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Homeland Security

11 February 2003

Mueller Says Al-Qaeda Threat Still Strong, Far From Defeated

(No compromise or settlement in war on terrorism, FBI head says)
FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee February 11 that
the United States and its allies have inflicted a series of
significant defeats on al-Qaeda and its global terrorist network, here
and abroad, "but the terrorist enemy ... is far from defeated."
"The enemies we face are resourceful, merciless and fanatically
committed to inflicting massive damage on our homeland, which they
regard as a bastion of evil," Mueller said during a Senate Select
Intelligence Committee hearing. "In this war, there can be no
compromise or negotiated settlement."
Mueller testified that terrorists could strike by poisoning food and
water supplies with cyanide, botulism or ricin. They also could strike
at critical computer systems, which support the nation's
infrastructure, or assault U.S. railroads, aircraft, oil and natural
gas facilities, or electric power grids, he said.
"The al-Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most
immediate and serious threat facing this country," he said.
He said that FBI investigations have revealed there is a widespread
militant Islamic presence in the United States, and that several
hundred of these extremists are linked to al-Qaeda.
"The focus of their activities centers primarily on fundraising,
recruitment, and training," Mueller said. "Their support structure,
however, is sufficiently well-developed that one or more groups could
be ramped up by al-Qaeda to carry out operations in the U.S.
The FBI is also monitoring potential threats from Islamic extremist
groups such as Hizballah and HAMAS, he said, which have been
attempting to raise funds through other groups in the United States.
Mueller said the FBI has charged 197 suspected terrorists with crimes,
99 of whom have been convicted to date. And, the FBI has helped with
the deportation of 478 individuals with suspected links to terrorist
groups, he said.
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee was conducting its annual
hearings on the U.S. intelligence community and national security
threats in both open and closed sessions. In addition to hearing
testimony from Mueller, the committee heard from CIA Director George
Tenet and Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense
Intelligence Agency. It was also expected to hear testimony from Carl
Ford, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.
Following is the text of Mueller's prepared remarks:
(begin text)
February 11, 2003
Statement for the Record of
Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
War on Terrorism
Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate
Washington, D.C.
Good morning Chairman Roberts, Vice-Chairman Rockefeller, and Members
of the Committee. I would like to commend the Committee for placing a
priority on holding this hearing and I welcome the opportunity to
appear before you this morning. I believe it is critical that the
American people be kept informed of what their government is doing to
protect them from this nation's enemies.
As we enter the second year of the global war on terrorism, the United
States and its allies have inflicted a series of significant defeats
on al-Qaeda and its terrorist networks, both at home and abroad. The
terrorist enemy, however, is far from defeated. Although our country's
ultimate victory is not in doubt, we face a long war whose end is
difficult to foresee. But make no mistake, Mr. Chairman, the enemies
we face are resourceful, merciless, and fanatically committed to
inflicting massive damage on our homeland, which they regard as the
bastion of evil. In this war, there can be no compromise or negotiated
settlement. Accordingly, the prevention of another terrorist attack
remains the FBI's top priority as we strive to disrupt and destroy
terrorism on our soil.
The FBI's efforts to identify and dismantle terrorist networks have
yielded major successes over the past 17 months. We have charged 197
suspected terrorists with crimes-99 of whom have been convicted to
date. We have also facilitated the deportation of 478 individuals with
suspected links to terrorist groups. Moreover, our efforts have
damaged terrorist networks and disrupted terrorist plots across the
-- In Portland, where six have been charged with providing material
support to terrorists.
-- In Buffalo, where we arrested seven al-Qaeda associates and
sympathizers indicted in September 2002 for providing material support
to terrorism.
-- In Seattle, where Earnest James Ujaama (also known as Bilal Ahmed)
has been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to
terrorists and suspected of establishing a terrorist training facility
in Bly, Oregon.
-- In Detroit, where four have been charged with document fraud and
providing material support to terrorists.
-- In Chicago, where Global Relief Foundation Director Enaam Arnaout
has been charged with funneling money to al-Qaeda.
-- And in Florida, where three U.S. citizens were arrested for
acquiring weapons and explosives in a plot to blow up an Islamic
Center in Pinellas County in retaliation for Palestinian bombings in
Furthermore, we are successfully disrupting the sources of terrorist
financing, including freezing $113 million from 62 organizations and
conducting 70 investigations, 23 of which have resulted in
convictions. Our investigations have also made it more difficult for
suspicious NGOs to raise money and continue their operations. Donors
are thinking twice about where they send their money-some questioning
the integrity of the organization they are supporting and others
fearful of being linked to an organization that may be under FBI
-- Our financial disruption operations also include an international
