you President Medawar for that introduction. Thank
you Chairman McNulty for having me. It is a pleasure
to be in Los Angeles today. It is my second time
here since I became Director of the FBI, and it
is great to be back in this fine city. I would also
like to introduce Richard Garcia to those of you
who may not already know him. Rich is Assistant
Director in Charge of the Los Angeles office.
Today, I want to talk to you about an issue which
has recently been the subject of great national
debate. That subject is intelligence.
Intelligence information has been vital to our nation
from the beginning. You may not realize that George
Washington, the father of our country, was also
the father of intelligence gathering efforts in
the United States. At FBI Headquarters, there hangs
a letter written by General Washington to one of
his fellow revolutionaries in 1779. In the letter,
Washington offers advice regarding an individual
who is gathering and transmitting intelligence.
He writes, “It is not my opinion that Cupler
[Junior] should be advised to give up his present
employment. I would imagine that with a little industry
he will be able to carry on his intelligence with
greater security to himself, and greater advantages
to us – under cover of his usual business.”
In short, Washington is advising the young man to
keep his day job and go undercover. Washington and
the other founding fathers knew the importance of
intelligence, and they were adept at using it. Their
intelligence capabilities helped us win the Revolutionary
Although intelligence has been crucial throughout
history, there are many misconceptions and, ironically,
a lack of information about it. It is ironic because
intelligence is just that – information. Or
as we define it: vital information about those who
would do us harm.
While the need for intelligence has not changed
over the years, the threats facing our country have
changed. The United States Intelligence Community
as we know it today was developed in response to
the Cold War. It was a different time with a very
Working against the Russian spy was a long-term
effort, requiring patience. Later, we used the same
methods effectively against traditional organized
criminal groups in the United States. Now, the Soviet
Union no longer exists, and the traditional organized
crime families are greatly diminished.
Today, our adversaries are nation states, militaries,
and international terrorist and criminal organizations.
They are dedicated to stealing our secrets or destroying
our way of life. Confronting these new threats,
patience is no longer a virtue because we do not
have the luxury of time.
One of the key lessons of September 11th is that
threats to our nation can come from anywhere at
anytime. Our adversaries do not respect organizational
boundaries or international borders. They are networked
together by modern information technology that has
made the world smaller than ever before. Today,
criminal activity crosses international boundaries
in the stroke of a computer key.
Crime is more diverse than ever before. It ranges
from international terrorism to Internet transmission
of child pornography, from lone shooters to large
gangs, from stealing state secrets to stealing corporate
research, from the trafficking of illegal weapons
to the trafficking of human beings.
Often there is a nexus between criminal activity
and terrorism. We see organized crime laundering
money for drug groups. Drug groups selling weapons
to terrorists. Terrorists committing white-collar
fraud to raise money for their operations.
Let me give you an example of this type of connection.
Believe it or not, the organized theft of infant
formula is a growing national problem. Bands of
thieves steal formula from retail outlets. They
then sell the stolen formula to companies that repackage
and resell it to other wholesalers, or to individual
stores that pay a higher price. These tend to be
inner city stores that capitalize by selling it
to recipients of coupons provided by the federal
government. In a number of our cases, the subjects
of these investigations are suspected of providing
financial support to terrorist organizations, such
as Hamas and Hezbollah. As you can see, frequently
these investigations are not just criminal, but
are also counterterrorism investigations.
Confronting these diverse and symbiotic threats
is not easy. It means intelligence is now more important
than ever. One good piece of intelligence information
can give us the early warning we need to stop a
stealthy, speedy, and deadly enemy.
To uphold our long tradition of protecting America,
the FBI must be an intelligence-driven, highly trained,
electronically sophisticated, and internationally
networked organization. Intelligence must be woven
across all FBI programs because cases that appear
unrelated may share common links.
To stay ahead of criminals and terrorists, we must
out-maneuver them in multiple places at the same
time. It takes a network to defeat a network.
So how do we use the intelligence we have to carry
out our mission of protecting America? How do we
strengthen our network?
Intelligence information arrives in a river of unrelated,
often indecipherable, data. It may be fragments
of phone conversations, scraps of paper, e-mails,
random sightings, or rumors. This information must
be sorted and analyzed to determine what is factual,
meaningful, relevant, and, most importantly, threatening.
This is no small task, but it is the challenge we
face today: transforming bits and pieces of that
information into intelligence that can be acted
upon in compressed time frames and disseminated
to the people who need it.
Our job is to provide information to decision makers,
both inside and outside the FBI, so they are prepared
for any situation. The value of that information
is determined by whether it helps them make better
decisions. The desire to protect the nation and
better serve decision makers – from the president
to the patrolman – fuels our commitment to
strengthening our intelligence capabilities.
