afternoon. Buenas tardes. Thank you for inviting
me to the Island of Enchantment.
day, an old Puerto Rican jibaro called his children
together for a family meeting. He told each
child to pick up a stick and to lay it down
next to the stick of the sibling next to them.
After each of the children had laid their sticks
down, the old man scooped up the sticks and
bound them together with twine.
then challenged each child to break the bundle
of sticks. Each one tried, but could not break
the bundle of sticks apart. The jibaro then
unwrapped the bundle, gave each child one stick,
and challenged them to break the stick. Each
child easily broke the single stick.
jibaro said, "Now you see my meaning, my
children. So long as you remain bound together
and united, you are unbroken. You are a match
for anything and anyone. But standing separately,
you are defeated, destroyed."
thought this fable was particularly appropriate
for today's ceremony. As graduates of the Citizens
Academy, you are now part of the FBI family.
You are part of a global bundle--a worldwide
team--bound together by a common goal: to keep
our communities, our families, and our children
safe. Standing alone, we might be broken. Bound
together, we are unbeatable. Unidos, seremos
want to thank all of you for the time and effort
you have contributed to this class. You are
Puerto Rico's first Citizens Academy graduates.
Congratulations. Felicitaciones. We are proud
two months, you have shifted priorities and
sacrificed your free time to learn more about
the FBI. You could have taken a walk on one
of Puerto Rico's beautiful beaches, read a few
chapters in your favorite book, or just sat
back on the couch after a tough day. But you
you spent your time with us, every Thursday
night, for seven weeks. You skipped that stroll
on the beach to watch the SWAT team in action.
You traded your favorite novel for safety goggles
and a Tommy gun. You left the couch to watch
the Evidence Response Team collect crime scene
evidence. You asked to be informed about the
FBI, and we did our best to "demystify"
our day-to-day work, to help you understand
what we're doing to keep America safe.
of the things you have learned over the past
eight weeks is that our jobs have become more
challenging as crime has become more complex,
more sophisticated, and more dangerous. Jet
travel, cell phones, and the Internet have given
criminal and terrorist threats an international
dimension. And these threats are converging
in ways we have not seen before. The lines between
traditional organized crime, cyber crime, espionage,
and terrorism have not just blurred
businesses and communities are often the targets
of these threats. To Al Qaeda, damage to a company
or a local community is merely one way to hurt
our economy and weaken America's resolve. To
them, stealing a person's identity or a company's
trade secrets is simply a means to fund the
next terrorist attack.
fact is, the playing field has changed--and
changed dramatically. The good news is, so has
the FBI. And so have you.
ago, law enforcement and intelligence agencies
had a tendency to work alone, keeping some information
and expertise to themselves. Businesses, communities,
and citizens stood on the sidelines--concerned,
but remote from the day-to-day work of law enforcement.
days are gone. The September 11th attacks taught
us all a painful lesson: we cannot defeat our
enemies standing alone. The only way to defeat
today's criminal and terrorist threats is by
coming together and working together.
the aftermath of the September 11th attacks,
law enforcement, firefighters, and the community
did come together
it was members of law enforcement, firefighters,
and community workers who courageously helped
those who escaped burning buildings and who
comforted one another in the last moments of
their lives. It was law enforcement, firefighters,
and the community who rushed to the scene to
was law enforcement, firefighters, and community
workers who put in hour after hour, day after
day, to rescue survivors and recover remains.
it was law enforcement officers from many different
agencies, large and small, around the world,
who tirelessly worked to piece together the
puzzle of America's most horrific crime.
September 2003, the managing editor of a Romanian
newspaper wrote an editorial entitled "Ode
to America," in which he looked back on
the events of September 11th.
said, "The American tragedy turned 300-million
people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody
rushed to accuse the White House, the army,
the secret service
.Nobody rushed to empty
their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets
nearby to gape about.
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 colors of the national flag. They placed
flags on buildings and cars
[and] on every
occasion they started singing their traditional
song: "God Bless America!"
Americans' solidarity of spirit turned them
into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word.
What you could hear was the heavy artillery
of the American soul."
September 11th, a small gang of terrorist thugs
tried to convince us that we were weak. They
wanted to make us afraid--they wanted us to
fall apart. Instead, they showed us how strong
we truly are.
11th forced us to open our eyes anew to the
world around us. The world did not change
the moment that planes became missiles; we
changed. We became acutely aware of the
circumstances, influences, and players around
the world who threaten our national security.
We also became acutely aware of the power of
partnerships, of unity, of family, of being
we are sharing information, technology, and
investigative techniques with law enforcement
and intelligence agencies across the country
and around the world. We are tearing down the
walls that once divided us. We are collaborating
with new partners in new ways.
are working with businesses and civic organizations
and individuals like you every day to address
your concerns and to tell you what we are doing
to protect you.
the past three years, we have been bound together
as one team. Law enforcement; federal, state,
and local governments; business; communities;
and individuals--working together.
Citizens Academy is a great example of coming
together as a team. Through this academy, you
are helping us to build stronger citizen commitment
and community support. You are helping to build
a bridge between law enforcement and the community.
By working with us, you have improved our ability
to protect you, and you have made San Juan a
safer place to live.
night, I listened for the sounds of the coquis.
I know that these tiny tree frogs are one of
Puerto Rico's national symbols, and I wanted
to enjoy a little night music.
started to think about the coquis and the effect
they have on residents and visitors alike. One
coqui, alone, produces a beautiful sound, but
it is faint, and difficult to hear unless you're
standing nearby. Ten coquis, together, produce
the same beautiful sound, but the effect is
multiplied, more far-reaching. Think of one
an entire choir
together throughout the night. Think of the
far-reaching effect of their music on the people
who would stop to listen.
can look at our partnerships in the same way.
One person, one law enforcement or intelligence
agency, one community group standing alone to
fight crime and terrorism can be powerful. But
all of us standing together--bound together
as a family--intelligence agencies; federal,
local, and international police officers; business
and community leaders; school teachers and parents--WE
are a force to be reckoned with.
graduates of the Citizens Academy, you have
joined the FBI family. But remember, this is
just the beginning. Our team effort cannot stop
after you leave this room. You must continue
to act as ambassadors for the FBI, helping your
community understand the work we're doing. You
must serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement
the everyday guardians of freedom, justice,
family, we are just that one lone stick, easily
broken. Together, we are that bundle of sticks
that cannot be broken. A team that cannot be
divided. Together, we are a global family that
is strong, unbending, unbreakable.
together, we are unbeatable. Unidos, seremos
and welcome to the FBI family.