It is an honor to be here, in spite of the heat. Planning
a conference in a town where the locals use hot pads to open
their car doors is somewhat questionable.
years, I have talked at length about partnership. But it is
a message worth repeating: We must continue to work together.
Today's criminal and terrorist threats are not confined by
borders or boundaries. And unlike Las Vegas, what happens
overseas does not stay overseas. It affects all of us.
morning, I want to talk about the changing dynamics of both
crime and terrorism, and what we are doing-together-to confront
these threats. And I want to talk about the importance of
the National Academy.
Collective Response to Changing Dynamics
I start with terrorism and move to criminal threats, but I
am going to reverse that today, because the context in which
we are operating has changed in recent years.
changing dynamic reflects the increase in some areas of violent
crime across the country. Today, political figures are looking
at criminal threats differently than they did in the aftermath
of September 11. Time has passed, and, through our collective
efforts, we have so far succeeded in preventing another substantial
terrorist attack at home. Consequently, terrorism is not on
the front burner for many individuals.
of this changing dynamic, terrorism will continue to be our
top priority. But we understand that it is not always your
top priority. We recognize that while we need your eyes and
ears to predict and prevent terrorist attacks, you need our
help on the criminal side.
FBI, we have roughly a 50/50 balance between national security
and criminal programs. However, our resources are limited,
and we must focus on those areas where we bring something
unique to the table.
years, we have moved away from drug cases and smaller white
collar crimes, but we have dedicated more agents and more
resources to violent crime, crimes against children, and public
corruption. Since 2001, for example, our violent gang caseload
has more than doubled.
use more resources than we are allotted investigating crimes
against children, with more than 5,000 pending investigations.
In public corruption cases, we convicted nearly 1,500 federal,
state, and local employees in the past two years alone.
complex criminal matters, partnerships are essential to getting
the job done. There are roughly 180 Safe Streets task forces
across the country dedicated to violent crime and gang activity.
More than 250 special agents work side-by-side with their
counterparts in state and local fusion centers, sharing intelligence
and analyzing criminal trends.
such as this are equally important to our collaborative efforts.
I remember from my days as a prosecutor sitting with FBI agents
and detectives, working cases shoulder-to-shoulder, and then
having a beer after work. Working together is only part of
the equation; socializing together helps solidify our partnerships.
that by shifting agents and resources from drug and other
criminal investigations to counterterrorism, we may have impacted
some of these natural relationships. My hope and expectation
is that we will continue to develop these relationships through
investigations into violent crime and violent gangs.
cannot become complacent on the terrorist front. We cannot
dismiss the certainty that terrorists are plotting against
us or the likelihood that we will face future attacks.
as the criminal dynamic has shifted in recent years, so has
the terrorist dynamic. Al Qaeda is seeking to rebuild in Pakistan.
They are creating new sanctuaries in the Horn of Africa. With
that comes the threat of new and more innovative plots against
also face threats from those who are self-radicalized. Some
may have trained in Pakistan or Africa; some may have orders
from al Qaeda directing attacks.
recent bomb plots in London and Glasgow illustrate the continued
threats against all of us and the continued need for vigilance.
Here, too, task forces are of utmost importance. The Joint
Terrorism Task Forces have been essential in breaking up terrorist
plots across the country, from Portland, Lackawanna, and Torrance,
to the recent Fort Dix and JFK plots.
to thank you for your continued dedication to these task forces.
I know you face limited resources and personnel, and it is
difficult to spare those officers. But it is absolutely vital
to our security. We would not be where we are today without
your sacrifices and those of your fellow officers.
of the National Academy
to turn for a moment to the importance of the National Academy.
This is a bit like preaching to the choir. But it is another
message that bears repeating.
the FBI had a recent debate about how best to expand the National
Academy. One suggestionit may well have been minewas
to add additional sessions, but to shorten each session by
inundated by e-mails from across the country, all of which
said essentially the same thing: "You will not cut short
the National Academy experience, Director." The word
"Director" was used very loosely, I might add. I
got the message. We decided instead to increase the number
of students per session.
