FBI cases show shift of focus

By wire services
Published October 4, 2005

WASHINGTON - The FBI opened about half as many criminal cases last year as it did four years earlier, a stark example of the agency's rapid shift from traditional crime-fighting to terrorism prevention, according to a comprehensive study released Monday.

The FBI began a little more than 34,000 criminal cases in 2004, a 45 percent drop from the number it initiated in 2000, according to a 194-page audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine.

The decline included probes related to drugs, organized crime, civil rights and corporate fraud, the study found. It also found significant decreases in the number of FBI agents investigating organized crime, bank robberies and other traditional crimes.

The one exception was the number of gang-related cases, which increased slightly over the same period.

Energy Department starts conservation campaign

WASHINGTON - Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman urged Americans Monday to drive slower, turn down the thermostat and conserve energy as the coming winter threatens to bring record prices to heat a home.

Bodman announced a national campaign called "Easy Ways to Save Energy" and said he would travel the nation to promote energy conservation.

The Energy Department and the Alliance to Save Energy offered tips to reduce energy use including: set the thermostat comfortably low in the winter and high in the summer; use compact fluorescent light bulbs; turn off computers and monitors when not in use; lower the thermostat on the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit; and take short showers instead of baths.

The plan does not call for increased fuel economy standards, a step urged by many environmentalists.

To help promote the campaign, the administration will release a series of public service announcements to 4,500 radio stations, identifying easy ways to save energy in the home and gasoline in cars.

Army moves to sign up more high school dropouts

WASHINGTON - Army Secretary Noel Harvey and vice chief of staff Gen. Richard Cody said Monday that the Army was using looser Defense Department rules that permitted it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests, but they denied that this meant it was lowering standards.

Until Army recruiters began having trouble signing up enough recruits earlier this year, the Army had set minimum standards that were higher than those of the Defense Department.

The Army has a recruiting shortfall of 6,000 to 8,000 soldiers over the past 12 months. It hasn't fallen so short of its annual goal since 1979, several years after the Vietnam War.

Harvey and Cody addressed the recruiting issue in news conferences during the annual convention of the Association of the U.S. Army.