for America’s premiere law enforcement
agency, especially, in its office of public
affairs, I too often hear from those who have
forgotten about the strength of the FBI and
the great things our employees achieve everyday.
So, if you would allow me, I would like to use
this opportunity to remind you, of what I must
often remind myself – when things get
a little ugly. That is, who we are in the FBI,
the changes we have made, and the resilience
and commitment of our employees that has always
remained the same.
September 24, 2003, the managing editor of a
Romanian newspaper, Cornel Nistorescu, wrote
and editorial titled, “An Ode to America”
in which he looked back on the events of September
11th. Mr. Nistorescu said,
“… the American tragedy turned there
hundred million people into a hand put on the
heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House,
the army, the secret services… Nobody
rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody
rushed on the streets nearby to gape about.
The Americans volunteered to donate blood and
to give a helping hand. After the first moments
of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in
the colours of the national flag. They placed
flags on buildings and cars… [and] on
every occasion they started singing their traditional
song: “God Bless America!” …The
American’s solidarity spirit turned them
into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word.
What you could hear was the heavy artillery
of the American soul.”
was an observance from someone in another country,
a year after the tragic events of 9/11. Yet,
if that editorial was written today, the story
would be different. There would be finger pointing,
blame, the loss of that American spirit and
what you would hear would be the collective
sign of downtrodden souls.
not in the FBI. We remain undaunted by the ugliness
of the fingerpointing and the blame. Instead,
we have chosen to review who we were before
9/11 and make the changes necessary to ensure
such events do not occur again.
step back in time for a moment. During the FBI’s
75th anniversary celebration, former President
Ronald Reagan said, “From its inception
under President Theodore Roosevelt to the present,
the FBI has worked diligently to enforce our
laws, ensure the nation’s security, and
further the pursuit of justice across our land.”
President Reagan expressed his – and the
American people’s – confidence in
the nation’s foremost law enforcement
agency. His quote graces the Hoover building
today. It reminds us. It encourages us. And
after close to 100 years of dedication to protecting
the American people – the words of Ronald
Reagan continue to ring true.
course, if you watch the news you would think
America’s confidence is gone. News reports
focus on accusations – that the FBI, CIA,
and others “dropped the ball” before
the terrorist attacks. They say “the FBI
can’t adapt and change” –
or “do it quickly enough – to meet
But nothing could be further from the truth.
And our confidence remains high. Throughout
its history, the FBI has always changed to meet
new threats. Nearly a century ago, the Bureau
was created to investigate criminal activity
that had begun to cross state lines. As America’s
crime problem evolved, so did the Bureau. Our
mission grew and changed through the gangster
era and into the Cold War, when national security
and espionage threats came to the forefront.
In the past two-and-a-half years, the FBI has
again undergone significant changes.
me provide you a glimpse into some of them.
We needed to change because crime, terrorism,
and counterintelligence changed, became more
complex, more sophisticated and more dangerous.
We used to worry about terrorist attacks a couple
of time zones away. Now, our streets and neighborhoods
have been turned into the front lines.
the end of the “cold war” the old
fashioned “spy game” did not go
away, in fact there are more players in the
mix than ever before. The number of countries
engaged in espionage against the United States
has actually risen. Our enemies and allies alike,
covet our technology, our manufacturing processes
and our trade secrets. Economic espionage costs
U.S. businesses more than 200 billion dollars
a year just in intellectual property theft.
what about the world of cyberspace? It is great
to be able to turn on your computer and with
a couple of clicks, have an online shopping
mall right at your fingertips. The problem is,
shoppers and surfers aren’t the only people
on-line today. So are pedophiles who target
our children and con artists who target our
elderly. So is the mafia and so are well educated
of all, these and other threats are converging
in ways we have never seen before. The divisions
between traditional organized crime, cyber crime,
espionage and terrorism have collapsed. Organized
criminals launder money for terrorists. Terrorists
swap arms with international drug syndicates.
Spies hack into our systems along with cyber
criminals and terrorists. High tech crime rings,
the Russian mafia and al Qaeda operatives alike
have all made credit care fraud and identity
theft a part of their modus operandi.
needed to change to meet the complexities of
today’s threats. Let me give you an illustration.
