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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 06:59 GMT
US mobilises FBI for 'wartime'
US Attorney General John Ashcroft
Mr Ashcroft has made fighting terrorism a top priority
US Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced a "wartime" reorganisation of the Justice Department to improve the FBI's fight against terrorism.

The war on terrorism will not be fought in Washington but in the field by agents

John Ashcroft
Unveiling a five-year plan that he submitted to Congress, Mr Ashcroft said it would shift 10% of the jobs from the headquarters in Washington to field offices around the country.

He said the plan would root out waste and duplication in his department and free more money for the battle against terrorism.

A BBC correspondent in Washington says the aim is to shift from enforcement to prevention.

"The war on terrorism will not be fought in Washington but in the field by agents," Mr Ashcroft said in a speech to Justice Department staff.

FBI review

The plan dictates "fundamental change in several of the most critical components of American justice and law enforcement, starting with the organisation that is at the centre of our counter-terrorism effort, the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Mr Ashcroft said.

The new FBI chief, Robert Mueller, has been reviewing the agency's organisation and management since the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Mr Ashcroft said.

He said preliminary recommendations for reform could be expected by the end of the year.


The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will also undergo a major overhaul.

Mr Ashcroft said he expected INS commissioner James Ziglar to present the proposed reforms "soon".

"As a nation of immigrants, the United States will continue to welcome America's friends. But we will not allow our welcome to be abused by America's enemies," Mr Ashcroft said.

"In the war on terrorism the restructured Immigration and Naturalization Service will focus on preventing aliens who engage in or support terrorist activity from entering our country," he said.

The BBC's Grant Ferrett
"The attacks have changed the task facing the Justice Department"
See also:

09 Nov 01 | Americas
Doubts over FBI shake-up
03 Nov 01 | Americas
FBI appeals for anthrax help
31 Oct 01 | Americas
US to bar 'terrorist' immigrants
28 Sep 01 | Americas
Profile: FBI chief Robert Mueller
12 Oct 01 | Americas
FBI fears more terror attacks
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