Louis M. Reigel III
Assistant Director, Cyber Division
Innocent Images National Initiative Press
February 24, 2006
you Director Mueller, and thank you for your
support of this important program.
am pleased to be able to share with you some
of the successes of the Cyber Division's Innocent
Images National Initiative, to include its
new and innovative international task force.
May 1995, the FBI began an undercover operation
called "Innocent Images" within
its Baltimore Division. The very first communication
in the Innocent Images file reads: "In
view of the highly vulnerable status of the
victims, the heinous nature of the crimes,
and the apparent extensive nature of computer
related pedophile activities, it is recommended
that Baltimore [Division] consider opening
an investigation focusing on computer bulletin
boards which have as their objective either
the recruitment of minors for sexual purposes
or the distribution of photographic images
of children involved in sexually explicit
we have more than 30 undercover operations
nationwide, and hundreds of agents and task
force officers working more than 2500 ongoing
Innocent Images investigations.
the past 10 years, the Innocent Images program
has made a significant impact on the child
pornography crime problem. The program has
led to 15,556 cases being opened; 4,784 criminals
being charged; 6,145 subjects being arrests;
and 4,822 convictions obtained to date. The
cases which led to these statistics were multi-jurisdictional
with no geographical boundaries, and both
national and international in scope.
have come a long way from the early electronic
bulletin boards that pre-dated the Internet.
Today an estimated 21 million teenagers use
the Internet, with 51% online daily. As children
use computers more and more, online child
predators take advantage of emerging technologies
to facilitate their unthinkable criminal activities.
the Innocent Images program is an intelligence-driven,
proactive, multi-agency investigative effort
that pursues offenders who utilize websites,
chat rooms, peer to peer networks, Instant
Messaging programs, eGroups, NewsGroups, file
servers, and other online services to exploit
top investigative priority is the disruption
and dismantling of online groups, organizations,
and for-profit enterprises which seek to exploit
address all of our priorities, the Innocent
Images program readily draws on the resources
of its federal, state, local...and now international
law enforcement partners. In addition to commemorating
the 10-year anniversary of Innocent Images
program, I am pleased to announce that the
FBI has been participating in the first-ever
Innocent Images International Task Force,
which began in September 2004. This innovative
task force is comprised of international investigators
that work side-by-side with FBI agents to
combat child sexual exploitation globally.
who have assigned investigators to the International
Task Force include: Belarus, Croatia, Germany,
Latvia, Norway, Ukraine, the United Kingdom,
the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Finland,
and Canada. We are also working jointly with
EUROPOL on several investigations. Further
the task force has worked closely with several
other countries, to include Spain, and Bulgaria.
International Task Force was initially a six-month
initiative targeting websites that distribute
child pornography, but it has grown to include
other child exploitation investigations. New
representatives from other countries participate
on a rotational basis, and investigations
and task force membership continue when the
officers return to their home countries.
want to take this opportunity to thank Ernie
Allen, the CEO and president of the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The Center and the FBI have combined resources
to help identify victims depicted in child
pornography. The merger of our data has resulted
in the identification of 180 victims who were
previously considered unidentified. Additionally,
FBI analysts and analysts from the National
Center review hundreds of tips every day.
Many of the arrests cited in my remarks today
are a direct result of the work done at the
FBI is determined to pursue anyone who would
prey upon our children for sexual gratification
or financial gain...anywhere in the world.
The FBI's effort is consistent with the top
priorities of the Department of Justice as
articulated by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales