Remarks as Delivered by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at the FBI's Centennial Anniversary

WASHINGTON , July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following are remarks as delivered by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at the FBI's centennial anniversary: Good morning. Director Mueller, thank you for that kind introduction. More...

WASHINGTON , July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following are remarks as delivered by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at the FBI's centennial anniversary:

Good morning. Director Mueller, thank you for that kind introduction. More important, thank you for your long and distinguished career of service to our Nation. When you were sworn in as the sixth Director of the FBI on September 4, 2001 , no one could have imagined the challenges that you would face beginning just one week later. You have faced and responded to those challenges with characteristic fortitude, intelligence, and skill, and I feel privileged to serve with you.

Bob follows in a long line of distinguished FBI directors. And we are honored to have three of them with us today - William Webster ... William Sessions ... and my good friend and former colleague, Louis Freeh - as well as our many other distinguished guests and friends.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the FBI. As we celebrate this milestone, we pay tribute to the FBI's storied history. We honor the way this agency has transformed itself to meet the dangers of a new era. And on behalf of a grateful Nation, we honor and thank all the fine men and women who have ever carried the badge - especially those who paid with their lives to serve our country and keep us safe. It is truly a privilege to be a part of this ceremony.

I am especially honored to be addressing you today because the President has asked me to deliver these remarks to you on his behalf. The President intended and wanted to be here to speak with you in person, but today he is paying his respects to his former Press Secretary, Tony Snow , who was taken from us far too soon. Please know, however, that the President has you in his thoughts and that he is with us today in spirit.

As we all know, Washington is a town full of confusing acronyms. But there has never been any doubt about the meaning or significance of one of them - the F-B-I. You and your cases have become the stuff of Hollywood legend. You have inspired generations of children who have grown up dreaming of joining your ranks. You have brought peace of mind to law-abiding citizens. And to criminals everywhere, you have brought something else - the swift hand of justice.

As you may have heard, however, the FBI rose from fairly humble origins. It is hard to imagine today, but at the beginning of the 20th century, the Justice Department had no law enforcement agents of its own to investigate crime; instead, the Department was forced to rely on Treasury Department agents for help. In 1908, Congress passed a law ending this practice, and the Bureau of Investigation, as it was then called, was created.

The Bureau had 34 agents at its beginning. Expectations, at the time, were correspondingly low. In his annual report to Congress six months after the creation of the Bureau, one of my predecessors, Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte , made brief reference to the creation of a small force of special agents, and added, these are his words: "the consequences of the innovation have been, on the whole, moderately satisfactory."

One hundred years after that somewhat tepid endorsement, I am happy to report that the FBI's current contribution to the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crime has gone from moderately satisfactory to absolutely extraordinary. Over the past century, the FBI has grown into one of the world's most admired law enforcement agencies. From just 34, your ranks have swelled to more than 30,000 agents, analysts, and professional staff. Your offices have expanded from a single bureau in Washington to a network of offices spanning the Nation and the globe. And your investigations have pushed the frontiers of law enforcement and forensic science - taking us from the age of fingerprints to the age of DNA. Simply put, you are regarded, justly regarded, as the gold standard in law enforcement circles everywhere.

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