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Keating lays out 4 ways to fix FBI

Frank Keating  

GROVE CITY, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement for outgoing FBI Director Louis Freeh, suggests four ways the agency could prevent recent blunders.

Keating addressed students at Grove City College during commencement ceremonies Saturday. Afterward, he was asked by a reporter what he would have done differently in the past couple of months had he been running the FBI.

The FBI has taken heat for the alleged espionage of former agent Robert Hanssen and the recent discovery of thousands of pages of misplaced documents from the Oklahoma City bombing case.

One of the four things the FBI could do to fix the "mess" in which it now finds itself, Keating said, is to complete a thorough review of the agency's computer systems.

Some FBI officials have said the McVeigh document glitch stemmed from outdated computers, though Freeh denied that before a congressional panel Wednesday.

 Keating's suggestions:
• Thorough review of agency computer systems
• Hire best agents and give them "strict course in ethics"
• Grant promotions solely on merit, not on "friendship or association"
• Agents closely examine and strip apart every solved case to determine how it was successfully resolved

"The money is not an object," Keating said. "The leadership and attention to detail is the object."

Next, the bureau must acquire the best agents and train all of them in a "strict course in ethics." He cited the Hanssen case, involving an FBI agent arrested for spying for Russia and the Soviet Union. Hanssen, he said, "is an example of somebody that was a calamity."

The third step Keating suggested is to grant promotions solely on merit, not on the basis of "friendship or association."

And fourth, Keating suggested agents closely examine and strip apart every solved case to determine how it was successfully resolved.

"Those systems should be made a part of their culture," he said. "For those cases that are unsuccessful, you strip that down to find out how not to do that again."

Timeline: FBI under Louis Freeh
Previous FBI controversies
• Execution of Timothy McVeigh
• Case against Robert Hanssen

As a former FBI agent and U.S. attorney whose state was targeted in McVeigh's attack, Keating commended the agency for its investigation of the bombing. But he said the misplacement of more than 3,100 pages relating to the case was "not acceptable."

"There were hundreds of agents from many different agencies," he said. "There were tens of thousands of interviews conducted and millions of pieces of evidence accumulated. So to lose or misplace or forget 3,000 or so pieces of evidence is not impossible, but it is unforgivable."

He said such mistakes tarnish the public perception of the FBI, which he called the "greatest law enforcement agency in the world," and provide fodder for conspiracy theorists.

A search for Freeh's replacement began almost immediately after he announced this month he would retire. Keating's name has been mentioned for a possible replacement, though some reports have omitted his name from the short list.

Keating's press secretary Dan Mahoney told CNN earlier this month there had not been any contact from administration officials about the FBI director position.

• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• Oklahoma State Government

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