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...


We are safer today because the FBI has turned its focus from investigating terrorist attacks to preventing them. Before 9/11, America treated terrorism primarily as a criminal matter. When terrorists launched attacks on targets like the World Trade Center, the Khobar Towers, the African embassies, and the USS Cole, we sent teams of FBI agents to investigate. These investigations were necessary, and many led to successful prosecutions. But on September the 11th, we realized that our mission was not simply to prosecute the terrorists after they committed their atrocities - our mission was to stop the terrorists before they harmed any more innocent Americans. Over the past seven years, that is exactly what you have done.

Today, because of your work, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are on the defensive. We have more than doubled the number of intelligence analysts and translators in your ranks - so you can gather the intelligence necessary to stop the terrorists from attacking our country again. And we have greatly expanded the FBI's contributions to America's intelligence community.

We are safer today because the FBI has bridged the divide between its intelligence and law enforcement operations. Since 9/11, we passed the Patriot Act to break down the walls between the FBI's criminal investigations and the intelligence community, and increased the flow of information within the FBI and across the government. We created the FBI's new National Security Branch, and brought all the counterterrorism, counterespionage, and intelligence divisions together under one roof. And, most importantly, we have made great strides in converting the Bureau into a world-class intelligence gathering agency. With these reforms in place, the FBI is sharing more information than ever before, and has prevented a number of terrorist attacks targeting U.S. interests.

Finally, we are also safer today because the FBI is leading new counterterrorism partnerships at all levels of government. Before 9/11, agencies often competed with each other for turf during investigations. Today, the FBI and other government agencies are sharing the field. At every level of government, the lines of communication are stronger than ever.

At the local level, we have increased the number of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces from 35 to more than 100. These task forces bring federal, State, and local law enforcement agents together. And they have helped break up terror cells in places like Portland, Oregon ... Buffalo, New York ... and northern Virginia .

At the national level, we created the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center to consolidate terror watch lists from different agencies into one master list. And we created the National Counterterrorism Center where the FBI is working along with the CIA and other federal agencies to track terrorist threats and prevent new attacks.

And at the international level, the FBI continues to deploy agents to the scenes of terrorist attacks around the world to help track down those responsible for attacks in foreign countries including Morocco , Saudi Arabia , and the United Kingdom - and to stop the terrorists before they can strike again. Over the past seven years, the FBI has opened 16 new offices overseas. Two of them are in Kabul and Baghdad - where FBI agents are now serving alongside our military on the frontlines of the War on Terror. In Baghdad and elsewhere, I have seen first-hand that the relationships with our international partners are stronger than ever. And here, I want to repeat that - while doing all of this - the FBI has also remained the gold standard in traditional law enforcement.

Today's ceremony is a fitting celebration of the FBI's extraordinary history and accomplishments. But even as we celebrate those accomplishments, it is important to remember that they have not come without a price. Over the course of its 100 years, the FBI has lost 51 men and women who were carrying out their sworn duty to pursue justice. They span the years from 1925, when a common thief shot and killed Special Agent Edwin Shanahan , to just last year, when Special Agent Barry Bush died in the line of duty. As we celebrate today and throughout this month, we must remember and honor each of these brave men and women, who gave their lives so that we could continue to lead ours.

It is equally important, however, to remember the many lives you have saved - that is, the many Americans who are still with us, and who we need not mourn, as a result of your valiant efforts. America is safer because of your work.