FBI Director Mueller on Terrorism, Intelligence Gathering

Mueller's remarks from James Fox Memorial Lecture discuss U.S. fight against another 9/11


The U.S. Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation issued the text of the following speech:

Good afternoon, and thank you all for having me here today.

It is great to be back in New York. I have a lot in common with your police commissioner, Ray Kelly. We both were Marines. We were both in Vietnam, and we have both spent most of our adult lives in law enforcement.

There are other similarities as well. We are both often accused of being micro-managers. Of course, we both deny it, although sometimes I wonder about Ray. While he runs a vast police organization from the commissioner's office, legend has it that if you dial 9-1-1, there is actually a 50-50 chance Ray will answer the phone.

It is indeed a pleasure to be here. The Citizens Crime Commission has long been a good friend to law enforcement--especially to the New York Police Department and the FBI's New York field office.

I am especially honored to speak at the annual James Fox Memorial Lecture. You may know that Jim spent most of his career as a spycatcher during the Cold War. I knew Jim Fox when we were both in San Francisco. I was an assistant U.S. attorney, and he was the assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI's foreign counterintelligence program.

I remember that primarily because I was on the criminal side of the house in San Francisco, and he would never tell me anything.

It was not long after the Cold War that Jim Fox found himself facing an entirely new enemy. As assistant director-in-charge of the New York field office nearly a decade before September 11, he saw one of the first indications that international terrorism had come to our shores.

It came on a snowy day at the end of February 1993. An individual drove a yellow Ryder rental truck into the sub-basement of the World Trade Center towers and parked. A short time later, 3,000 pounds of explosives tore through three levels of the garage and into the hotel above. Six people were killed, and tens of thousands were forced to flee from the towers through the thick, black smoke. Fourteen-hundred were injured.

Running a case like that was a significant challenge. It was a massive crime scene. There were thousands of potential witnesses and they had very few clues.

Under Jim's command, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the entire New York field office were mobilized. Jim and Commissioner Kelly were joined at the hip. There were no secrets between them. All information was shared.

The FBI, NYPD, and ATF went to work as a single, coordinated entity. In less than a week, the bombers were identified and rounded up.

One crucial moment in the investigation came when an NYPD bomb technician named Don Sadowy found a mangled piece of wreckage. Because Detective Sadowy had graduated from New York's Automotive High School in Brooklyn, he recognized the twisted part as a piece of the rear-end of a truck. Because his former partner had worked auto-theft, he knew that there were hidden vehicle identification numbers on those parts.

An FBI specialist on stolen cars named Jamie Sedeno worked with experts in the NYPD lab to locate and raise the hidden numbers and identify the truck. When the Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and detectives arrived at the rental store, they learned, fortuitously, that the man who had rented the truck was on his way back to re-claim his cash deposit of a full $225.

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