To understand how we have changed, it first helps
to understand a little about what is called the
“intelligence cycle.” This is a continuing
analytic methodology that drives the FBI’s
investigative mission. In simplest terms, the cycle
has four parts:
requirements management – identifying what
we don’t know;
2) collection – gathering information on what
we don’t know;
3) production – answering the questions; and
4) dissemination – getting the answers out
to the right people, whether it be the President
of the United States or the patrolman on the street.
Although the FBI has long experience in collecting
information, we needed to be better able to analyze
and share that information.
There are three ways in which the FBI is doing just
that – we are reshaping our operations, we
are enhancing our workforce, and we are strengthening
First, reshaping our intelligence operations. We
established one comprehensive program with oversight
over all FBI intelligence. Now, we are moving to
expand that effort to better coordinate and share
our intelligence resources and more easily adapt
to fast-moving global threats.
Our ability to preempt another 9/11 or Oklahoma
City bombing will depend on our ability to predict
an attack. To increase the scope of our intelligence
capabilities, we have created Field Intelligence
Groups. They are in every FBI field office nationwide.
They are made up of agents and analysts with a single
intelligence mission. Through them, every field
office can more effectively carry out each step
of the intelligence cycle.
Indeed, here in Los Angeles, the Field Intelligence
Group consists of 20 agents and 20 officers, managed
jointly by the FBI and the Orange County Sheriff’s
Department. They are working to expand their efforts
and form a regional center that would provide 24/7
operations. The success of these Field Intelligence
Groups is key to our future intelligence capabilities.
Second, aside from reshaping our operations, we
are enhancing our workforce. Organizational changes
are important, but the heart and soul of any organization
is its people. We are improving our intelligence
capabilities by establishing a cadre of intelligence
We have a vigorous recruitment plan, as well as
a new automated system to speed the application
process. To date, more than 57,000 applications
have been received for the position of intelligence
analyst at the FBI.
Aside from intelligence analysts, we need agents,
surveillance specialists, linguists, and others
who understand many cultures in countries around
the world. We have hired more than 700 linguists
since September 11th, but we need more. We need
those who speak not only Arabic and Farsi, but also
Pashto and Urdu, Malay and Mandarin, as well as
many other languages.
Many different skills are needed to establish a
first rate intelligence workforce, but to hone these
skills, training is critical. We have created courses
to better train our personnel. Every new intelligence
analyst attends our FBI College of Analytic Studies
– where a seven-week course teaches them essential
knowledge and skills. Furthermore, all new agents
receive intelligence instruction, and we are establishing
career tracks for agents who wish to specialize
in intelligence. We want intelligence to be as routine
to every FBI agent as his or her gun and credentials.
Third, in addition to building our workforce, we
are building stronger partnerships. We have enhanced
our partnerships and information sharing at all
levels – local, state, federal, and international.
At the state and local level, our Joint Terrorism
Task Forces are on the front lines of the war against
terrorism. They are the action arm, working side-by-side
with our intelligence and law enforcement partners
to address the terrorist threat throughout the country.
They track down each and every counterterrorism
lead, no matter how insignificant it may seem. In
the last three years, we have increased the JTTFs
from 35 to 100. They are the eyes and ears of communities
around the country.
It was the JTTFs which helped foil the Millennium
plot here at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Since September 11th, the JTTFs have conducted investigations
into Al-Qaeda cells from Lackawanna, New York, to
In addition to better cooperation at the state and
local level, we are also working more closely with
our partners at the national level. To ensure we
all have access to the same information, we have
created a number of “fusion centers.”
One example is the Terrorist Threat Integration
Center. Here, federal agencies work side-by-side
analyzing terrorist threat information. This is
the place where we “connect the dots.”
Think of it as our camera aimed at the universe
of threats against America, able to give us a snapshot
of the threat at any given time.
Once the dots are connected, making information
available – or dissemination – is critical.
Due to legal barriers and operational concerns,
we and other agencies tended to be protective of
our information prior to September 11. Thanks to
the Patriot Act, today, we freely exchange our information.
The Terrorist Screening Center is another place,
in which multiple agencies bring together disparate
“watchlist” information for the purpose
of identifying potential terrorists to prevent future
terrorist attacks. Think of this as the “Who’s
Who” of terrorists.
These are just a few of the ways we are reshaping
our operations, enhancing our workforce, and strengthening
our partnerships. The question is, what do these
changes mean for each of you?
It means that we are using these new found intelligence
capabilities across all of our programs. For example,
shared intelligence information is helping us crack
down on the more than 20,000 gangs active in the
United States. Here in the Los Angeles metro area
alone, there are 110,000 documented gang members.
To track their activities, we use an array of investigative
techniques, including surveillance, wiretaps, and
undercover operations. We gather and analyze intelligence
from as many sources as we can, including informants
and, sometimes, the gangs’ own websites.
