WASHINGTON – Amid new reports his agency might have done more to forsee the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller is creating a new terror-fighting team to oversee all U.S. terrorism investigations around the world.
The Mueller plan, to be presented to field office supervisors later this week, aims to centralize anti-terror efforts and ensure that all intelligence is evaluated thoroughly and urgently, officials said Tuesday.
The officials added that the FBI will also work to coordinate information gathered by various government agencies.
Mueller reportedly wants to hire hundreds of additional agents and also create an Office of Intelligence to be headed by a former CIA official. That office would be a national clearing-house for terrorism information.
The plan is part of the broad FBI reorganization Mueller began last fall in the wake of the new terrorism threat and the Robert Hanssen spy case. Officials said it was not in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The bureau has been moving in this direction for months under the work of Assistant Director Dale Watson, who leads the bureau's counter-terrorism and intelligence operations from Washington.
News of the effort came as another prescient FBI memo surfaced, this one from last summer urging bureau headquarters to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in flight schools in Arizona. A New York Times report said the note cited Usama bin Laden by name.
Federal officials on Tuesday said a section of that classified memo, which was shared with Congress in recent days, made only a passing reference to bin Laden. The note only speculated Al Qaeda could carry out an attack using trained pilots and offered no substantive information.
The FBI has faced tough questioning lately about whether it failed to act aggressively after arresting Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, in August. Moussaoui had been seeking training at a Minnesota flight school.
Moussaoui has been charged with conspiring with bin Laden and the 19 suicide hijackers, the only defendant directly indicted in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Mueller repeatedly has said he wished the FBI had been more timely in following up the Arizona and Minnesota leads, but has also stated that nothing the FBI possessed before Sept. 11 pointed to the multiple-airliner hijacking plot.
The FBI director also told senators last week that his agency was correcting mistakes and procedures to ensure all terror information be addressed quickly and thoroughly. He asked senators for patience and support in the effort.
"Terrorists have shown they are willing to go to great lengths to destroy America," Mueller said. "We must be willing to go to even greater lengths to stop them. Our worldwide network must be more powerful. Our financial commitment must be stronger. Our techniques, training and technology must be more sophisticated. And our sense of urgency and intensity must be greater."
Officials said the reorganization plan creating a super-terrorism fighting team in Washington is designed to meet those goals.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.