Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2007

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

In Defense of the FBI

Re "Break up the FBI," Opinion, March 21

It is difficult to determine how effective and efficient U.S. counter-terrorism efforts are from the distant vantage point of several years. That there have been no further attacks on U.S. soil, and indeed that several potential attacks have been prevented, remains noteworthy. However, that fact alone does not lessen the FBI's determination to continue to fine-tune and improve itself as an effective intelligence agency that also functions as a premier law enforcement agency.

The Justice Department inspector general's report rightly points out the need for continued vigilance to ensure that proper administrative steps regarding national security letters are followed and addressed and that the process is improved where appropriate. But the report also highlighted the breakneck, intense environment the FBI has operated in since 9/11 to ensure that no terrorism lead goes uncovered. The report emphasizes that there was no malicious intent or wrongdoing on the part of the FBI with regard to these letters.

To assume the FBI was merely waiting on any commission's report and not actively and intensely retooling and re-engineering itself is a tremendous insult. As head of the Los Angeles FBI field office, I receive detailed briefings and threat assessments from a host of sources. The law enforcement and public safety community in our territory receives the same briefs. From them, decisions are made for the purpose of keeping the seven counties that make up the Central District of California—the Los Angeles FBI's territory—as safe as humanly possible.

Steve Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the L.A. Field Office, FBI

(As printed in the Los Angeles Times on March 28, 2007)

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