Home News Testimony FBI Reforms to Meet Current Threats
This is archived material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website. It may contain outdated information and links may no longer function.
  • John S. Pistole
  • Executive Assistant Director, Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Washington DC
  • August 03, 2004

The FBI has worked closely with the 9-11Commission and its staff and we commend it for an extraordinary effort. Throughout this process, we have approached the Commission's inquiry as an opportunity to gain further input from outside experts. We took its critiques seriously, adapted our ongoing reform efforts, and have already taken substantial steps to address its remaining concerns. We are gratified and encouraged that the Commission has embraced our vision for change and recognized the progress that the men and women of the FBI have made to implement that vision. We agree with the Commission that much work remains to be done, and will consider its findings and recommendations as we refine our continuing transformation efforts.

Following the September 11th attacks, Director Mueller implemented a comprehensive plan that fundamentally transformed the FBI with one goal in mind: establishing the prevention of terrorism as the Bureau's number one priority. No longer are we content to concentrate on investigating terrorist crimes after they occur; the FBI now is dedicated to disrupting terrorists before they are able to strike. Director Mueller has overhauled our counterterrorism operations, expanded our intelligence capabilities, modernized our business practices and technology, and improved coordination with our partners.

FBI Priorities

Director Mueller clearly established a set of ten national program priorities that strictly govern the allocation of personnel and resources in every FBI program and field office. The FBI today has a clear hierarchy of national priorities with the prevention of terrorist attacks at the top of the list. Field offices must allocate all necessary resources to ensure that all terrorism-related leads are addressed before resources can be dedicated to other priorities.

To implement these new priorities, we increased the number of Special Agents assigned to terrorism matters by 111%, the number of intelligence analysts by 86% and the number of linguists by 117%, between September 11, 2001 and May 2004. We also established a number of operational units and entities that provide new or improved capabilities to address the terrorist threat. These include the 24/7 Counterterrorism Watch (CT Watch) and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF), both of which manage and share threat information; the Terrorism Financing Operation Section (TFOS), which centralizes efforts to stop terrorist financing; document/media exploitation squads to exploit, which exploits material found both domestically and overseas for its intelligence value; deployable "Fly Teams," which lend counterterrorism expertise wherever it is needed; the interagency Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) and Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF), which help identify terrorists and keep them out of the United States; the Terrorism Reports and Requirements Section, which disseminates FBI terrorism-related intelligence to the Intelligence Community; and the Counterterrorism Analysis Section, which "connects the dots" and assesses the indicators of terrorist activity against the U.S. from a strategic perspective.

We centralized management of our Counterterrorism Program at Headquarters to limit "stove-piping" of information, to ensure consistency of counterterrorism priorities and strategy across the organization, to integrate counterterrorism operations domestically and overseas, to improve coordination with other agencies and governments, and to make senior managers accountable for the overall development and success of our counterterrorism efforts.

Intelligence Program

The FBI is building an enterprise-wide intelligence program that has substantially improved our ability to direct strategically our intelligence collection and to fuse, analyze, and disseminate our terrorism-related intelligence. After passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the issuance of related Attorney General Guidelines, and the ensuing opinion by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review that brought down the "wall" that sharply limited the ability of law enforcement and intelligence officers to share information, we quickly implemented a plan to integrate all our capabilities to better prevent terrorist attacks. Director Mueller elevated intelligence to program-level status, putting in place a formal structure and concepts of operations to govern FBI-wide intelligence functions and establish Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) in every field office.

The New Workforce

The FBI is actively working to build a workforce with expertise in intelligence. While much remains to be done, we have already taken steps to ensure this transformation.

On March 22, 2004, Director Mueller adopted a proposal to establish a career path in which new Special Agents are initially assigned to a small field office and exposed to a wide range of field experiences. After approximately three years, agents will be transferred to a large field office where they will specialize in one of four program areas: Intelligence, Counterterrorism/ Counterintelligence, Cyber, or Criminal, and will receive advanced training tailored to their area of specialization. We are working to implement this new career track.

