Thank you for
that introduction. It is good to be here with you today.
It has been five years since we met in Toronto, just a few short weeks after
September 11, 2001. I would like to use this anniversary as an opportunity
to evaluate our progress since then.
When we met those five years ago, you told us that you needed more direct
lines of communication, better information sharing and stronger relationships.
We have made a great deal of progress toward those shared goals, and we are
building on that progress for the future. Today, the FBI is better coordinated.
We are operating more strategically, and we are more intelligence-driven.
I want to talk to you about those developments in three specific areas:
first, our priorities and the balance between our criminal and national security
responsibilities; second, how technology is helping all of us do our jobs
better; and third, how we are working more closely together as partners and
why we need to continue to work together to succeed.
In the wake of September 11, two issues were critical to the FBI: We had
to address the threat of terrorism, and we had to grow.
To do that we established new priorities. Overnight, the prevention of another
attack became our most important mission. We doubled the number of agents
and analysts devoted to stopping the next attack, and we enhanced and reformed
our intelligence capabilities.
Since then, we have continued to improve our national security capabilities
across the board. Much of our progress has been the result of expertise gained
over the past 98 years of our existence—in the criminal arena, with
organized crime, and in counterintelligence through the development of sources
and interview and surveillance techniques. Our experience has allowed us to
build additional capabilities on an already strong foundation.
I fully understand there is concern that the FBI is moving away from its
traditional criminal responsibilities. Indeed, the reality is we are not likely
to go back to focusing primarily on drugs or bank robberies. We are currently
at a 50-50 balance between criminal and national security programs, and I
anticipate we will maintain that balance.
We remain ready and willing to help you keep our communities safe. While
Americans justifiably worry about terrorism, it is crime that most directly
touches their lives.
We have had considerable success with regard to our criminal priorities.
In public corruption, for instance, there were approximately 1,100 prosecutions
of public officials in the last two years. All of which sends the message
that public corruption will not be tolerated.
In white collar crime, we have investigated Enron...HealthSouth...WorldCom...Qwest.
Those names have been in the headlines over the past several years. Thousands
of employees lost their jobs and their life savings. We have successfully
investigated, prosecuted and put away the persons responsible for those frauds.
We know that violent crime is a growing concern. Over 16,000 men and women
were murdered in the United States last year, alone, but statistics do not
adequately tell of the devastation and the heartache that burden the victims
of violent crime and their families.
I am particularly sensitive to this given my years prosecuting homicides
in Washington, D.C. As the recent school shootings remind us, violence is
perhaps the unfairest of crimes to which the most vulnerable members of our
society often have no defense.
To address the growing problem of violence in our neighborhoods, we have
increased the number of Safe Streets task forces. We now have over 700 FBI
agents serving on those task forces, along with over 1,100 officers from state
and local law enforcement. Last year, they made nearly 5,000 arrests, resulting
in 1,500 convictions, and seized approximately $16 million in forfeited proceeds.
A large portion of that money went to state and local participating agencies—police
departments such as yours.
Together, we face significant challenges in the criminal arena. Much of
this growing violence is connected to gangs. It is a plague no longer relegated
to only our largest cities. In the past month alone, investigations into gang
activity have brought arrests in Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Richmond,
Virginia; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Currently, we have over 1,200 investigations into gangs and gang-related
activities. Last year, we established the MS-13 National Gang Task Force to
confront the migration of gang violence. Soon after that, a joint five-country
takedown led to the arrests of over 650 suspected MS-13 gang members throughout
the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Since then,
we have been working with our partners in those countries to gather identifying
data on MS-13 members, including hundreds of sets of fingerprints.
Beyond gangs, another top priority will always remain the abduction of children.
The FBI is committed to protecting our children. Last year, we established
eight regional Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams, called “CARD” teams.
They are made up of experienced agents, able to respond at a moment’s
notice. Recently, a team deployed to St. Louis, Missouri, where it helped
locate Abigail Wood, known as Baby Abby. Each of these teams can provide technological,
analytical, behavioral, and investigative resources to help bring these cases
to a speedy resolution. We must continue working together to bring each and
every missing child safely home.
