Our Other Prevention Strategy
| John Miller, head of the FBI's Office of Public Affairs, meets with reporters following his May 10 briefing to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
On May 7, using our investigative and intelligence
capabilitiesfrom undercover operations
to informants and surveillancewe foiled
an attack on a New Jersey military base by
a group of homegrown extremists acting in
the name of jihad.
as we look back on the successful prevention
of a terrorist attack, we are left to ask:
how do wewe in the FBI and we as a nationprevent
people like these living within our borders
from becoming radicalized in the first place
... from taking their faith or political beliefs
to the extremes of plotting acts of violence
a difficult, complex issueone that the
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs has been examining in
a series of hearings in recent months. On
Thursday, our top public affairs execJohn
Millerspoke to the committee about our
strategies for addressing the threat of radicalization.
testimony is posted
online, and as you can read, we are doing
quite a bit on this issue and have made many
inroads over the past six years. Our strategy
centers on creating avenues for a free, frank
dialogue to achieve a true partnership with
Regular conference calls between the FBI
Director and a variety of national Arab-American
and Muslim organizations, which lead to
action items for us or community based organizations
to carry out and follow-up on during the
grassroots programs by each of our 56 field
offices to meet the specific needs of groups
within their domains;
Citizen Academies that allow community leaders
from all walks of life to see the FBI from
the inside and engage us on a very personal
Community Relations Executive Seminar Training,
or CREST, courses, which operate like Citizen
Academies but on a smaller scale and with
curriculums chosen by the participants to
address their immediate concerns; and
variety of programs and conferences for
teens and youth in minority communities,
which encourage not only good citizenship
among these young people but also possible
future careers with the FBI.
progress. Even with the difficulty of
assessing what truly lies in the hearts and
minds of many different people, we can point
to some concrete achievements. A few mentioned
in the testimony:
the Director of the FBI can pick up the
phone and talk to leaders from the various
communities in an instant; three or four
years ago, that would not have been possible.
Throughout the country, Arab Americans
regularly participate in Citizens Academies;
three or four years ago, that did not take
place. Today, FBI Headquarters measures
whether outreach efforts across the 56 field
divisions are being carried out effectively.
Two years ago, we could not do that."
now have partners in the Arab-American and
Muslim communities. Some have become publicly
declared allies in our efforts to condemn
terrorism. They have become our bridge to
many who viewed the FBI with either contempt,
or worse, fear. They now come through the
doors of the FBI and feel free to share
their views on sensitive issues."
while we realizeall too wellthat
we are going to have disagreements with
these same communities, we are talking.
And, given the circumstances of today's
world, that is what matters most."
and even though a long road remains ahead,
we mustand we willkeep doing our
part to create a world where trust and meaningful
dialogue replaces fear and violence. It's
the ultimate prevention strategy.