Major Executive Speeches

Prepared Remarks of Robert S. Mueller, III
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Operation Backfire Press Conference
RFK Main Justice Building, Washington, D.C.
January 20, 2006


Good afternoon. Today's indictment marks the culmination of an intensive investigation by the FBI and our partners,  focused on a group of individuals who have committed numerous violent acts in the name of animal rights and environmental causes.

Terrorism is terrorism — no matter the motive. The FBI is committed to protecting Americans from all crime and all terrorism, including acts of domestic terrorism on behalf of animal rights or the environment.

There is a clear difference between constitutionally protected advocacy — which is the right of all Americans — and violent criminal activity. It is one thing to write concerned letters or hold peaceful demonstrations. It is another thing entirely to construct and use improvised explosives or incendiary devices, to harass and intimidate victims by destroying property, and to cause millions of dollars in losses by acts or threats of violence.

The FBI becomes involved, as it did in this case, only when volatile talk crosses the line into violence and criminal activity. No person — no matter what his or her political or moral convictions are — is above the law.

Today's indictment marks significant progress in our efforts to combat animal rights extremism and eco-terrorism. Thanks to outstanding cooperation and strong partnerships, we have taken the first steps towards bringing this cell to justice. We in the FBI will continue to work with our partners to investigate and bring to justice the animal rights and environmental extremist movements whose criminal acts threaten the American economy and American lives.

Thank you.