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
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