As we all recognize, cyber crime is a growing threat. Today, terrorists
coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent
sexual predators prowling chat rooms. According to our Cyber Division, nearly
one-out-of-three computer users has experienced some type of negative incident.
All too often, we find that before we can catch these offenders, Internet
service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help
us identify these offenders and protect future victims. We must find a balance
between the legitimate need for privacy and law enforcement’s clear
need for access. Your resolution on records retention passed this morning
will help put us on the right path.
Let me give you one recent example that highlights the vulnerabilities of
our infrastructure in the cyber age. Some of the most secure systems throughout
the world, including hundreds of computers at university, military and government
sites within the United States suffered intrusions by an individual who called
Two years of intensive Investigative work uncovered a network of suspects
stretching from the United Kingdom to Romania. As it turns out, Rebel was
a 16-year-old living in Sweden.
Just as technology can be a tool for criminals, it is also aiding our efforts
to protect communities from crime and terrorism. Through technology, we are
building stronger connections within the law enforcement community. We continue
to provide support through a number of information-sharing efforts underway
across the country, including our fingerprint, DNA, and criminal justice databases.
As you know, IAFIS supports law enforcement agencies by providing identification
responses to electronic fingerprint submissions. Last year, IAFIS received
over 23 million fingerprint submissions, almost 65 thousand per day. We are
moving forward with the Next Generation Identification system, which will
expand on the capabilities of IAFIS to include additional biometrics such
as palm prints, tattoos, and scars, along with facial recognition. CODIS continues
to refine its ability to gather evidence from tiny bits of DNA. So often,
the evidence that is invisible to the eye is that which cracks the case.
Twenty-seven years ago, after a single mother of two went missing in California,
her body was found raped, stabbed and dumped along the side of a road. No
suspect was identified, and the case went cold. Four years ago, DNA from the
victim’s clothing was entered into CODIS. Just last month, we had a
hit on a convicted offender. Hours before his scheduled release, the man was
identified and charged. As the woman’s grown daughter said, “this...puts
a face on this evil person who’s been out there...all these years.” Today,
that man is safely behind bars, and CODIS is moving ahead to upgrade its ability
to solve crimes and identify missing persons well into the future.
In August of 2005, you provided a position paper on ways to enhance information
sharing, and specifically, the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange—known
as N-DEx. As it grows, this system will meet the challenges you laid out in
order to be our collective system, benefitting the entire law enforcement
Just as IAFIS brought together disparate fingerprint systems into a common
system, N-DEx will do the same for crime report data gathered by federal,
state, and local agencies. It will correlate data from major FBI databases,
such as NCIC, into a national system that will allow us to perform nationwide
inquiries in a matter of seconds. N-DEx will allow officers in different cities
to collaborate and pursue joint investigations through “virtual task
forces” and “on-line investigative teams.”
Technology is helping us to do our jobs better, but the single most important
improvement we have made is to build stronger domestic and international partnerships.
Working together with our counterparts around the world we have made it more
difficult for terrorists to operate by removing the sanctuary of Afghanistan
and stemming the flow of terrorist funding. Unfortunately, terrorists have
adapted to this new environment and continue to plan deadly attacks. Given
the state of terrorism today, we can only achieve success through improved
cooperation among the law enforcement and intelligence communities.
We are more frequently working on task forces. At the state and local level,
we have increased the number of existing Joint Terrorism task forces to more
than 100 throughout the country. Here, more than 3,200 federal, state and
local officers meet, share information and conduct investigations. In the
past year alone, JTTFs have stopped five terrorist plots in the United States.
Increasingly, we have seen homegrown terrorist cells springing up in communities
such as Torrance, California; Toledo, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia. We could
not have been successful in any of these investigations without the close
assistance of our state and local partners.
In many terrorism cases, it is human intelligence that uncovers the plot.
And it is police officers who have an ear to the ground. In the FBI, we have
only 12,000 agents compared with nearly 800,000 law enforcement officers nationwide.
You know your neighborhoods and your communities, and you are usually the
first to notice if something is not right.
