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CREATING AN INTEL SERVICE WITHIN THE FBI
Director Mueller Testifies Before Congress

07/27/05

Robert MuellerIn years past, the FBI has developed and used intelligence to tackle new and evolving threats—from Depression-era gangsters to Nazi agents...from '70s mobsters to Cold War spies.

This intelligence work enabled us to 1) penetrate the national and international scope of these and other threats, and 2) bring the most serious players (both individuals and organizations) to justice through our investigations.

But the world has changed. To protect America from today's complex, globally networked, and increasingly interconnected terrorist groups and criminal syndicates, we've taken our intelligence operations to the next level. After 9/11, we created a national program that centralized and unified our operations; staffed up, trained, and better equipped our intelligence professionals; and meshed our operations and information sharing with intelligence and law enforcement partners worldwide.

To build on that progress, the President recently announced the creation of an intelligence service within the FBI that will further unify our intelligence resources and more fully integrate our operations into the broader intelligence community.

On 7/27, Director Mueller outlined the broad concepts of this plan and our work to build up three areas—our foreign language program, Information Technology, and human capital—that will directly impact the success of the new service.

We call your attention, in particular, to his detailed description of improvements in our translation capabilities. A few highlights:

  • We now have the capacity to "promptly address all of our highest priority counterterrorism intelligence, generally within 24 hours."
  • Since 9/11/01 we've doubled the number of onboard linguists in key languages like Arabic and increased the number of overall linguists by 69%;
  • Backlogs have been significantly reduced. Only 1.8% of audio, 0.8% of electronic data files, and 0.1% of text from the last two years now exist as accrued backlog.
  • A recent review of the backlog indicates that 93% is "attributable to either elongated 'white noise' microphone recordings from certain techniques not expected to yield intelligence of tactically high value" and to "highly obscure languages and dialects" rare in the intelligence community. We're addressing the latter with intense recruiting and recently "hired 9 additional linguists in one very rare language."

We encourage you to read the full statement for all the details. And stay tuned for more stories on the FBI's intelligence service and its people.