Recently we had a case in Antarctica, where
a U.S. scientific research station reported
to the FBI that their computer systems had been
hacked into and their data corrupted. At the
time, Antarctica was frozen over and aircraft
would not be allowed to land there for another
here in Washington, D.C., local FBI Agents traced
the source of the intrusion to a server in a
trucking company outside Pittsburgh. Soon after,
the Agents identified two suspects in Romania,
and – with the help of our law enforcement
partners in that country – the two were
arrested. Today, criminal, terrorism, cyber
and espionage cases – all have an international
nexus. Transnational evil has become the rule
rather than the exception in most of our investigations.
needed to change and the most significant change
we made was redefining our priorities to prevent
terrorist attacks. This required a systematic
approach reviewing and examining all aspects
of the Bureau’s operations.
Our review was comprehensive. The changes -
significant. The result - a better FBI.
we defined ten priorities in three key areas:
national security, criminal, and support. Under
national security we refocused so that counterterrorism
became the overarching priority. Every terrorism
lead is addressed, even if it requires a diversion
of resources from other areas.
is followed by foreign intelligence threats
and cyber crime.
With a large percentage of our resources dedicated
to the national security priorities, we had
to re-evaluate our traditional criminal priorities.
Those criminal areas where we have exclusive
investigative jurisdiction, public corruption
and the protection of civil rights, were identified
first among these. Transnational and national
criminal enterprises, major white collar crimes
and significant violent crimes were also included.
two support priorities help us to accomplish
the first eight. We upgraded our information
technology and we expanded our external relations.
With regard to improving our technology, we
have developed an integrated information system
to improve our ability to search for information,
analyze it, draw connections, and share it both
inside the Bureau and outside with our partners.
This year, we will implement software that will,
for the first time, move the FBI from being
a paper-driven organization to a digital organization.
as for our external relationships, we are strengthening
not just our partnerships with U.S. law enforcement
and our counterparts overseas, but with the
community as well. When we reflect back to September
11th, we realize that the world did not change
when planes became missiles, America actually
changed. We all did. The community became acutely
aware of the circumstances, influences and players
-- both good and evil – that have affected
our world for many decades.
as a profession, all of us in law enforcement
changed. We recognized the need to break down
barriers between the FBI, law enforcement, business,
and our very diverse community. We began reaching
out to community groups and leaders to develop
a truly cooperative relationship. And with our
law enforcement partners, we are working together
now, not waiting to introduce ourselves for
the first time at another Ground Zero.
the FBI, other law enforcement and the community
cooperate in deep and meaningful ways, every
single day. Most of our field offices have Citizen’s
Academies to train public leaders and businessmen
and women about who we are and what we do. Our
84 Joint Terrorism Task Forces put all levels
of law enforcement together to investigate threats
and share information. Together we are making
“law enforcement community” more
than just an empty label. We are transforming
ourselves into a truly interdependent community
of agents, police, business and the diverse
people which we serve.
establishing our priorities, we re-aligned resources
to ensure that we accomplished our goals. To
confront an enemy as cunning as Al Qaeda, it
was clear that the FBI would have to become
more flexible, more agile, and more mobile.
Since September 11th, we have doubled the number
of Special Agents and analysts in counterterrorism
and added another 450 translators.
also established specialized operational units
that give us new capabilities to address the
terrorist threat. For example, one unit focuses
on terrorist financing, and another unit exploits
evidence found overseas. Yet another is dedicated
solely to finding terrorists overseas and keeping
them out of the United States, while multiple
“Fly Teams” travel wherever and
whenever they are needed to lend their counterterrorism
Now, imagine… the priorities were re-defined,
our structure and resources realigned. Change
was occurring rapidly. Yet, there remained more
to be done. We had to change “how”
we were operating.
centralized the management of our counterterrorism
program at Headquarters in order to allow us
to more effectively cull through information
and connect the dots and patterns nationally.
This centralization has resulted in less stove-piping
and better coordination.
We also began focusing on our intelligence.
Essential to predicting and preventing future
terrorist attacks is improving intelligence
analysis. The FBI has always used intelligence
to solve cases. It is how we pursued Nazi spies
during World War II and the mafia in the seventies
and eighties. But we needed more. We increased
the number of intelligence analysts, expanded
their career path, set performance standards,
and developed training that will be ongoing
for their entire career.
are now integrating intelligence into all of
our operations to produce a seamless, predictive,
analytic capability. We have intelligence groups
in every field office. We are also enhancing
our ability to take a daily snapshot of our
domestic intelligence picture: what we are collecting,
how we are collecting it, and identifying any
intelligence can only help if it is shared.
