Major Executive Speeches

Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, FBI
Observance of the Anniversary of September 11th
September 11, 2003

Good morning. It has been two years since terrorists attacked America. On that day, in the course of a few minutes, this country and the world were forever changed. It is still very difficult to look back to that tragic chain of events without a deep sense of tremendous loss...loss of life...loss of peace...loss of security.

But in coming together to mark this anniversary, there is something to be gained by acknowledging our loss. And I believe that by drawing upon our strengths as an organization, we can move forward with a renewed commitment.

As we remember the men and women who gave their lives on 9/11
-- particularly two of our own, Special Agent Lenny Hatton and former SAC John O'Neill -- we honor their sacrifice and their devotion to duty.

We still cannot help but be awed by their heroic actions following the attacks. Remembering these individuals and their sacrifices, we are reminded how important it is to cherish our lives, our friends and our families.

It also serves to clarify our purpose. Here in the FBI, our mission is to protect Americans from all those who threaten our safety -- whether that threat comes from terrorists, violent criminals, foreign intelligence operatives, or others seeking to destroy our way of life.

We have made great progress in the war on terror, but the world is still a very dangerous place. We must remain vigilant to the dangers which exist -- even as they continue to evolve.

And as the threats change, so must we. And we have changed. Looking back, it is hard to believe how much this organization has transformed itself in a relatively short period of time. I know, because I see it every day.

But some things remain the same. The individuals who lost their lives on 9/11 remain in our hearts. We are committed to tracking down the terrorists who helped carry out those attacks, and we will continue to pursue them until they are brought to justice.

This anniversary offers us a chance to evaluate how far we have come and to rededicate ourselves to our mission so that such attacks will never happen again on U.S. soil.

And, finally, it gives me the opportunity to recognize the contribution of each of you. No matter what your job is here, you are performing an important public service. The work you do makes an important contribution to the overall success of the FBI's mission to protect the American people. For your hard work and dedication, I, and the entire country, are deeply grateful.
Thank you.