you, Chief Olson, and good morning everyone.
It's been great to spend time with all of you
here in Phoenix.
We have a lot to talk about today, and I want
to begin with a word of thanks. Thanks for your
professionalism, for your hard work, and for
everything you do to keep America safe and free.
Thanks for stepping up and doing such an outstanding
job over these past eight months, at a time
when the challenges and stresses of our profession
have never been higher. And thanks especially
for everything you're doing to build a new and
stronger relationship with the FBI.
Today, I want to talk with you about our relationship
-- about where it stands and where it's heading.
That relationship is important to everyone of
us here. And most of all, it's important to
the American people and to their ultimate safety
The partnership between the state and local
law enforcement and the FBI has been gaining
momentum for some time. For years, the FBI has
provided you with an array of law enforcement
services, from fingerprint checks to criminal
background searches. And you've supported us
with your own array of expertise. As changing
laws have made our jurisdictions increasingly
intertwined, and as crime has grown ever more
complex and sophisticated, we have been working
closer together operationally. Through a growing
number of joint task forces and shared investigative
initiatives, we have found ourselves working
shoulder-to-shoulder in more and more investigations.
To handle the increasing complexities of our
work, we have trained together more often, developing
close, personal relationships so critical to
getting things done.
Shortly after September 11th, we opened a new
chapter in our relationship. Our nation had
just experienced the worst terrorist attack
in history. We found ourselves with a new overriding
priority and a huge responsibility we knew we
could only tackle together: to head off future
terrorist attacks, to make sure that America
never wakes up to another morning like September
As a result of this new mandate, both new and
long-standing wrinkles in our relationship began
to surface. That is entirely understandable.
This is a totally new environment. The demands
on all of us have never been greater. A whole
new concept called "homeland security"
has taken shape, a campaign with many different
moving parts, with an alphabet soup of agencies
working together in an entirely new way. The
ability to gather and share intelligence has
now become one of the key weapons in our war
on terror, and it is at the top of everyone's
list of priorities to address and improve.
It was in this environment that we came together
to begin a new dialogue on our relationship.
We in the FBI sat down with Chief Olson and
your board to air out issues and concerns. We
met with many others of you as well, in meetings
in Washington, Toronto, Orlando, and other cities.
During those meetings, you made some things
perfectly clear to me and to the FBI. You told
us that our relationships at the time were generally
solid. But you also told us that there were
some specific areas that we needed to work on.
You told us that you were more than willing
-- in fact, you were totally committed -- to
helping us and the nation in the war on terror.
But you said that in many cases we simply weren't
giving you the opportunity to do so. You felt
like we weren't keeping you in the loop all
the time. You said that cooperation with local
FBI offices was fairly strong but inconsistent,
often contingent on personalities and complicated
by turnover among our executives. You told us
that we weren't sharing information and intelligence
as freely and as quickly as you needed to maximize
your effectiveness in this new environment.
Well, we heard you loud and clear. And in recent
months we have begun addressing each and every
one of the issues you raised. Today, I'm pleased
to tell you that we've made progress. Communication
and information-flow have improved. Issues have
been addressed and misconceptions cleared up.
Relationships are stronger, in many cases the
best they have ever been. And many more efforts
are underway to build on this progress.
This morning, I want to detail the recent steps
we've taken and are taking together. Then, I
want to look ahead and give you a glimpse into
how our relationship may change in the weeks
and months ahead as we in the FBI adapt to the
realities of our new prevention mandate.
As I begin to talk about these issues, let me
clarify one thing for you. We have heard that
some of you don't like the fact that we in the
FBI sometimes refer to you and your colleagues
as "the locals." You think it sounds
like we see you as almost "junior partners."
This is clearly not our intent. In fact, whether
it is this instance or any other, let me be
very clear about where you stand in relation
to the FBI. You are absolutely not -- I repeat
absolutely not -- junior partners. You are full
partners. You are equal partners. And you are
indispensable partners. That is the way we see
you and will treat you in the FBI.