Intelligence not only helps us at home, but also
around the world. Let me give you one example of
how intelligence allows us to attack problems internationally.
We have a unique program dedicated to recovering
stolen art and cultural artifacts. Due to their
high value, art and cultural property are often
associated with other criminal activities such as
extortion, fraud, money laundering, and, in some
cases, illegal drug trade. According to the United
Kingdom’s National Criminal Intelligence Service
2003 threat assessment, there is a link between
the removal and transport of cultural objects and
the funding of terrorism.
Our specialized FBI investigators work with law
enforcement agencies throughout the world. We had
one case in Spain, in which $50 million worth of
artwork was stolen from a home. Our New York Division
worked with our Madrid office and the Spanish National
Police. A bit of intelligence – a tip from
an informant – helped uncover a link to three
members of a Spanish criminal enterprise engaged
in narcotics trafficking, homicide, armed robbery,
and other crimes. They met an undercover FBI agent
in a Madrid hotel room, where they agreed to sell
one of the stolen paintings for approximately one
million dollars. The three suspects were arrested,
and search warrants resulted in the recovery of
the rest of the stolen artwork.
In recent years, FBI art theft investigations have
resulted in over $100 million in cultural property
recoveries. And I believe George Washington would
appreciate the fact that in one of those cases investigators
recovered one of 14 original copies of the Bill
of Rights. Here in Los Angeles, FBI agents and U.S.
marshals recently seized a $10 million Picasso that
was stolen by Nazis during World War II and is now
at the center of a well known legal battle.
Just as intelligence helps us solve international
criminal cases, it has been invaluable in the fight
against terrorism. Without discussing sources and
methods, let me say that we are using intelligence
each and every day in the war against terror, and
we are seeing results.
Since September 11, working with our partners, we
have disrupted and dismantled terrorist operations
from coast to coast. We have brought criminal charges
against over 300 individuals, securing nearly 200
convictions. We have launched over 60 investigations
into terrorist financing. And we have captured or
killed much of Al Qaeda’s top leadership.
Despite our progress, the war is not over, and terrorists
still seek to do us harm. As we move forward, some
have asked what makes the FBI the right agency to
gather domestic intelligence? There are two reasons:
one is that we have extensive experience sorting
out the facts; and two, we have a longstanding obligation
to protect civil liberties.
The FBI has always used intelligence as a tool in
its mission to protect America. It is how we fought
Nazi spies during World War II, Soviet espionage
during the Cold War, and La Cosa Nostra in the seventies
We bring hard won experience to the development
of intelligence and the analysis of that information.
Our historical need for evidence and witnesses to
withstand the scrutiny of court review means the
FBI brings judgment and rigor to source development
and analytic work that is exceptional.
We are fortunate to live in the information age.
But today, most people feel they have too much information,
too many choices. The answer to strengthening America’s
intelligence capabilities does not lie in more information,
but in better information – more accurate
facts. It is by establishing the factual basis of
leads that we can aim our finite resources where
they will be most effective. And it is in this area
of culling the facts from the flood of information
we receive that the FBI brings a special discipline
to performing our intelligence responsibilities.
Perhaps most importantly, we conduct our operations
while protecting the civil liberties of all Americans.
We have decades of experience with the judgment
calls necessary to operate within the limits of
the Constitution, and it is our duty to do so.
We thoroughly train our special agents so they fully
understand their obligation to respect the rights
and dignity of those we serve. In addition to extensive
instruction on Constitutional law, criminal procedure,
and sensitivity to other cultures, new FBI agents
visit the Holocaust museum to see for themselves
what can happen when law enforcement becomes a tool
The men and women who serve in the FBI are dedicated
to upholding and protecting the law. We are also
resolute in pursuing investigations, and we will
use every tool that Congress has provided to protect
We live in dangerous times, but we are not the first
generation of Americans to face threats to our security.
Like those before us, we will be judged by future
generations on how we protect freedom.
The primary reason for gathering intelligence is
to ensure your safety. By improving the FBI’s
intelligence capabilities, we can increase the most
important aspect of terrorist intelligence information
– its predictive value. In seeking intelligence
information to prevent future terrorist attacks
and criminal activity, we in the FBI, will live
up to our obligation to protect the citizens of
the United States as well as their rights under
Despite its elevated visibility, intelligence is
nothing new. Around 1606, Shakespeare wrote his
great tragedy MacBeth. Early in the play, three
witches prophesy to MacBeth that he will become
king. He questions their prediction. “From
whence you owe this strange intelligence?”
he asks. He wants to know if the information is
good and whether he can believe it.
Some 400 years later, we in the FBI ask ourselves
the same questions. And every day, we are working
to make sure the answers we provide will help make
Los Angeles, America, and the world a safer place
in which to live.
Thank you for having me, and God bless you.