you, Chief Estey and Attorney General Gonzales.
It is great to see so many familiar faces and so
many new ones as well.
Across the street from FBI Headquarters back in
Washington, the original U.S. Constitution is displayed
at the National Archives. That document stands as
an ever present reminder to the FBI of our mission—to
protect our fellow citizens and preserve freedom.
Founding Father James Madison once remarked that
the Constitution "ought to be regarded as the
work of many heads and many hands." The same
could be said of our mission—and by that I
mean all law enforcement officers, regardless of
what country we come from. In today's world, accomplishing
our common mission will not be the work of a single
agency or department or nation, but will require
"the work of many heads and many hands."
The FBI and the IACP share a long and rich history—a
history that has prepared us to meet the challenges
of the future together. Today, I want to talk to
you first about those challenges and then about
how we are working together more effectively and
how this collaboration has joined progress with
* * *
1. Current Challenges and Future Threats
Last month, I met with Chief Estey and members of
the FBI Law Enforcement Advisory Group to discuss
where law enforcement should be in 2010. We discussed
the threats we face—both now and in the future—
and how to confront those threats more effectively.
As always, your recommendations were invaluable.
I believe all of us came away with a better understanding
of what we are up against—and what we must
do in order to prevail.
The threats of this century loom larger than the
threats of the last century. When the FBI's "War
on Crime" began in earnest in the early 1930s,
law enforcement was mainly fighting gangsters, bank
robbers, and kidnappers. Criminal investigations
then were much more straightforward. The nature
and identities of our adversaries were more obvious,
the threats they posed less diverse.
But as technology evolves and the world continues
to shrink, criminal activity has become increasingly
complex. Our jobs have become more difficult and
Today, we see more than just common criminals. We
face sophisticated spies, high tech hackers, and
ruthless terrorists. We confront the corruption
of large corporations, the spread of violent gangs,
and the burgeoning of international crime rings.
And the threat landscape is increasingly asymmetrical.
Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Suicide
bombings. Espionage. Cyber crime. To further complicate
matters, there are an infinite number of soft targets,
from ports to power plants, and from subways to
Today, our enemies may be based anywhere in the
world, or on the World Wide Web. They need not even
physically cross international lines. With just
an internet connection or a cell phone, an organized
crime enterprise in Budapest can wire money to conspirators
in Boston. A lone computer programmer in the Philippines
can launch a cyber attack that cripples information
networks worldwide, as we saw several years ago
with the infamous “Love Bug” virus.
Advances in technology allow our adversaries to
carry out criminal acts with lightening speed. Always,
we are working against the clock to prevent crime
and terrorism. And if our enemies succeed, as they
sometimes have, it means we must shift into an even
higher gear, as we put the puzzle together, prevent
another attack, and bring those responsible to justice.
As the world grows more interconnected and more
dangerous, how do we respond effectively? How do
we combat the criminals and terrorists who are operating
without borders or boundaries? How do we anticipate
and stay ahead of changing threats?
Now more than ever, the answer is partnerships.
Partnerships at every level—local, state,
federal, and international. Today these partnerships
have never been stronger.
Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces are more effective
than ever. Thousands of state and local officers—including
many from your departments—are working on
103 JTTFs nationwide.
Last week, a State Trooper assigned to a JTTF sent
an e‑mail to his fellow task force officers
just before leaving for a year-long deployment to
Iraq. I want to share part of it with you. This
"Upon hearing that I was being assigned to
the JTTF and that I would be required to work at
the FBI office, I was apprehensive at first…but
I can honestly say that…this has been my
most...rewarding assignment. I believe in the JTTF
and I know that it works. I…hope that after
my year [in Iraq], I will be assigned back to the
JTTF and that I will be able to continue serving
with such great people."
Many of you may have felt a similar apprehension
at first. But thanks to your willingness to work
side‑by‑side on JTTFs, our partnerships
are stronger, and America is safer.
On the criminal side, our joint efforts are curbing
gang activity. As you well know, gangs are no longer
limited to big cities like New York or Los Angeles—they
have spread throughout communities nationwide. And
they are not limited to petty crime—they are
linked to drug trafficking, organized crime, and
violent crime. As gang members grow more technologically
proficient, more difficult to identify, and more
violent, we are growing more effective at combating
Over 1,000 state and local officers investigate
gang activity on 125 Violent Gang Safe Streets Task
Forces nationwide. In the past year, we have added
20 new Task Forces, including two here in Florida.
In December, we established a National Gang Task
Force aimed solely at targeting MS 13 gangs.
And to better coordinate our efforts, together we
are in the process of establishing a National Gang
Intelligence Center. This Center will be an electronic
clearinghouse for gang intelligence. Right now,
you can access the Center through your LEO accounts.
