Good morning. Thank you, Jim, for that introduction, and my thanks to all of you for inviting me here today.
It is good to see so many of our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement. You are not only partners; you are friends, without whom our success would not be possible.
Today’s ceremony is the culmination of years of hard work, and more than a little patience. I want to thank all those whose dedication helped guide this project every step of the way.
I am told the men and women of the Jacksonville Division thought it was well past time for a new home, particularly given the state of the old home.
After all, one had a better chance of winning the lottery than finding an empty desk from which to work. We in the FBI often talk about the need to work side-by-side, but we mean that in a figurative sense, and not like a can of sardines.
Technical connections were challenged, to say the least, and from what I understand, the temperature in certain parts of the building swung from the Ice Age to something akin to the Death Valley Desert without warning.
The elevators floated up and down without rhyme or reason. The wallpaper lacked the will to stay adhered to the wall. And more than one of you was knocked on the head by pieces of falling trim.
Needless to say, we needed more space, in a more secure location. We needed faster and better technological capabilities. With this building, we have all that and more.
We have more than tripled our operating space. We have state-of-the-art technology and secure connectivity. Members of the Jacksonville Joint Terrorism Task Force work side-by-side to share information and investigate cases together. And the agents and analysts from the Field Intelligence Group now sit in a secure space, where they can collect, analyze, and share sensitive intelligence from dozens of information systems.
Special Agent in Charge Jim Casey likes to joke that his people moved from some of the worst digs in the Bureau to some of the best. I would remind Jim that there are those who would place FBI Headquarters at the top of the “worst buildings in Washington” list. And after having toured the new space, I will say that I myself have already requested a transfer.
It is my hope that this new building will facilitate the work you all do. But the building itself is secondary to the people and the partnerships housed within. Indeed, the work you do, together, stands as testament to the power of partnership.
The working relationships among law enforcement here in North Florida are outstanding. Jim thinks it may have something to do with Southern hospitality. Although Washington is considered by some to be part of the South, I rarely sense that same sort of hospitality when I am testifying before Congress.
But even here in the “Sunshine State,” threats loom large. Today, our highest priority is preventing another terrorist attack. Yet we face a wider range of criminal threats than ever before.
The men and women of the Jacksonville office have witnessed this evolution in crime and terrorism. And they have continually met the challenges of the day, from the Nazi saboteurs who came ashore in 1942 to the spectacle of Super Bowl 39.
Yet the ability to meet these diverse threats cannot be found in the capabilities of any one agency, but rather in our ability to act as partners with a common mission. I have said it time and again: Working together is not merely our best option; it is our only option.
Together, we are dismantling violent gangs. We are putting corrupt politicians and corporate wrongdoers out of business. We are shutting down child predators, computer hackers, and spies.
These successes are a credit to all of you. They are the product of better intelligence, advanced technology, and stronger partnerships—the tools we need to be successful.
No matter what threats America has faced, the FBI has always stood at the ready. And like this building, today’s FBI is stronger, more flexible, and more modern—able to meet whatever challenges lay ahead.
It is the dedication, integrity, and hard work of our employees that make the FBI such a special place to work. And it is the dedication, integrity, and hard work of everyone here today—friends and partners alike—that make Jacksonville a safer and better place in which to live.
As we dedicate this building, we will continue to build on that foundation of dedication, integrity, and hard work. We will continue to build on our foundation of partnership here in the Jacksonville community. Only together can we build lasting security.
Thank you for having me here today.
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Executive Speeches | Press