you and good morning. It's great to be here.
I want to take a moment at the outset to thank Ambassador
Lavin for his leadership and for his strong support
of the FBI.
As all of you probably know, the Ambassador is extremely
well versed and highly engaged on law enforcement
issues. He cares deeply about the security of this
region and the safety of your businesses, and he realizes
how vital both are to the strength of Singapore's
economy. We in the FBI appreciate his focus and his
leadership, as we know you do, and we appreciate in
particular the guidance and support he provides to
the Bureau and the strong partnership he has established
with the FBI's Legal Attache office here in Singapore.
Thank you, Ambassador Lavin. And thanks also to your
Deputy Chief of Mission John Medeiros and the entire
Embassy staff for the work they do in support of the
It's great to be with all of you today. I think you
all realize the role the FBI plays in fighting crime
and protecting national security, and the relationships
we need with our various counterparts to make that
happen. What you may not realize is that we also have
a strong partnership with the American business community
-- not only back home, but overseas through Chambers
of Commerce and other organizations around the world.
We recognize, first of all, that your leadership in
creating jobs and providing meaningful work is absolutely
critical to keeping crime and terrorism at bay. We
also understand that we simply cannot do our jobs
well without your guidance, your expertise, and your
support, particularly in the more complex and challenging
arenas like cyber crime. So I am here today to thank
you and to reaffirm the FBI's commitment to working
with you and supporting you.
Today, of course, our commitment to you is in large
part measured by our commitment to preventing any
and all attacks against America, against its citizens,
against its businesses, and against its landmarks
-- not only stateside, but also here in this region
and around the world.
As you can imagine, the attacks of September 11th
have had a deep and dramatic impact on the FBI. They
have affected virtually everything we do: our allocation
of resources, our structure, our technology, our training,
our relationships. Most importantly, though, they
have resulted in a new overriding mission: to do everything
in our power to prevent another September 11th.
That mandate comes from the top -- from the President
of the United States. Every day since September 11th,
with the exception of Sundays and days like today
when I'm out of town, I have briefed the President
every morning at 8:30. I update him on the September
11th investigation and how we're responding to the
various threats we're receiving worldwide.
He doesn't ask me how many arrests we've made or how
many people we've prosecuted. What he really cares
about is this: what is the FBI doing -- along with
its partners -- to prevent potential terrorist attacks.
Those briefings -- as they should -- have made me
incredibly focused on the actions we're taking around
the world on a day-to-day basis. They are also a constant
reminder that prevention is where the energy, the
resources, and the commitment of the FBI need to be.
And in the days and weeks following September 11th,
it became clear to me that some fairly substantial
changes were needed at the FBI to fulfill our new
mission. Since then, every program, every process,
and every dollar spent have been closely scrutinized.
Many changes have already been made, and many more
We have, for starters, devoted massive new resources
to counterterrorism. At its peak, we had well over
half of our 11,000 Agents devoted to the investigation.
Over the past six months, several hundred of those
Agents have been sent overseas at various times, including
to Singapore and Malaysia. The initial shift in resources
has abated somewhat, but over the longer term, we
essentially plan to double the number of Agents we
have dedicated to investigating terrorism.
We are also moving to substantially improve our analytic
capabilities, not only by increasing the number of
analysts and their skill sets, but also by overhauling
our technology so that it better enables us to gather,
analyze, and share information. That is a critical
piece in preventing terrorist attacks in the future.
In addition, we have made major changes to our structure
at FBI Headquarters, placing an emphasis on areas
that are critical to our fight against terrorism.
That includes new high-level positions to improve
coordination with law enforcement, a new Office of
Intelligence, and a new Division devoted exclusively
to fighting cyber crime and protecting the digital
We are also changing our approach to hiring. In years
past, the FBI tended to hire generalists, talented
professionals who were good at many things but not
necessarily experts in a specific field. In recent
years, the FBI has moved to hire more specialists,
and that effort has accelerated in the wake of September
11th, responding to our increasing need for linguists,
computer scientists, and the like.
The end result of all these changes is that the FBI
is better positioned to fight crime and terrorism
around the world. At this point, we're not where we
want to be or where we need to be, but we have made
important progress and that progress will continue.
The FBI is also working hard here in Singapore and
this region to head off acts of terror. The attacks
of September 11th dealt a severe blow to America,
but the shock waves were felt around the world. I'm
sure that you felt the force of them here as well
-- on both a personal and professional level. I know
that the attacks had a deep impact on the economy
of this area, and that hurts your businesses. Then,
in December, you learned that terrorists were planning
to strike the American Embassy and other targets in
Singapore, a nation long known as a haven of stability.
We all live now with an understanding that terrorists
can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. At the same
time, as Ambassador Lavin has said, Singapore is still
a safe place to live and do business. It's as safe
now -- perhaps even safer -- than it was in December
or September. The work of the local authorities --
as I'll discuss in a moment -- is excellent. And the
FBI remains committed to supporting them in any way
we can to stop acts of terrorism.