Today, we produce daily intelligence reports
and bulletins to share not just with the intelligence
community, but with our state and local law
enforcement partners as well.
of these changes and our improved counterterrorism
efforts have produced significant results. The
FBI and its partners have disrupted a number
of terrorist operations both here and overseas.
We have conducted more than 70 investigations
into terrorist money trails and frozen more
than $125 million in assets.
have made great progress in the war against
terrorism, while continuing to significantly
impact transnational organized crime, corporate
fraud and more.
we have not made similar progress in getting
the message out to the public. The American
people need to understand the changes we have
made, the work we are doing, and the dangers
we still face.
also need to know – and I think the Director
did an excellent job articulating this at the
recent 9-11 hearings – that the one thing
which will never change in the FBI, the thing
that will see us through all of the upheaval,
is the outstanding devotion of our employees.
Every time I read quotes or hear comments that
the FBI’s “culture must change…
or can the culture change” I cringe. Do
you know what the first definition of “culture”
is in the Webster Dictionary? Culture is defined
as “the quality in a person that arises
from a concern for what is regarded as excellence
in manners, etc.”
culture of the FBI is a commitment to fidelity,
bravery and integrity. The culture of the FBI
is now and has always been one of hard work
and a dedication to protecting this country.
There is no need to change that.
President Jimmy Carter once said, “We
must adjust to changing times and still hold
to unchanging principles.” That is precisely
what the FBI has done for more than 95 years,
and I am here to ensure you that the FBI’s
commitment to change while maintaining those
unchanging principles of fidelity, bravery and
integrity, still guides us today and will in
the next century.
America needs to know, not just about the changes
we have made, but also about our devotion to
those unchanged principles.
recognize that working with the CIA, DHS, DEA
and the rest of the government’s alphabet
soup of agencies is important. But – we
must also work with CNN, ABC, NPR and the alphabet
soup of the media to get more information out.
Whether it is a message about suspected terrorists,
potential threats, or about the changes we have
made to keep America safe. We have an obligation
to keep the public informed.
the media has not always been kind to the FBI,
especially before 9-11, and it’s not surprising
that it’s gotten a little worse since
then. But before September 11th, we weren’t
always as focused on communicating with the
public as we should have been. And now, we’re
facing the task of trying to build those relationships
with the media and the public at the same time
that we’re facing some of the worst criticism
in the Bureau’s history.
tough. Sometimes it feels like an uphill slog.
But it is what we need to do. It is what we
must do to help America feel safe.
are working towards building a more positive
relationship with the media and we know that
in order to maintain that relationship, we must
earn the trust of those in the industry. Journalists
have a job to do and part of that job –
just like an Agent, is actually – to be
a little skeptical of what people tell you.
It’s not up to the media to believe us
– that’s not their job – it’s
up to us to be truthful and more open with them
and the American people.
an informed public can make rational judgments
as to whether the FBI is up to the task. Only
an informed public will be secure in their confidence
in the FBI’s ability to get the job done.
earlier I said sometimes the negative stories
cause others to forget the dedication and the
hard work of our employees. But, in the FBI,
we never lose sight of it
in the end, that’s what we focus on. The
fact that – no matter what is being reported
about us in the news – we are still committed
to doing the job we must do. We may get good
press on Monday after rounding up a terrorist
ring, and on Tuesday we may be blasted with
negative coverage about the same investigation.
But no matter what’s scrolling across
the headlines, we remain focused on the work
yet to be done.
1961, J. Edgar Hoover remarked, “…America
has always been a land of great champions, produced
by the fires of adversity. Extraordinary men
and women since 1776 have achieved extraordinary
goals and conquered extraordinary obstacles.
We must be real champions in America if we are
to defeat our enemies within and without.”
today, in 2004, despite the criticisms of mis-steps,
should have dones, should not have dones, the
men and the women of the FBI remain the champions
Mr. Hoover once envisioned for this agency.
They remain extraordinary men and extraordinary
women who, despite the fires of adversity -
still achieve extraordinary goals and conquer
you for giving me the opportunity to tell you
a bit about how we’ve changed and to remind
you of the commitment that still remains the
same. I will be happy to take your questions