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Statement by FBI Director Robert Mueller Regarding the Joint Intelligence Committee Report Into the Terrorist Attack of September 11, 2001

Washington, D.C. July 24, 2003
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Washington, DC - FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III issued the following statement regarding today's release of the Joint Intelligence Committee Report into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks:

"The final report today released by the Joint Intelligence Committee into the events of September 11th generates constructive discussion of how the federal government can best protect America from terrorism. The FBI thanks the Joint Committee for their efforts and for its recommendations to improve the Counterterrorism efforts of the United States government. We have already implemented or are in the process of implementing these recommendations. While the report provides a snapshot of the FBI at September 11, 2001, the picture of the FBI today shows a changed organization, including:

Prevention of Terrorist Attacks is the FBI's Number One Priority. Both in the field offices and at Headquarters, the FBI has made preventing future terrorist attacks its top priority. Prior to September 11th, the FBI had approximately 1,300 Agents and 218 analysts working on counterterrorism matters. As of May 2003, those numbers have increased to 2,501 Agents and 251 analysts.

Improved Information Sharing with Intelligence Community Through TTIC. The FBI has partnered with CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to integrate terrorist-related intelligence in the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) in an effort to provide seamless communication within the Intelligence Community.

Improved Coordination with the Central Intelligence Agency. We have increased the operational integration between the CIA and FBI since 9/11. From my daily morning briefings with CIA officers and George Tenet to the widespread assignment of executives, Agents, and analysts between the two agencies since 9/11, the FBI and the CIA have become integrated at virtually every level of our operations.

Improved Technology to Better Target Terrorists and Identify Terrorist Threats. The FBI is aggressively solving the persistent and incapacitating information technology problems. The Trilogy Program was designed as a 36-month effort to enhance the FBI's effectiveness through technologies that facilitate better organization, access and analysis of information. The overall direction of the Trilogy Program is to provide all FBI offices with improved network communications, a common and current set of office automation tools, and easy-to-use, re-engineered, web-based applications.

Established the Office of Intelligence. The Office of Intelligence will help ensure critical information is being collected. We have also established a strong reports officer cadre at FBI Headquarters and in the field offices to facilitate timely dissemination of intelligence from agents to analysts within the FBI and other agencies within the Intelligence Community.

Significantly Increased Resources Allocated to Counterterrorism Analysis. Since 9/11, the FBI has increased resources for both counterterrorism and counterterrorism analysis. We have increased the number of Intelligence Operations Specialists from 65 to 345. We have increased Counterterrorism Intelligence Analysts from 41 to 130. We are requesting an additional 214 analytical positions for Counterterrorism in its FY 2004 budget.

Improved Information Sharing with State and Local Law Enforcement. The FBI has increased the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces from 35 to 66, which are located in each of the FBI's 56 field offices and 10 resident agencies, to allow better coordination and information sharing with state and local law enforcement. The Office of Law Enforcement Coordination was created as a new division within the FBI to enhance the coordination and communication between the FBI and state, municipal, county and tribal law enforcement on a national level. Additionally, the FBI Intelligence Bulletin is published once a week and provided to state and local law enforcement agencies through the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), e-mail or facsimile.

Established the National Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) at FBI Headquarters. The National JTTF complements task forces established throughout the country and improves collaboration and timely information sharing with other agencies. The FBI currently has representation of 26 federal agencies and two state and local law enforcement officials who report to the FBI's Command Center as part of this initiative.

Expanded Recruitment of Vital Language Skills. The FBI has expanded the recruitment of agents and analysts with the linguistic skills needed in counterterrorism efforts. The FBI has already instituted aggressive efforts to identify and recruit new agents and analysts with critical language skills. Currently, the FBI has 1138 Language Specialists and Contract Linguists who provide translation support in 60 foreign Languages. Since February 2002, the FBI has received over 70,000 applicants for agent positions, including over 11,000 who identified themselves as possessing critical language skills.

FBI Employees Are a Vital Asset to the Mission of Preventing Terrorist Attacks. The FBI has another advantage that should not be underestimated -- its people. FBI employees are as thorough as they are tireless. Special Agents and analysts have proven this time and again when a case is all but forgotten. When it comes to follow up, FBI personnel are second to none. These attributes are crucial for tracking down shadowy pieces of intelligence and determining their validity.

Patriot Act Has Allowed Sharing of Critical Information Related to Counterterrorism Investigations. Changes in the Patriot Act and Justice Department policies have allowed for greater information sharing among law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The walls that inhibited the sharing of that information prior to September 11 have crumbled. Additionally, training for new Special Agents includes specific instruction on FISA, including detailed instruction on the U.S.A. Patriot Act, as well as how to use FISA and Title III effectively, in criminal versus intelligence investigations.

Increased Efforts to Infiltrate Terrorist Organizations Operating in the United States. The FBI's reallocation of manpower and effort to combat terrorism since September 11th has resulted in a significant increase in the use of all investigative collection tools. While the exact numbers are classified, we have utilized these methods with much greater frequency - and to great effect - in terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001. As a result, terrorist cells from Lackwanna, New York to Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington have been taken down.

Improved Training. The FBI has re-designed its core training curriculum to focus on essential skills for counterterrorism investigations. Additionally, the FBI has significantly improved strategic analytical capabilities by creating the College of Analytical Studies to train new analysts and enhance the skills of current analysts to better understand the process of "connecting the dots."

Stronger Accountability. In order to ensure accountability, executive management has regularly reinforced the new priorities through regular communication to the field, through inspections of the 56 field offices, and through frequent gatherings of the Special Agents in Charge of the field offices.

"In the war against terrorism, knowing who, what, where and when - before it happens -
is critical. The FBI is ready and willing to meet the ongoing challenge of terrorism. By
continuing to restructure, improving our intelligence capabilities, and building on our traditional strengths, the FBI will continue to fulfill its mission to protect America."