The heart and soul of our commitment, of course, is
our FBI office, our Legal Attache. This office was
set up in the summer of 2000, and it is responsible
for covering not only Singapore but also Indonesia,
Malaysia, and Brunei. It is headed right now by an
Acting Legal Attache -- Ralph Horton -- and supported
by three other individuals, including an Agent on
loan from another FBI office.
I recognize the importance of having a permanent Legat
here, and in the near future I will appoint one. Ultimately,
I would also like to expand the number of FBI offices
in the region.
Our Agents and support staff here are making every
effort to head off potential terrorist attacks in
Singapore and around the world. They are following
up on every lead that comes their way and are leaving
no stone unturned. Since September 11th alone, they
have covered nearly 1,500 leads, most related to the
terrorist attacks. They are working hand-in-hand with
the Embassy, with Regional Security Officer Wayne
May, with our colleagues in the CIA and other U.S.
Agencies, and with law enforcement counterparts from
host governments in the region. The partnerships they
have forged are stronger than ever.
These relationships are the lifeblood of the FBI.
I am convinced that the Bureau is only so good as
its ability to form close and abiding relationships
with its many colleagues. That is especially true
overseas, where we have no jurisdiction to interview
subjects, investigate crimes, or make arrests. We
are successful internationally only to the degree
that we have the support and cooperation of host governments
and their law enforcement and security services. That's
why I felt it was so important to visit Singapore
and other nations during my trip to Southeast Asia
-- to strengthen these bonds and to acknowledge the
hard work and support of our colleagues.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our
partners in the region, particularly our counterparts
in law enforcement and national security in Singapore.
They have provided outstanding support and cooperation
to the FBI over the years, including in our ongoing
work in the USS Cole investigation. Since September
11th, the level of support has increased many times
over. They have chased down countless leads for us.
They have conducted many interviews and made the results
of the interviews available to us. They have facilitated
arrests. They have been absolute partners, and their
patience and cooperation in handling our many requests
has been remarkable.
In particular, I want to commend the Singapore authorities
for their vigilance and efficiency in rooting out
the recent terrorist threat on the island.
They did a superb job of disrupting terrorist cells
in Singapore and identifying and pursuing connections
in neighboring countries in partnership with Malaysian
and Filipino authorities. They had, of course, the
full support and cooperation of the FBI and other
US law enforcement agencies here. We're also pleased
that the Singapore government recently established
a Joint Counterterrorism Center, which is now targeting
other possible cells in the area. In short, you should
feel good about the level of security and the commitment
to counterterrorism in Singapore.
I realize that many of you have ties to Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, and other areas in the
region, and I want to assure you that our efforts
continue in those nations as well.
Since September 11th, there is growing recognition
here and around the world that no one nation can defeat
terrorism alone. Al-Qaeda, for example, is believed
to have a presence in some 60 countries worldwide.
The September 11th hijackers all came from nations
outside the US, and their attacks were the culmination
of years of effort that included training camps in
Afghanistan, sophisticated financing arrangements
in the Middle East, and a planning unit in Hamburg,
Germany. Today, threats continue to pour in from around
Simply put, it is in every nation's vested interest
to defeat terrorism, because it threatens the stability
not only of single nations but of entire regions and
our increasing interconnected global economy.
I am confident that all nations in Southeast Asia
share these views. In Indonesia, for example, President
Megawati has clearly spoken out against terrorism,
including her joint statement with President Bush
just days after September 11th. The recent visits
of senior Indonesian law enforcement representatives
to Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines are welcome
demonstrations of Indonesia's willingness to gather
information for possible action against terrorist
suspects within its borders.
Like many other nations, Indonesia has special challenges
in coping with this problem: the lack of resources,
the large population size, the thousands of islands,
and the political distractions inherent in its new
democracy. Where we can, the FBI will do its part
to help Indonesia and other nations, for example,
by providing training for law enforcement officials.
In our fight against terror, I want to point out that
we in the FBI remain committed to protecting and defending
civil rights. As Ben Franklin once said, "He
who gives up essential liberty for a little temporary
security deserves neither liberty nor security."
It's important that we all remember what we're fighting
for -- for freedom and democracy. That's what the
terrorists want to take away, and under no circumstances
should we let them succeed.
Through it all, I want to assure you that the FBI
is focused squarely on working with its many partners
in Singapore and Southeast Asia to prevent terrorist
strikes and improve law enforcement cooperation. This
region is important to us, and the success of your
businesses is important to us.
A great deal of progress has been made since September
11th, but we face a long, hard road ahead. Ultimately,
I believe we will prevail, but one thing is clear:
we can only succeed together. I appreciate your support,
and I look forward to working with you in the days,
weeks, and months to come. Thank you.