FBI Director Mueller on Terrorism, Intelligence Gathering

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


Mohamed Salame was arrested a few hours later. His accomplices were identified quickly. They were tracked down and captured in Jersey City, in Pakistan, and in Egypt by FBI special agents and New York City detectives.

There are few stories that better illustrate the benefits and importance of the Joint Terrorism Task Force concept. We can gain so much from the expertise of our local partners. We can share the FBI's knowledge and resources with them. Jim Fox understood that a long time ago.

Solving that case sent a message to the terrorists that no matter how far they ran, they would be tracked down and brought to justice.

The picture of al Qaeda was just emerging. That same year, under Jim's command, FBI agents and the New York Police would swoop down on more terrorists. Several individuals were arrested as they literally stirred a chemical mixture of explosives in 55-gallon drums. These explosives were to be used to bomb New York's bridges and tunnels. The individuals were arrested, tried here in New York, and ultimately convicted.

In 1998, New York detectives and FBI Agents of the JTTF answered the call when al Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa. They tracked down suspects in a half dozen countries.

Then again in 2000, America's first Joint Terrorism Task Force had its 20 th anniversary at the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center. A year later, the World Trade Center would no longer be standing.

The war, in which Jim Fox had fought some of the opening battles, was being taken to a new and catastrophic level by our enemies.

Indeed, in the wake of the immediate devastation of September 11, there was no time to do a study. There was no time for broad contemplation. We had to work together quickly to engage the terrorist threat--here on U.S. soil, and abroad--and do so in new ways.

We in the FBI had to reshape the way we thought and worked. We often say it was like changing the tires on a car that is hurtling down the highway at 70 miles an hour.

Let me take a few minutes to tell you how far we have come working together.

We have built on the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force concept. Before September 11, we had 35 JTTFs. Now we have over 100. We have gone from less than 1,000 agents and detectives on the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to over 4,000. We have gone from a 1,000 intelligence analysts to over 2,000, and we are still hiring.

We have tripled the number of linguists to over 1,400. We have expanded the number of our international offices, also known as Legal Attaché , or Legats, to 54, and have plans to increase the number to 60 by the end of this year. We have produced more than 20,000 intelligence reports, assessments, and bulletins since September 11.

The numbers do not tell the whole story. We have changed our very approach to national security. We stood up a Directorate of Intelligence so that we would be poised not just to do the best investigation after the attack, but to have the best intelligence available to preven t another attack.

We have now formed the National Security Branch to coordinate our intelligence, counterterrorism, and counter-espionage efforts. The National Security Branch works closely with the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, to ensure our efforts are synchronized with the rest of the intelligence community.

Since September 11, we have been evolving, and we have been succeeding.

You have read about some of the attacks that have been prevented. There are others that we cannot talk about even now. A few merit discussion here because they demonstrate how law enforcement must adapt to new, and changing, threats.