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  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Dallas Office Dedication
  • Dallas, Texas
  • September 09, 2003

It is an honor to be here. I thank all of you for coming today. There are several individuals I would like to acknowledge. We have already heard from Scott Army of the General Services Administration. Thank you for helping us get the funding for construction of this spacious new office building. Also, I would like to thank developer John Harvey, President and CEO of the Cowperwood Company.

We are pleased to have U.S. Attorneys Jane Boyle and Matthew Orwig here, as well as Chief Judge Joe Fish. There are a number of former FBI employees joining us today, including Edwin Dorris -- one of the oldest former Agents in the country. He is here with one some of his former colleagues. And there are many more of you from across the law enforcement community.

I also welcome the family of the man to whom we dedicate this building – his wife Emily Shanklin and granddaughter Lisa Shanklin. Thank you for joining us.

As we dedicate this new structure, it is worth remembering a little of the unique and sometimes colorful history of the Dallas Field Office. In the 1930s, Dallas Agents from what was then the Bureau of Investigation, assisted in the most elaborate manhunt the country had ever seen. It began after outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker went on a nationwide crime spree that is believed to have resulted in 13 murders. Through a prescription bottle found in a car they had stolen in Oklahoma and abandoned in Michigan, Special Agents linked the medicine to Clyde Barrow's aunt. This helped track the killers to end Bonnie and Clyde's deadly rampage.

Many years later, Dallas was again at the center of one of our country's most traumatic national events. The shooting of President John F. Kennedy stunned all America. Amidst a nationwide outpouring of emotion, the Dallas FBI office led the investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge J. Gordon Shanklin. He, and all those who worked with him, labored under tremendous pressure, and they performed admirably. His outstanding leadership continues to serve as an example for all of us.

Today, the Dallas office continues to compile an impressive list of accomplishments. It is the tenth largest field office, but consistently one of the most productive. Most of the FBI employees here today had an integral role in responding to the 9/11 attacks, especially in identifying the hijackers and establishing their contacts. Later, they gathered computer evidence as well as communication and travel information that helped identify many terrorist associates.

This dedication was initially scheduled for February. But when the space shuttle Columbia exploded and the entire team of astronauts lost their lives, employees of this office went to work, assisting with the recovery and identification of those individuals who gave their lives so that America and the world might benefit from their mission into space.

Another area in which this office stands out is its work on crimes committed against children. Many of you assisted the Arlington Police Department on the Amber Hageman kidnapping. Tragically, she did not survive, but the case has resulted in the nationwide public notification system known as "Amber Alert." It allows information about the victim and possible suspects to be broadcast immediately. To date the alerts have been directly responsible for the safe return of 53 missing children.

It is important to remember history because of the lessons we can learn in meeting new challenges. The challenge before us today is terrorism. In two years, we have made substantial progress against al Qaeda by removing the sanctuary of Afghanistan and apprehending many of its senior leaders, including, Wadih al Hage, about whom the Dallas office helped gather evidence that led to his receiving a life sentence, and most recently, Hambali, head of al Qaeda's operations in Southeast Asia. But in spite of this progress, Al Qaeda still seeks to attack us, and they have the capacity to do so.

Recent terrorist attacks in Bali, Riyadh, Morocco and Jakarta have been stark reminders of the deadly threat posed by groups and individuals with the desire and the ability to kill. And the threat will likely remain for some time. Future world trends indicate that the economic and displacement factors which breed terrorists will continue. To succeed against a shadowy and resilient global enemy, the FBI must also be ready to pursue the enemy across the globe.

In the last year, the FBI has changed to focus more on its international role, and the Dallas office has been at the forefront of much of that change.

We are working more closely with our international law enforcement partners. We now produce a better intelligence product, and this intelligence information is shared, not only with law enforcement in the United States, but throughout the world.

This office has established the Dallas Intelligence Service Center, or DISC. Its mission is to provide analysis, disseminate intelligence information to our partners and support terrorism investigations.

Cyber security is another global challenge. A year ago, cyber investigations were conducted on an ad hoc basis. Now efforts are coordinated, and we are working more closely with government and the private sector to protect against viruses, privacy invasions, child pornography and fraudulent e-commerce. The Dallas office has been a leader in Cyber Security. Its local chapter of InfraGard -- in which the FBI works with corporations to prevent cyber intrusions -- is the largest in the United States with 700 members.

InfraGard is an outgrowth of the most important change in the FBI since 9/11 -- partnerships. The FBI has worked to strengthen our partnerships at all levels, including internationally. Where Bonnie and Clyde once roamed from state to state, terrorists now travel from country to country. As a result of our presence in communities across the U.S. and in our 45 international or "Legal Attache" offices, the FBI has established relations with our partners in law enforcement. These alliances have improved our effectiveness in cases around the world.

We have also set up local and national task forces in communities across the country. They are the eyes and ears in the war against terrorism. Here, the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force has grown to include over 90 different law enforcement agencies.

And this office has found other ways to strengthen national and international partnerships. The Dallas Emergency Response Network pools people, skills and equipment to increase public safety in the event of an emergency. It serves as a model for similar programs throughout the nation and throughout the world.

The reason the Dallas office and the entire FBI have been able to meet new global challenges, is because of our people. It is the dedication, integrity and hard work of our employees that make the FBI a very special place in which to work.

As we change to address global challenges, expectations will be high. But the history of the Dallas office tells us that the FBI responds in whatever way needed to protect the citizens of this country. With time and effort, the FBI will be like this new building. It will be better, stronger, and more modern – able to meet whatever challenges lay ahead.

And it is to that effort which I dedicate this building and to which I ask that we in the FBI dedicate ourselves.

Thank you and God Bless you all.

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