There is a mystique about the F.B.I., but the organization is still made up of human beings. “It is a really complicated agency and there have always been managerial issues,” says Dan Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and former federal prosecutor …. “It is supposed to be apolitical, but in a world where criminal investigations have an impact on politics it is going to be complicated.”
F.B.I. agents still tend to be white males.… A current agent also says that there’s a strong conservative bent: if a TV is on in an F.B.I. building, it’s likely to be Fox News.
But even within the F.B.I., there are tensions. “There are three F.B.I.’s,” this agent tells me. “There are the  field offices, there’s [headquarters in] Washington, and then there’s [the field office in] New York.”
Often, a retired agent says, those in the field are suspicious of Washington. “Dreamland,” they called it in his day, because they believed those who weren’t on the ground investigating cases were clueless. “[Agents] out in the field never want to give a case to D.C., because they believe headquarters is a hindrance to their investigations,” says the agent, who also notes there is a paranoia that politics might interfere at headquarters. New York has an especially dim view of Washington and a reputation for fierce independence. “There is a renegade quality to the New York F.B.I.,” says a former prosecutor, which, he claims, can take the form of agents leaking to the press to advance their own interests or to influence an investigation. “New York leaks like a sieve,” concurs another former prosecutor.
There is also tension with the prosecutors in the Justice Department. The F.B.I.’s job is to investigate potential crimes, but they need one of the 93 U.S. Attorney’s Offices, or an attorney at so-called Main Justice, in Washington, to open a case. Agents often feel that prosecutors aren’t bold enough to bring the cases the F.B.I. has investigated. “If prosecutors don’t move forward, it’s often perceived by agents that they didn’t have the stones,” says Ronald Hosko, who was assistant director of the F.B.I.’s Criminal Investigative Division until he retired in 2014. Prosecutors, on the other hand, think that agents don’t want to understand the legal nuances that may separate smoke from prosecutable cases. “The F.B.I. thinks everything is criminal, particularly if they have spent more than a week on it,” says a veteran prosecutor.
— Bethany MacLean, quoting an unnamed FBI agent