Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2002

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

The FBI commends the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry for its inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and for its recommendations to improve the counterterrorism efforts of the United States government.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller, the FBI has made substantial progress since September 11th to prevent terrorist attacks and protect the American people.

The Committee's recommendations set forth areas where the FBI can improve upon its domestic intelligence abilities. Prior to September 11, 2001, the FBI agreed with the Committee that many of its counterterrorism and intelligence functions required improvement, but the FBI has made substantial progress in these areas since September 11th.

In order to better share information among intelligence agencies as quickly as possible, the FBI's Counterterrorism Division is establishing a system to collect and disseminate intelligence information related to terrorism. This system will be staffed by intelligence specialists who assess intelligence from various sources and then forward this information on to U.S government intelligence agencies.

The FBI's long-established partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement has strengthened information sharing critical to the counterterrorism mission. The FBI has established Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) in each of the 56 field offices and in an additional 10 domestic offices. The establishment of the National Joint Terrorism Task Force at FBI Headquarters complements the work of the field offices by improving collaboration and timely information sharing with other agencies. Director Mueller has also created the Office of Law Enforcement Coordination within the FBI to enhance the coordination and communication between the FBI and state and local law enforcement.

Technology is key in quickly and appropriately disseminating information among intelligence and law enforcement. The Trilogy Program is designed to provide all FBI offices with better organization, access and analysis of information. Recognizing the urgent need for improved information technologies, Director Mueller accelerated the implementation of the Trilogy Program to provide those capabilities most urgently needed to support the FBI's priority cases.

For nearly 100 years, the FBI has earned the reputation as the world's premiere law enforcement agency based on the Bureau's ability to collect and act on information. While improvements are necessary and ongoing as the FBI adapts to this unprecedented threat, the FBI remains uniquely positioned with experts who can simultaneously handle criminal, terrorism and counterintelligence matters - all of which are inextricably woven. At the same time, the FBI has the experience to handle these matters within the framework of the Constitution while respecting the civil liberties cherished by U.S. citizens.

The FBI continues to address the challenges it faces, but has made marked improvement since September 11th and remains strong in its resolve to fight terrorism and protect the American people.