CUTS TO CRIMINAL DIVISION
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - June 18, 2008
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

OBAMA VOWS TO REBUILD FBI RANKS - THE MOST SERIOUS THREAT TO COUNTRY IS TERRORISM, MCCAIN CAMP COUNTERS
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - July 16, 2008
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

MURRAY BLASTS REPORT ON FBI - SENATOR TO KEEP PUSHING FOR CHANGE
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - July 26, 2008
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

HELP TO TAKE ON WALL ST.? FBI IS TOLD NO - MANY MORE AGENTS NEEDED, OFFICIAL SAYS
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - October 31, 2008
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY and DANIEL LATHROP
P-I reporters

BUDGET SEEKS $1 BILLION MORE FOR FBI - RESTORING THE FIGHT AGAINST WHITE-COLLAR CRIME
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) - February 28, 2009
By DANIEL LATHROP and PAUL SHUKOVSKY
P-I reporters