At the Toronto conference last fall, I talked
about some first steps to strengthen our partnerships
in this post 9-11 world. I told you we were
expanding Joint Terrorism Task Forces to every
FBI field office, putting in place new mechanisms
to address problems and find solutions, and
issuing a call to cooperation throughout the
Those initial steps now form new foundations
in our relationship. Today, 47 of our 56 field
offices have fully funded and fully functioning
task forces. The rest are in motion, and we
expect to have them in place by year's end.
These task forces, as I said in Toronto, are
really the most valuable tool we have for keeping
you up to speed on terrorist investigations
and for folding you into the war on terror.
And clearly, they help strengthen our relationships
You have told us that the new task forces, together
with the new focus on cooperation, are making
In Kansas City, for example, our Special Agent
in Charge not only worked with you to establish
a new task force, he established a Board of
Directors for that task force made up of area
chiefs and sheriffs. They have been given security
clearances so they can receive information and
briefings and work with us to oversee the work
of the JTTF.
In our Omaha Division, which covers Nebraska
and Iowa, we actually established five new task
forces because of the size of the territory.
In Des Moines, one of your members says that
today "cooperation is two-way and at the
best level I have seen."
The new task force in Orange County, California,
is working well and working closely with the
new multi-agency California Terrorism Information
Center to improve the quality and speed of information
flow. In many of the task forces that have been
around for some time, you are also telling us
that relationships and information-sharing are
improved and often unprecedented.
One of the main benefits of these task forces
is that they help get you the clearances you
need to take advantage of our latest intelligence
and information. We are committed to getting
you these security clearances, both for the
task forces and for the overall counterterrorism
effort. Several months back, we identified about
1,000 of you and your colleagues who wanted
these clearances. So far, 419 have sent in the
paperwork, and about 160 clearances have been
granted. We're putting some additional resources
into the effort as we speak so we can speed
up the rest.
Please understand, though, that when you get
these clearances you will not suddenly be inundated
with information. Oftentimes, we don't have
the treasure trove of information you might
expect. But again, we're committed to this process
because we know it's important to you and it's
important to keeping you informed.
I also spoke with you in Toronto about efforts
to set up an advisory board of state, county,
and municipal law enforcement officials so we
could sit down and talk about issues on a regular
basis. That board has been established and a
couple of meetings have been held. We've addressed
a range of issues, particularly those related
to information-sharing, and from what I've seen,
there has been a spirit of collaboration and
cooperation throughout our discussions.
In December, we solidified this concept of communication
and cooperation within the Bureau structure.
As many of you know, we created as one of the
four major branches in the FBI a new function
called Law Enforcement Services to ensure that
you get the support you need -- whether it's
training, hi-tech criminal justice capabilities,
or laboratory services. Within that branch,
we created a new Office of Law Enforcement Coordination
specifically devoted to building relationships
with state, municipal, county, and tribal law
you know, the two executives who are leading
these efforts are here this week. Kathleen,
would you please stand? Kathleen McChesney is
our Executive Assistant Director of Law Enforcement
Services. She is a former police officer. She
has been on the front lines with you, and she
knows you and your issues well. Kathleen is
on point to make sure we support you in every
way possible. When it comes to law enforcement
relationships, I rely on her advice heavily,
as does the rest of the FBI. Kathleen, thank
Also here is our new Assistant Director of Law
Enforcement Coordination, Louis Quijas. Louis,
would you please stand? Louis, of course, also
comes from your ranks. We're confident he has
the experience, the knowledge, and the reputation
to help build strong relationships with law
enforcement. His job is to listen to you, to
talk with you, and to address your issues and
concerns in a way that benefits us all. He is
the point of contact for your organization and
for the many other associations and groups we
work with so often.
Louis not only gives you a voice in the Bureau,
he also gives you a seat at the table. He will
be there with us as we develop plans and strategies
for the war on terror and for major investigations,
helping us factor in your strengths and capabilities.