When complete, the Center will enable police officers
tackling 18th Street gangs in California to share
information with officers working 18th Street gangs
in New York. It will allow us to identify links
between gangs and investigations and to understand
the full scope of their criminal activity from a
But our partnerships are not limited to the United
States. We are working with our international counterparts
more closely than ever before. The FBI now has 52
Legal Attaché offices in countries across
the world, with more on the way. We are coordinating
investigations with police officers from Iraq to
Italy and from Indonesia to England. And we are
also helping to train law enforcement counterparts
across the world. Many of you attended the National
Academy. We offer similar training to our Central
European partners at the International Law Enforcement
Academy in Budapest, which just celebrated its 10
As our partnerships expand, technology plays a critical
role in supporting our joint efforts. We are working
hard to improve our technology, both internally
and externally, so that we can give you the support
you need. Let me give you just a few highlights:
LEO just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Ten years
ago, LEO had only 20 members. Today LEO serves over
46,000 members, and more than 1,200 new users join
In another milestone, our Fingerprint System—IAFIS—processed
its 100 millionth print this past May.
And the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, has
aided over 26,000 investigations nationwide—some
of them many years old.
2. Success Stories Arising From Partnerships —
The Credit Belongs to You
Every year, I look forward to coming here and updating
you on what the FBI is doing to help law enforcement.
But instead, today I want to use my time to thank
you for what you are doing for us.
All of the partnerships I just mentioned have resulted
in real success stories—and you deserve the
credit for that success. Let me give you just a
Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces are combating terrorism
across the country, from New York to North Carolina
and from Ohio to Oregon. Because they have been
so effective at behind‑the‑scenes prevention,
the JTTFs have countless success stories that never
But one case did make headlines. Thanks to the work
of the Long Beach JTTF and hundreds of other state
and local officers, four men were indicted last
month in California, charged with plotting to attack
U.S. military facilities, Israeli government facilities,
and Jewish synagogues in the Los Angeles area.
This was no theoretical attack—it was a cell
of “home grown” terrorists who had passed
the planning stages and were entering the execution
In this case, an inmate serving time in a California
State Prison founded a radical Islamic organization
and recruited fellow inmates and individuals outside
prison to join his mission: to kill those whom he
regarded as “infidels.”
He directed the other individuals from his prison
cell. They conducted research and surveillance of
specific targets, purchased weapons, and underwent
firearms and physical training.
When officers from the Torrance Police Department
arrested two of the suspects for bank robbery, they
followed up by searching their apartments. There,
they discovered evidence suggesting the suspects
were planning a terrorist attack. They passed it
on to the JTTF. The JTTF then worked side-by-side
with federal, state, and local police at a 24-hour-a-day,
7-day-a-week command center. Together, they mounted
an enormous investigation that directly led to the
dismantling of a terror cell and the saving of countless
Your efforts have been just as critical in battling
gangs. A little over a year ago, Eber Anibal Rivera
Paz, aka "Culiche"—a reputed leader
of MS‑13—escaped from prison in Honduras,
where he was being held on weapons and drug trafficking
charges. Four months later, a bus full of holiday
shoppers in Honduras was attacked by gunmen who
left 28 people dead, including six children. Honduran
authorities suspected Rivera Paz of masterminding
Rivera Paz escaped to the United States.
Last February, a vigilant Texas Department of Public
Safety trooper and a Brooks County Deputy Sheriff
stopped several cars they suspected might be transporting
illegal aliens. They discovered Rivera Paz hiding
in one of the trunks and arrested him. He provided
them with a false name.
By this time, Border Patrol agents had alerted officials
in Texas that Rivera Paz might be heading north.
An alert Lieutenant at the East Hidalgo Detention
Center, where Rivera Paz was being held, suspected
he might be part of MS‑13 and notified the
FBI and Border Patrol. They identified him as the
fugitive gang leader.
I'm sure that these officers thought they were just
doing their jobs. But thanks to their vigilance,
this dangerous gang leader is currently serving
time in the United States, after which he will be
deported to face charges in Honduras.
Aside from cracking down on gangs, your partnerships
in the cyber arena have also been invaluable. Many
of your officers work on our Regional Computer Forensics
Labs. In one recent case involving an RCFL, Missouri
Highway Patrol Corporal Jeff Owen provided key digital
evidence that helped identify the suspected murderer
of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, of Skidmore, Missouri. Stinnett,
who was eight months pregnant when she was killed,
was found strangled in her home, with her baby taken
from her womb.
Working with the St. Joseph Police Department in
Missouri, Corporal Owen examined the victim's computer
and traced a suspicious message back to the address
from which it had been sent. The FBI set up surveillance
at that address and within 24 hours arrested the
suspect when she arrived at her home in Kansas,
with Bobbie Jo Stinnett's baby daughter in her arms.
These successes are a result of our partnerships.
Whether we are FBI Agents in New York City or sheriffs
in Nebraska, we are all facing the same threats.
Our danger is your danger. Our resources are your
resources. And our success is your success.
* * *
Together, we stand on a border—a border between
freedom and tyranny, order and chaos, civilization
and lawlessness. We know that our freedom is not
assured. We must cherish it. We must defend it.
The threats continue to change, but we have made
tangible progress—every day that we work together,
we make our world safer.
This is not the work of the FBI alone, or any one
police department, or agency, or even nation. To
go back to where I began, this, too, "ought
to be regarded as the work of many heads and many
President Lincoln once wrote to one of his generals:
"Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless
vigilance, go forward and give us victories."
We in the FBI are grateful for your patriotism and
your partnership. And I am confident that if we
go forward together, with energy and with vigilance,
we too shall be the victors.
Thank you and God bless.