Director Mueller has also approved a proposal to establish a formal Intelligence Officer Certification that can be earned through a combination of intelligence assignments and training. Once established, this certification will be a prerequisite for promotion to the level of Section Chief at FBIHQ, or Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) at the field level, thus ensuring that all members of the FBI's highest management levels will be staffed by fully trained and experienced intelligence officers.

We have implemented a strategic plan to recruit, hire, and retain Intelligence Analysts. The Bureau has selected veteran analysts to attend events at colleges and universities, as well as designated career fairs throughout the country. We executed an aggressive marketing plan, and for the first time in FBI history, we are offering hiring bonuses for FBI analysts.
In our Special Agent hiring program, we have updated the list of "critical skills" we are seeking in candidates to include intelligence experience and expertise, foreign languages, and technology.

We continue to grow the Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) established in every FBI field office and are on track to add some 300 Intelligence Analysts to the FIGs in FY 2004. The FIGs conduct analysis, direct the collection of information to fill identified intelligence gaps, and ensure that intelligence is disseminated horizontally and vertically to internal and external customers, including our State, local and tribal law enforcement partners. As of June 2, 2004, there are 1,450 FIG personnel, including 382 Special Agents and 160 employees from other government agencies. 
The FBI's Executive Assistant Director for Intelligence has been given personal responsibility for developing and ensuring the health of the FBI intelligence personnel resources. It is important to note that the FBI's intelligence cadre is not limited to intelligence analysts, but also includes agents, language analysts, surveillance specialists, and others. It takes all of these specialists to perform quality intelligence production at the FBI. The FBI's plan to create a cradle-to-grave career path for intelligence professionals at the FBI parallels the one that has existed and functioned so well for our agents and has been codified in our Concept of Operations (CONOP) for Human Talent for Intelligence Production.

Information Sharing and Coordination

To support information sharing, there is now a Special Agent or Intelligence Analyst in each Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) dedicated to producing "raw" intelligence reports for the entire national security community, including State, municipal, and tribal law enforcement partners and other JTTF members. These "Reports Officers" are trained to produce intelligence reports that both protect sources and methods and maximize the amount of information that can be shared.

Understanding that we cannot defeat terrorism without strong partnerships, we have enhanced the level of coordination and information sharing with State and municipal law enforcement personnel. We expanded the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs), increased technological connectivity with our partners, and implemented new ways of sharing information through vehicles such as the FBI Intelligence Bulletin, the FBI National Alert System, and the interagency Alert System, and the Terrorist Screening Center. To improve coordination with other Federal agencies and members of the Intelligence Community, we joined with our Federal partners to establish the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, exchanged personnel, instituted joint briefings, and started using secure networks to share information. We also improved our relationships with foreign governments by building on the overseas expansion of our Legat Program; by offering investigative and forensic support and training, and by working together on task forces and joint operations. Finally, the FBI has expanded outreach to minority communities, and improved coordination with private businesses involved in critical infrastructure and finance.

As the Commission points out, we have much work still to do, but we have made great progress and continue to move forward in accordance with a clear plan. With the support and understanding of lawmakers and the American people, I am confident that we will successfully complete our transformation and ultimately prevail against terrorists and all adversaries who would do harm to our Nation. 
The FBI looks forward to an ongoing public discussion of ways to support further information sharing and collaboration in the Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communities, and thanks the 9-11 Commission for its public service. Attached, for your information, is the testimony of my colleague, Maureen Baginski, which presents additional information that may be of interest to the Committee. 
Thank you for inviting me here today to testify before the Committee, and I will answer any questions you may have at the appropriate time.

Recent Testimonies
Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption Amy Hess, Executive Assistant Director, Science and Technology Branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Washington, D.C.
The Need for a Consolidated FBI Headquarters Building Richard L. Haley, II, Assistant Director, Facilities and Finance Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Washington, D.C.
Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
FBI Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2017 James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Washington, D.C.
Law Enforcement Implications of Illegal Online Gambling Joseph S. Campbell, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Washington, D.C.
Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
Threats to the Homeland James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Inspector General Access Kevin L. Perkins, Associate Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Statement with Department of Justice Associate Deputy Attorney General Carlos Uriarte Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.