Louis doesn't actually start on the job until
May 20, so we appreciate him taking the time
to be here and to begin the dialogue. Louis,
Kathleen and Louis form a strong team for you
at FBI Headquarters. We also have dozens of
Special Agents in Charge nationwide who work
with you on a regular basis. I've made it clear
to the SACs that relationships with you must
be a priority. And they have responded. Many
of you have told me that partnerships at the
local level are stronger than ever.
In Minneapolis, for example, Chief Olson says
that our SAC is now attending the monthly meetings
of county police chiefs. The SAC briefs them
on what's happening in the Bureau and in the
terrorism arena specifically. Chief Olson says
it may seem like a small gesture, but to him,
it goes a long way towards demonstrating commitment.
In the Windy City, I understand that our SAC
is doing likewise, attending Chicago Police
Department meetings, being accessible to law
enforcement, and setting an example for our
Agents to follow.
In the Oklahoma City field office, you tell
us that the SAC and ASACs really go out of their
way to return phone calls as quickly as possible
and to provide any and all credible threat information.
These are just a few examples, and I'm pleased
we're being more responsive to you all around.
We recognize that challenges remain across the
nation, but our goal is to have success stories
in every one of your jurisdictions.
Personal relationships are a critical piece
in determining whether we are in sync in the
war against terror. A larger, more complicated
issue is information-sharing. It involves not
just a broad interplay of relationships, but
a host of legal, technology, policy, and cultural
I couldn't possibly cover every angle of the
issue for you today. But I do want to touch
on some of the high points, and I do want to
assure you that this issue definitely has our
We realize that in many respects, information-sharing
is the glue that holds together all of the government's
many homeland security efforts. The military
piece, the intelligence piece, the financial
piece, the domestic preparedness piece, and
certainly the law enforcement piece all require
a seamless, two-way flow of information. It
is fundamental to both prevention and crisis
response. It is vital to your efforts to protect
your communities. And that is why we in the
Bureau are so squarely focused on it.
During our conversations with you and with state
homeland security directors, one of the things
you said would be most useful in addressing
terrorism is general information on what to
be aware of and what to look for based on what
the FBI has learned. In response, we began a
weekly Intelligence Bulletin three months ago
that shares exactly this kind of information.
You've told us these bulletins are helpful,
and we'll continue to refine and improve them
based on your input and feedback.
At the state and local level, field offices
are responding to your needs by initiating or
participating in groundbreaking information-sharing
efforts. At the national level, of course, we
have many projects and plans underway to build
our information-sharing capabilities. Shortly
after the events of September 11th, we started
a terrorism watch list. It will soon become
a permanent program in the Bureau, providing
a single repository of information on individuals
who are wanted on criminal charges, who are
of investigative interest to us, and who are
sought by other agencies and governments. We
are creating an Office of Intelligence to help
ensure the vigorous and fluid flow of information
both inside and outside the FBI. We've been
given nearly half-a-billion dollars by Congress
to modernize our information technology, which
will dramatically improve our ability to manage
and analyze intelligence and share it government-wide.
We created a new Records Management Division,
not just to help fix what went wrong in the
Oklahoma City bombing investigation, but also
to put in place mechanisms and policies to manage
the vast amounts of information that we gather
everyday relating to terrorism.
Coordinating our overall national efforts is
an Information Sharing Task Force, led by Bob
Jordan at FBI Headquarters. One of the issues
it's working on that I know is important to
you is how we communicate threat warnings and
advisories. Let me just say, I understand your
frustration with these alerts -- with both the
content and how fast they get to you. I know
how disconcerting it is to hear threat warnings
for the first time on CNN, which many of you
have probably experienced. But I hope you realize
that some of our information-sharing systems
are just not quite up to the job yet and that
we are working hard to address the issue.
Over the past eight months, we've used a variety
of processes to pass along threat information
to you. We're working to refine those processes
and to find the best mechanism or combination
of mechanisms. We've found NLETS to be extremely
slow and cumbersome. The recent alert concerning
banks and financial institutions went over NLETS,
and I'm sure it didn't reach many of you by
the time the Attorney General made a public
announcement. On the threat involving malls
and supermarkets, we asked our Sacs to get that
information to you through JTTFs and other mechanisms.
