Press Release

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2003

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

Larry Mefford Remarks for a News Conference
on Plea Agreements in Portland Case

Thank you, Attorney General Ashcroft.

September 11 made the prevention of terrorist attacks the FBI's top priority and overriding focus. While we remain committed to our other important national security and law enforcement responsibilities, the prevention of terrorism takes precedence in our thinking and planning; in our hiring and staffing; in our training and technologies, and, most importantly, in our investigations.

However, our 11,500 FBI Agents are a small cadre compared to the nation's 670,000 state and local law enforcement officers. And we need every one of those officers to be fully integrated into the war on terror.

As a result, the number of regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces has been increased from 35 to 84, representing every major metropolitan area on the country. JTTFs are staffed with representatives from federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, and first responders, all working side by side and sharing information.

The Portland case we are discussing today exemplifies the strong working relationship we have developed with law enforcement and the improved information sharing ability among the FBI, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

This investigation was conducted by the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force and was initiated as a result of local law enforcement efforts. Members of the JTTF include representatives of numerous federal agencies, as well as state and local law enforcement, including the Oregon State Police, Portland Police Bureau, Port of Portland Police Department, Vancouver Police Department and Beaverton Police Department.

Based on their outstanding efforts, dedication, and commitment to the war on terror, we
commend the Portland JTTF and our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence
communities for their continued commitment to fighting terrorism.