evening. Let me begin by thanking Larry King,
who was instrumental in getting me here. My
thanks also to SAC Monroe and the Phoenix Field
Office for the invitation to join you tonight.
I am honored to be a part of your graduation,
particularly here in Phoenix, where the Citizens
Academy program got its start.
understand there are many disciples of Jim Ahearn
in the audience. Jim was the former Special
Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office,
and the man who started the Citizens Academy
here in Phoenix. We're glad you are here celebrating
with us tonight. My thanks also to the Phoenix
Police Department. They gave us the concept
of the Citizens Academy, and we ran with it.
want to thank all of you for the time and effort
you have contributed to this class. For two
months, you shifted priorities and sacrificed
free time to learn more about the FBI. You could
have gone to the movies, read a few chapters
in your favorite book, or just sat back on the
couch after a tough day. But you didn't.
you spent your time with us, every Thursday
night, for eight weeks. You skipped the movie
to watch the SWAT team in action. You traded
your favorite novel for safety goggles and a
shotgun, and you've got the bruises to prove
it. You left the couch to collect crime scene
evidence. You asked to be informed about the
FBI, and we did our best to "demystify"
our day-to-day work, to help you understand
what we're doing to keep America safe.
of the things you have learned over the past
eight weeks is that our jobs have become more
challenging as crime has become more complex,
more sophisticated, and more dangerous. Today,
we're seeing organized crime enterprises launder
money for drug groups. Drug groups possibly
selling weapons to terrorists. Terrorists committing
white collar crime to fund their operations.
All of them exploiting technology for criminal
face it: the days of the G-Men tearing down
the road in hot pursuit of a bank robber or
a gangster are long gone. Terrorism, technology,
and homeland security are now a part of our
playing field has changed--and changed dramatically.
The good news is, so has the FBI.
ago, law enforcement and intelligence agencies
had a tendency to work alone, keeping information
and expertise to themselves. Businesses, communities,
and citizens stood on the sidelines--concerned,
but remote from the work of law enforcement.
9/11 attacks taught us all a painful lesson:
we cannot defeat our enemies standing alone.
Rather, we have had to find new ways of doing
things to defeat today's sophisticated criminal
and terrorist networks, like changing the way
we function within the FBI and formulating new
opportunities for sharing information and working
together with others, like you.
want to talk for just a moment about the idea
of form and function working together. Being
here in Phoenix makes me think of world-renowned
architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed and
built beautiful buildings in Scottsdale and
around the country. Wright was an architectural
pioneer who believed that form and function
should work in tandem with each other. That
man-made structures should complement the surrounding
natural landscape, and that everything, form
and function, should work together in unity.
principle of form and function working together
in unity is one that we in the FBI are putting
into practice every day.
are collaborating with new partners in new ways.
We are working with our international counterparts
and with cops on the local beat. We are coordinating
with leaders in the intelligence community and
leaders in your community. We are sharing information,
technology, and investigative techniques with
law enforcement agencies across the country
and around the world. We are working with businesses
and schools and civic organizations and individuals
like you every day to prevent crime and to prevent
the next terrorist attack. We have come together
as one team, with one motivation--protecting
our nation, our communities, and our children.
short, we have changed our form and our function--to
work together in unity, not just with our law
enforcement and intelligence partners, but also
with you--the citizens we have sworn to protect.
Citizens Academy is one of the greatest examples
of how we have come together as a team. Through
this academy, you are helping us to build stronger
citizen commitment and community support. You
are helping to build a bridge between law enforcement
and the community. You are helping to dispel
some of the myths surrounding the FBI. Now you
know that we are not "men in dark suits
who come to get you in the middle of the night,"
as I've learned one of your classmates said.
We are men and women, of all races and ages,
working--everyday--to protect you.
working with us, you have improved our ability
to protect you, and you have made Phoenix a
safer place to live.
I described how Frank Lloyd Wright designed
his buildings, ensuring that form and function
worked in unity with the building's surroundings.
Let me go a step further.
the structure itself, Wright said that "the
room within is the great fact about the building."
He meant that greatness isn't defined just by
the form and function of the building. It's
the way the rooms inside flow together, how
each room is used--these are the things that
make a building great.
imagine our nation as an enormous building.
A great building. Now think of our schools,
churches, and civic groups; our businesses,
police departments and government agencies.
These are the rooms of our building.
these rooms, we come together for a common purpose--to
protect our nation. We come together as a team:
the FBI changing its form and function to fit
the new structural realities of global crime
and terrorism, and you--the leaders of the community
we serve--changing, learning, and working with
us...all of us flowing together to help build
a safe nation.
know, from my youngest days, I have always believed
in the power of one. The power of one person
to make a difference. But as I continue to witness
the incredible coming together of law enforcement,
the intelligence community, and other communities
we serve, I have come to realize that the power
of one also means something else. It stands
for the power of unity.
that building we just imagined, we may come
from different rooms. We may have different
backgrounds, with different jobs and different
roles in society.
ultimately, we are one people with one mission:
to ensure that our nation--this great building--will
stand strong and secure, and that it will withstand
the changing landscape of global crime and terrorism.
have much to gain by working together in unity.
And through participating in the Citizens Academy
you have taken a great step in that direction.
But remember, this is just the beginning.
team effort cannot stop after you leave this
room tonight. You must continue to act as ambassadors
for the FBI, helping your community understand
the work we're doing. You must remain part of
a larger community dedicated to protecting America.
You must serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement...as
the everyday guardians of freedom, justice,
challenges we face are fierce. But standing
together, we are a powerful network, a team
that cannot be defeated.
on your graduation. And may God bless you for
your strength and for your willingness to work
together with law enforcement building a nation
that will stand secure 20...50...100 years from
now. You know, whenever I think of you and your
devotion to the Citizen's Academy, I will think
of how my 15-year-old son would describe your
support. He'd say, "I've got your back."
And all of us in the FBI would reply, "Indeed
you do, and we thank you."
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