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COMBATING GLOBAL TERRORISM AND CRIME
Director Mueller Addresses Foreign Press Center

02/18/04

Robert S. Mueller, Director, at the Foreign Press Center
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- The Transcript

In the early days of its history, the FBI "found its niche" in protecting Americans by investigating crimes that crossed the jurisdictional lines of cities, counties, and states within the United States. Our success always, of course, due to the active cooperation of our state and local law enforcement partners.

But now that crime and terrorist plots hopscotch across international borders almost as easily as they cross state and county lines, we need more help, more partners -- an international law enforcement network -- to prevent and investigate terrorism and crime.

That is the message FBI Director Robert Mueller delivered in Washington, DC, to foreign print and broadcast journalists at a Feb. 17 Foreign Press Center briefing on the FBI's role in combatting global terrorism and crime.

"As the world gets smaller -- with cell phones, jet travel, the Internet -- the niche for the Bureau in the future is to work with our counterparts overseas to transcend those jurisdictional boundaries ... to do joint investigations," Director Mueller said.

That's why the FBI now has 46 Legal Attache offices around the world and has received congressional approval to open at least five more. Whether it's a joint investigation into terrorism, cyber attacks, human trafficking or drug trafficking, "you need the mutual respect, the training and the capacity to undertake those investigations ... that we will increasingly become involved with." "Legats," as they're known, "develop those relationships with our counterparts that will enable us to successfully handle those investigations.”

The relationships are further cemented, Director Mueller noted, by inviting our overseas law enforcement partners to train with us shoulder-to-shoulder at the FBI's National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

And is cooperation with colleagues in Arab and Muslim countries strengthening? Yes, especially in the areas of exchanging information and addressing terrorist financing. Some countries, experiencing terrorist attacks of their own, need to give and get information -- and all "recognize the numbers of women and children who were killed in those senseless acts [on 9/11] and do not want to see that happen again anywhere in the world."

Closer to home, Director Mueller stressed that "we have had substantial assistance and cooperation from the Muslim-American community, the Arab-American community, the Sikh-American community within the United States. And for that I am -- all of us are tremendously thankful."

Related Link: Director Mueller's full address