Good afternoon. Thank you, Ralph, for that introduction, and
thanks to all of you for being here today. Director Mueller
sends his apologies for not being able to be here today
as planned, but it is truly an honor for me to be here in
I want to take a moment to thank all the local officials
and members of the law enforcement community who are here
today. Congressman Rodriguez and Councilwoman Cisneros, thank
you for being here today. Chief McManus and Sheriff Tafolla,
it’s great to have you with us as well.
And finally, I want to recognize a number of individuals
whose dedication helped guide this project every step of the
- Developers Mark and David Harris—who are now working
on building their fourth FBI office;
- Robert O’Neil and his contracting team;
- Scott Armey, Mary Saponari, Ronald Lane, and Eric Janovsky
- Project Manager Brenda King and her team from FBI Headquarters;
- Diana Ornelas, the Project Manager here in San Antonio,
and her team.
From initial designing to last-minute wiring, we appreciate
all you have done to guide this effort and to bring all of
us here today. Today’s ceremony is the culmination of
years of hard work, and more than a little patience!
Constructing a facility like this for the federal government
presents unique challenges. We did not just need more room
for us to work—we needed more room for our partners
in state and local law enforcement and intelligence to work.
We did not just need more physical space—we needed more
secure space so that together, we can analyze and act on the
critical intelligence that allows us to identify and disrupt
both terrorist and criminal threats. And we did not just need
basic technological capabilities—we needed state-of-the-art
technology and secure, speedy connectivity.
Within these walls, we have all that, and more. And not
a moment too soon, because the challenges we face have never
been greater. We live in a world where our security is not
assured by distance from our enemies, and where threats grow
more complex and interconnected every day.
As many of you may know, the FBI is celebrating its 100th
anniversary this year. The Bureau was created because criminals
had begun to take advantage of the latest technology—the
automobile—to cross state lines and evade local law
enforcement. Because of its national jurisdiction, FBI agents
could chase them across state lines and bring them to justice.
The world of threats has changed dramatically since then.
One hundred years later, we confront sophisticated spies,
hi-tech hackers, and ruthless terrorists. We face corrupt
corporations, violent gangs, and global crime rings. Our enemies
may be based anywhere in the world, or anywhere on the World
The San Antonio office, which was established around 1910,
has witnessed this evolution in crime and terrorism, and has
successfully responded to it. Over the years, agents and professional
staff in the San Antonio office have chased down gangsters,
dismantled organized crime, and brought to justice corrupt
public officials, child predators, and Top Ten fugitives.
These efforts did not come without a price. Forty years
ago, San Antonio Special Agent Douglas Price was shot and
killed not far from here. He was slain trying to apprehend
a fugitive who was wanted for car theft and homicide. He had
only been on the job a year. We especially remember Special
Agent Price today, and all law enforcement officers who have
given their lives in the line of duty.
The San Antonio office also investigated the infamous assassination
of Judge John H. Wood Jr., the first federal judge killed
in the 20th century. Judge Wood had earned the nickname “Maximum
John” for his willingness to stand up to criminals and
impose harsh sentences on drug dealers. He was shot outside
his home in 1979.
The shooting prompted a huge investigation, known inside
the Bureau as “Major Case 21” or “WOODMUR.” It
was the most costly and intensive investigation in the FBI’s
history up to that point. It concluded with the conviction
of Charles Harrelson in the courtroom of Judge William Sessions,
who later became the fourth Director of the FBI.
No matter what threats America has faced, the FBI has stood
at the ready. And we still do. Today, our highest priority
is preventing another terrorist attack. Over the past six-and-a-half
years, we have worked extremely hard, both at home and abroad,
to strengthen our ability to detect and deter terrorism. And
we have made substantial progress.
Yet even as we continue to fight terrorism, we are also
combating espionage, cyber crime, public corruption, white
collar crime, and violent crime. We are confronting these
threats from Washington to Warsaw, and from San Antonio to
Recently, investigations by the FBI and our partners here
in San Antonio have led to the indictments of 34 members of
the Mexican Mafia prison gang, and 16 individuals for massive
mortgage fraud. And since March 1 of last year to today, the
San Antonio division has made 35 arrests on public corruption
These successes are a credit to the men and women of the
San Antonio office and our counterparts in federal, state,
and local law enforcement, and in the intelligence community.
They are the product of better intelligence, advanced technology,
and stronger partnerships—the three elements that we
need if we are to defeat 21st-century threats.
This new office gives us the space and security to build
on those three elements, and bring about many more successes.
The agents, analysts, and translators of the San Antonio
Field Intelligence Group now work in a secure space with secure
connectivity to dozens of information systems. They can collect
and analyze highly sensitive intelligence, and then transmit
it to our partners.
Our new Emergency Operations Center will give us the technology
we need to run high-profile or complex investigations. From
secure phone lines to state-of-the-art computers, the Emergency
Operations Center will be critical to our ability to process
and disseminate urgent information.
And with nearly 150,000 square feet of office space, the
new building ensures that we have ample room for all our partners.
In the old building, a task force officer had a better chance
of winning Mega Millions than of finding a spare desk or computer.
But we cannot achieve our mission without working as one team
with our counterparts. This building ensures that we can do
just that. The multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force is
now housed here, as are various other task forces. And almost
every squad has representatives from federal, state, and local
law enforcement who now work right here beside our agents
Sam Houston once said, “Texas has yet to learn submission
to any oppression, come from what source it may.” The
same is true of all Americans. We will continue to resist
every source of oppression—whether corrupt CEOs, gang
members, or terrorists.
Whenever the safety and freedom of the American people have
been threatened, law enforcement has always answered the call
to serve and protect. As the threats continue to change, and
our enemies continue to adapt, so will we.
Like this building, today’s FBI is stronger, more
flexible, and more modern—able to meet whatever challenges
As we dedicate this building, we know that ultimately, the
key to meeting these challenges lies not in new facilities
or new technologies, but rather in the men and women of the
law enforcement and intelligence communities. We will rely
on their commitment to our mission, their faithfulness to
the Constitution, and their devotion to our founding principles
of liberty and justice for all.
And it is on this foundation that we will build lasting
security for the United States—for this generation,
and for generations to come.
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