We are looking at other ways of sharing threat
information, such as LEO and RISS Net. In the
meantime, please bear with us as we work through
this issue, because it will take some time to
get it all sorted out.
I also want you to know that you can probably
expect these terrorism warnings and alerts to
continue for some time. We continue to gather
intelligence. New prisoners and suspects are
being questioned and interviewed, and they may
shed additional light on terrorist operations.
From time to time, we may issue additional warnings
and alerts. We may not have many specifics.
But we believe they are necessary as information
to be aware of and to factor into your thinking
and planning. So we appreciate your patience
and understanding as we move through what is
really a unique and challenging period in our
These many issues that we're working on together,
from strengthening the quality of our relationships
to improving the level of information-sharing,
are beginning to make a difference. Much work
remains to be done, but I think we'd all agree
that we're heading in the right direction.
One of our challenges is that even as we build
our relationship, the FBI is undergoing a deep
and fundamental transformation that is going
to change how we work with you. Our transformation
is being driven by an increasingly volatile
and ever changing criminal landscape. You know
it well: the foreign intelligence services that
are targeting our nation's secrets and technologies;
the new "wild, wild west" of cyberspace,
where everything from petty crime to billion-dollar
attacks on our nation's infrastructure are taking
place; and our increasingly global society,
where crimes cross borders with relative ease
and where complex networks of international
drug and organized crime groups are taking hold.
On top of all this, of course, are the events
of September 11th and the unprecedented international
war on terror, as well as the growing domestic
terrorism challenges evidenced recently by anthrax
and pipe bombs in the mail.
In this environment, we in the FBI realize that
we simply can't be all things to all people.
We must narrow our focus. We will, first of
all, reorient our operations to make the prevention
of terrorist acts our top priority. It is not
a new mandate, but September 11th and its aftershocks
have clearly magnified the intensity level and
made it imperative that we redirect more resources
into counterterrorism. We will also put more
emphasis on counterintelligence, which is so
vital now to national security. Because of its
great potential for harm in our increasingly
networked world, we will focus more squarely
on cybercrime, and we have established a new
division in the FBI specifically for that purpose.
And finally, we will continue our strong commitment
to the criminal cases that we've worked on together
new focus, of course, is going to have implications
for our relationships. We've been talking about
these issues with you for some time, and we
are still putting the finishing touches on our
plans. I think you understand that we will be
working fewer investigations with you that are
not related to terrorism. We may do fewer drug
investigations, one-note bank robberies, and
We will need, and we greatly appreciate, your
understanding and support. But I want to assure
you that we are not talking about wholesale
changes. We will still join with you in protecting
your communities from violent crime and drugs.
We will still give local FBI offices a great
deal of flexibility to respond to local needs.
We will still participate in our many joint
task forces. In short, we will continue to build
on our strong, historic partnership with state
and local law enforcement.
Many of you have heard me say that the FBI is
only so good as its relationships with state
and local law enforcement. The reality is, our
work together is becoming so seamless that it's
getting harder and harder to separate our successes.
In science, there is a term for when two entities
are more powerful together than they ever could
be separately. It's called synergy. In fact,
in Greek, the word itself means "working
together." That synergy is exactly what
we're experiencing today, and it is powerful
Harry Truman put it this way. He said, "It's
amazing what you can accomplish if you do not
care who gets the credit." More and more,
when one of our joint investigations is complete,
the nation doesn't hear us say, "The FBI
did this" or "state and local law
enforcement did that." They hear us say,
"We did it together." That's because
more and more, when we work together side-by-side,
we don't see agencies or jurisdictions or even
uniforms. We see partners. We see friends. We
see people who we are willing to put our very
lives on the line to protect and defend.
So let me close as I began, with two words:
thank you. Thank you for everything you do for
America. Thank you for being such being such
true professionals. And thank you for being
our friends and partners. Thanks and God bless.