300 students graduated this June from the 229th session. This
is the first significant increase in more than 30 years. Hotel
Quantico was already stretched to its limits, so adding 50
additional National Academy students was asking for trouble.
they managed, in spite of the overbooked dormitories and the
ongoing renovations. Some would say these obstacles only added
to the experience.
be assured that, even with this increase in students, we are
just as committed to selecting top-quality candidatesthe
best of the best.
years to come, we will continue to improve the program and
to develop coursework that addresses the most current threats.
Indeed, there is even some talk about buying new furniture
for the dorm rooms and replacing the mattresses, but I cannot
imagine any of you had any complaints about the luxurious
also continue to include our international partners to reflect
our global roles. This, of course, has the added benefit of
making International Night that much more dangerous to your
overall health and Karaoke Night that much more entertaining.
This program is such a gem that we want to expand it to whatever
extent we can.
to talk for a moment about your responsibilities as National
Academy graduates. Your work does not end when you receive
your diploma. In truth, the real work is just beginning.
National Academy session is a microcosm of law enforcementofficers
from across the country and around the world, from all walks
of life. When you come to Quantico, you put your rank aside.
You all share the same training and networking opportunities.
You all suffer through the same PT, the same close quarters,
and the same world-class cuisine.
have your own inside jokes and your own memories, but you
are all National Academy graduates. Each of you earned a yellow
brick and with that comes a certain commitment.
conference, the connections you are making, is your way of
re-paying your department for time away from your communities
and your caseloads. The payback is to stay committed, to continue
to build bridges between your colleagues, and to stay in touch,
so that when the next crisis comes, we stand ready to respond
Academy represents partnership in action. In January of this
year, a 13-year-old boy from Missouri disappeared. State and
local officials traced a white pickup truck to the suspect's
residence in Kirkwood, Missouri.
Scanga, a graduate of the 154th session, was working with
the Kirkwood Police Department to secure the suspect's apartment
and surrounding parking lot. When FBI agents and evidence
recovery experts showed up on site, Diane already knew the
key players. She did not have to waste time on "procedural
nonsense," as she called it. No egos, no turf battles,
no bureaucratic red tape. Just instant credibility and immediate
they recovered the abducted teenager and, to their great surprise,
another boy who had been missing for more than four years.
There can be no greater justification for our continued collaboration
case illustrates, the National Academy proves that together,
we are smarter and stronger than we are standing alone.
of you may have read the book "The Wisdom of Crowds,"
by James Surowiecki. Surowiecki tells the story of a lost
submarine to illustrate the power of collective wisdom.
the U.S. submarine Scorpion disappeared on its way home from
the North Atlantic. The search area was more than 20 miles
wide and thousands of feet deep.
officer John Craven put together a team of mathematicians,
submarine specialists, and salvage men. He crafted several
theories on why the submarine sank and where. He then asked
each of the men to wager on the likelihood of each theory,
with bottles of Chivas Regal as prizes.
combined each individual's best guess to pinpoint the sub's
location. It was not a spot any one individual had pickedit
was a composite of the group's judgment.
months after the Scorpion disappeared, the Navy found itjust
220 yards from where Craven's team had said it would be. Even
though no one had any hard and fast evidence about why the
submarine sank or where, collectively, they had the answer.
is true for all of us. None of us has all the answers. We
do not always know where, when, or how criminals and terrorists
will strike, but we do know they will continue to try. We
must combine our intelligence, our technology, and our resources
to stop them. We must put our collective wisdom to work.
1935, more than 40,000 students have graduated from the National
Academy. That amounts to a line of yellow bricks more than
six miles longthe same length as the Yellow Brick Road
it really amounts to is a network that reaches far and wide.
A network of trust and teamwork. A network that represents
the best of law enforcement.
your jobs are not easy and that being a part of that network
sometimes comes at great cost. I am always reminded of this
when I attend the Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement
Officers Memorial during Police Week.
jobs become more difficult every year, as the threats we face
become more diverse and more dangerous. It takes courage to
patrol the streets each day, to investigate crime and terrorism,
to take down drug dealers, gang members, and violent criminals.
It takes tremendous sacrifice. It takes dedication.
that courage, that willingness to sacrifice, and that dedication
every day. Each one of you represents the best of your departments
and agencies. We could not ask for better friends, colleagues,
forward to continuing the legacy we have built together. My
thanks for all that you do. God bless.
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