After all, it was keen observation that caused Nevada Highway Patrol Officer
Eddie Dutchover to make a traffic stop, after he noticed the car had a paper
tag. As he spoke to the driver, he observed a man in the backseat looking
extremely nervous. His vigilance led to the arrest of Top Ten fugitive Warren
That is the same excellent police work that will catch the next terrorist
before an attack occurs. Indeed, our best opportunity for preventing terrorist
attacks is our ability to combine intelligence gathered through criminal and
national security investigations.
Our efforts are aided at the national level by “fusion centers,” such
as the Terrorist Screening Center. This is where traditional FBI Criminal
Justice Information Services are leveraged to provide real-time, actionable
intelligence to state and local law enforcement.
A police officer making a routine traffic stop becomes suspicious. That
officer can get a response from NCIC in three to five seconds to determine
whether the person stopped is a terrorist threat. The officer may be instructed
to call the Terrorist Screening Center to obtain the latest terrorist information,
if any exists, pertaining to that individual. Over the past year, the Terrorist
Screening Center has handled nearly 30,000 such encounters.
As we work together more closely, three pillars of partnership support our
growing cooperation. They are the National Academy, NEI and LEEDs. Through
these training programs, we are building relationships, and we are building
a stronger foundation for global law enforcement—a foundation based
on communication, cooperation, and commitment.
Above all else, it is our partnership that has helped make this country
more secure. I have enjoyed working with Mary Ann over the past year, and
I look forward to working with Joe over the year to come.
Over the years, your participation in the Law Enforcement Advisory Group
and the Police Executive Fellows program has provided the state and local
perspective in some of our most sensitive operations. Your input has helped
us to create stronger programs, from the National Security Branch to the National
Through information sharing and cooperation, we have built stronger relationships
at all levels. These alliances have strengthened our network in the fight
against both crime and terrorism.
Given the threats we face today, the FBI must serve this dual role. Because
while every criminal is not a terrorist, every terrorist is a criminal. We
have seen a group in North Carolina that smuggled cigarettes and used the
profits to fund Hezbollah in Lebanon. Members of the Torrance terrorist cell
robbed gas stations to raise money for training and weapons. Even the growing
crime of identity theft is now linked to terrorism.
Threats to the United States are not only found inside the United States.
Increasingly, we find ourselves participating in cases that have an international
component. Better relationships not only give us early warnings, they allow
us to coordinate better in the prevention of attacks.
Today, our network is stronger, and it has been the significant investment
of you, our partners, that has made that possible. We, in the FBI, have had
to prioritize our mission, and we will continue to prioritize in response
to changing threats.
Given the nexus between crime and terrorism, our success in defeating both
crime and terrorism depends upon cooperation. Stronger alliances mean that
we are better positioned to prevent terrorist attacks. Yet, we must remain
vigilant because our enemies have shown a remarkable ability to adapt and
to improvise. We must be just as adaptable, just as flexible. And even then,
given the freedoms we enjoy, it is not possible to make our country entirely
I wish I could assure you that there would never be another terrorist attack
on America, but I cannot. The world remains a perilous place. And let us not
forget that what you do each day is still exceptionally dangerous. Too many
law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year. Our thoughts
and prayers are with Officer Michael Briggs of Manchester, New Hampshire,
for the injuries he sustained yesterday.
I do know that if we continue to rely on each other—as partners, as
colleagues, as friends—we will be safer. Thank you for helping us to
ensure that, in this great nation, crime does not pay, corruption does not
prosper and fear does not prevail.
Five years ago, after September 11, we talked about the unity that emerged
among law enforcement around the country as we coordinated our response to
the terrorist attacks on America. Given where we are today, I believe that
unity has withstood the test of time.
Today, crime and terrorism know no boundaries. Yet, the FBI is part of a
worldwide network of professionals dedicated to protecting our security. In
the end, however, our success will not be owed solely to cooperation or technology
or to any one tool in our arsenal.
Our success will be due to the indomitable quality of the human spirit,
in which a sense of justice tells us right from wrong, a strength of purpose
guides our mission and a steady resolve holds us to our course.
And so it is with this enduring spirit that we move forward, together. Thank
you, and God bless you.