Democratic Sen. Patty Murray wants to increase the number of FBI agents in Washington, telling FBI Director Robert Mueller in a letter today...

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Democratic Sen. Patty Murray wants to increase the number of FBI agents in Washington, telling FBI Director Robert Mueller in a letter today that comparatively low FBI staffing increases the state’s vulnerability to terrorism and affects the agency’s crime-fighting ability.

But Murray does not want Mueller to reassign agents from other states, said her spokesman, Matt McAlvanah. Instead, Murray wants Congress to give the FBI more money in the future.

This year, Congress provided $5.9 billion, and later added $258 million in a supplemental appropriation.

Murray has not set a specific dollar figure for an increase in coming years, McAlvanah said.

In her letter, Murray cited recent articles in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that determined the national FBI average is four agents for every 100,000 people, or three per 100,000 people excluding the large FBI presence in the District of Columbia, Virginia and New York.

Washington state, Murray wrote, has only 2.1 agents per 100,000 people and is 35th among the states in per capita FBI agents.

With a population of 6 million, Washington state has only 133 agents, 53 lower than the 186 agents needed even to bring it up to the national average, she wrote.

Murray also noted the state hosts several international seaports, military installations and an international border with Canada.

“Given the number and importance of potential targets, I am concerned that the small number of FBI agents in Washington state may have an adverse effect on the safety and security of our citizens,” she wrote.

Alex Fryer: 206-464-8124 or afryer@seattletimes.com