Home News Testimony Hearing on How New Technologies (Biometrics) Can Be Used To Prevent Terrorism
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  • Michael D. Kirkpatrick
  • Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Information Services Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information
  • Washington, D.C.
  • November 14, 2001

Good morning Madam Chairwoman and members of the Committee. I am Michael D. Kirkpatrick, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, or CJIS, and I thank you for the opportunity to appear before this Committee.

I have served in the FBI for more than 23 years. In that time, I have served as a special agent in our Cleveland and Kansas City field divisions, and in various supervisory and management capacities in San Antonio, Texas; Pocatello, Idaho; and at FBI Headquarters. In 1996, I was appointed as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans field division, where I oversaw investigations throughout the state of Louisiana. In August 1998, I was assigned to CJIS. Since my arrival in CJIS, I have served as the Chief of the Resources Management Section, and as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Policy, Administrative, and Liaison Branch. On April 4 of this year, the Attorney General approved my appointment as the Assistant Director in Charge of CJIS.

CJIS was established in February 1992 and is the largest division within the FBI, with a current work force of 2,685. The Division is located in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on a 986 acre campus. Construction of this world class facility started in October 1991 and was completed in July 1995, and I am proud to say on-time and under budget.

Our mission is to reduce criminal activity by maximizing the ability to provide timely and relevant criminal justice information to the criminal justice community and other appropriate agencies. The congress and the taxpayers have invested close to one billion dollars for the development and implementation of the sophisticated national computer systems housed at the West Virginia complex. Among the major programs managed and operated out of this division are: (1) the National Crime Information Center, and (2) of interest to this committee today - the Automated Fingerprint Identification Program.

Since 1924, the FBI serves as the national fingerprint repository. For our first 75 years, the processing of incoming fingerprint cards was largely a manual, labor intensive process, taking weeks or sometimes months to process a single fingerprint card.

With the full support of Congress and recognizing the dire need to significantly improve this critical service, the FBI, with our partners in the criminal justice community and leaders in private industry, including Lockheed Martin, Planning Research Corporation (PRC), and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), was able to develop and build the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS. IAFIS became operational on July 28, 1999, and provides the FBI with a totally electronic environment in which to process fingerprint submissions 24/7/365. Today over 42.8 million digitized criminal fingerprint records reside in the IAFIS database, which is by far the world's largest biometric repository of any kind. It is at least four times larger than all of the fingerprint repositories in Europe combined.

Using state-of-the art technology, the IAFIS receives, searches, and stores incoming fingerprint submissions, and generates responses within two hours of receipt for electronic criminal fingerprint submissions and within 24 hours for electronic civil submissions. IAFIS is a high volume system with a capacity for growth. In fiscal year 2001, our fingerprint receipts totaled 15,451,543 (7,991,125 criminal and 7,460,418 civil), which equates to 1.3 million receipts per month. Our FY 2001 receipts mark a six percent increase over those for the previous fiscal year. In addition, each day on average we add 7,853 new searchable criminal entries to this database.

At this point, I have only spoken about IAFIS's ten-print capabilities. This system can also process latent fingerprints collected as evidence of a crime. When a latent print is lifted from a crime scene, a latent fingerprint examiner can initiate a search of the entire IAFIS database to determine the suspect's identity. This technique has permitted the identification of criminal perpetrators from latent prints submitted from previously unsolved, "cold" cases. Since the inception of this latent search technique, the FBI's laboratory division has made 700 latent identifications using IAFIS technology. These 700 identifications are more than three times the total number of latent identifications made in the 15 years prior to IAFIS. These crimes would have otherwise been unsolved. This capability has had a tremendous impact on our public safety.

In response to the September 11 terrorists attacks, CJIS mobilized, along with the latent print units of the FBI's Laboratory Division, to provide disaster relief. This assistance included our "flyaway" Interim Distributed Image System, or IDIS, terminals and remote latent fingerprint terminals. These computer systems allow disaster relief teams to submit both ten-print and latent fingerprints electronically to the IAFIS from remote locations. IDIS systems have also been deployed in other recent events, such as the Summit of the Americas in Quebec. Seven IDIS terminals, three latent work stations, and 32 CJIS employees were deployed to New York City; Dover, Delaware; and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to assist with victim identification. The New York disaster relief team reported 22 successful identifications, four using IDIS technology, and two using remote latent fingerprint technology. The Pennsylvania disaster relief team made one latent fingerprint identification.

On October 29, 2001, the President signed Public Law 107-56, the USA Patriot Act of 2001. On behalf of the FBI, I personally want to thank you for passage of this most important piece of anti-terrorism legislation. I can report that, pursuant to section 405 of this law, report on the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System for ports of entry and overseas consular posts, the FBI is working closely with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to prepare this report on the feasibility of using the IAFIS to better identify individuals prior to their entry into the United States. Since the IAFIS is the world's largest biometric database, with an infrastructure already connecting local, state, and federal agencies, it is a tool that could be used to move our country's security perimeter beyond our borders.

While the FBI believes that the IAFIS is a national asset, its development has had significant international ramifications. On a global front, fingerprints are the most widely held and used form of positive identification. In this regard, the FBI took the lead in an effort to develop an international standard for the electronic exchange of fingerprints. We frequently meet with our counterparts in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the United Kingdom, as well as many representatives from Interpol, on this topic. I am proud to say that international standards for the exchange and transmission of fingerprints, developed by the FBI, have been accepted by all member countries of Interpol. We continue to have regular dialogue with our international partners in the RCMP, UK, and Interpol on matters of mutual interest.

Technology for the capture, search, storage, and transmission of fingerprints is widely available and becoming more economical every day. Fingerprint databases already exist at the local, state, and federal levels, and all existing criminal history records are based on fingerprints. As I just stated, international standards have been accepted by all Interpol member countries. These existing biometric systems form the foundation for coordinated domestic and international efforts and present opportunities to share information that can improve our national security and combat terrorism and trans-national crime.

I invite the members of this committee to visit the CJIS complex in Clarksburg and witness first-hand this investment in state-of-the-art technology. In closing, I again thank you for the privilege of addressing this Committee. I am available to answer any questions the Committee may have.

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