dimension. For example, the FBI was instrumental in providing
information that resulted in the apprehension of a major money
launderer for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Since the arrest, the
subject's hawala network has been disrupted and dismantled in the UAE
and in Pakistan, in part due to the efforts of the FBI.
Despite these successes, the nature of the terrorist threat facing our
country today is complex. International terrorists and their state
sponsors have emerged as the primary threat to our security after
decades in which the activities of domestic terrorist groups were a
more imminent threat.
-- Our investigations since the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and
particularly since September 11 have revealed an extensive militant
Islamic presence in the U.S., as well as a number of groups that are
capable of launching terrorist attacks here.
-- The al-Qaeda terrorist network headed by Usama Bin Laden is clearly
the most urgent threat to U.S. interests. The evidence linking
al-Qaeda to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable, and
our investigation of the events leading up to 9/11 has given rise to
important insights into terrorist tactics and tradecraft, which will
prove invaluable as we work to prevent the next attack.
There is no question that al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks have
proven adept at defending their organizations from U.S. and
international law enforcement efforts. As these terrorist
organizations evolve and change their tactics, we, too, must be
prepared to evolve. Accordingly, the FBI is undergoing momentous
changes-including the incorporation of a more robust intelligence
function-that will allow us to meet the terrorist threat head-on. I
will briefly outline these changes, but first, Mr. Chairman, I will
spend some time discussing the nature of the terrorist threat facing
this country.
The al-Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most
immediate and serious threat facing this country. Al-Qaeda is the most
lethal of the groups associated with the Sunni jihadist cause, but it
does not operate in a vacuum; many of the groups committed to
international jihad-including the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya,
Lebanese 'Asbat al-Ansar, Somali al-Ittihad al-Islami, and Algerian
Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)-offer al-Qaeda varying
degrees of support.
-- FBI investigations have revealed a widespread militant Islamic
presence in the U.S.
-- We strongly suspect that several hundred of these extremists are
linked to al-Qaeda.
-- The focus of their activities centers primarily on fundraising,
recruitment, and training. Their support structure, however, is
sufficiently well-developed that one or more groups could be ramped up
by al-Qaeda to carry out operations in the U.S. homeland.
Despite the progress the U.S. has made in disrupting the al-Qaeda
network overseas and within our own country, the organization
maintains the ability and the intent to inflict significant casualties
in the U.S. with little warning.
-- The greatest threat is from al-Qaeda cells in the U.S. that we have
not yet identified. The challenge of finding and rooting out al-Qaeda
members once they have entered the U.S. and have had time to establish
themselves is our most serious intelligence and law enforcement
-- In addition, the threat from single individuals sympathetic or
affiliated with al-Qaeda, acting without external support or
surrounding conspiracies, is increasing, in part because of heightened
publicity surrounding recent events such as the October 2002
Washington metropolitan area sniper shootings and the anthrax letter
Our investigations suggest that al-Qaeda has developed a support
infrastructure inside the U.S. that would allow the network to mount
another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Such an attack may rely on
local individuals or use these local assets as support elements for
teams arriving from outside the U.S. The al-Qaeda-affiliated group we
arrested in Lackawanna, New York is one example of the type of support
available to the al-Qaeda network. These U.S. citizens received
military training in an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.
-- Many of the U.S.-based cells are relatively recent additions to the
al-Qaeda network, leaving open the possibility that more established
networks that significantly pre-date the September 11 attacks have
been successful in evading detection.
-- Besides funding and recruiting opportunities, the U.S. offers
al-Qaeda a unique platform to research and acquire sophisticated
capabilities in new technologies, particularly in the areas of WMD and
Al-Qaeda appears to be enhancing its support infrastructure in the
U.S. by boosting recruitment efforts. Al-Qaeda no doubt recognizes the
operational advantage it can derive from recruiting U.S. citizens who
are much less likely to come to the attention of law enforcement and
who also may be better able to invoke constitutional protections that
can slow or limit investigative efforts. Al-Qaeda's successful attacks
on September 11 suggest the organization could employ similar
operational strategies in carrying out any future attack in the U.S.,
including cell members avoiding drawing attention to themselves and
minimizing contact with militant Islamic groups in the U.S. They will
also maintain strict operational and communications security.
We must not assume, however, that al-Qaeda will rely only on tried and
true methods of attack. As attractive as a large-scale attack that
produced mass casualties would be for al-Qaeda and as important as
such an attack is to its credibility among its supporters and
sympathizers, target vulnerability and the likelihood of success are
increasingly important to the weakened organization. Indeed, the types
of recent, smaller-scale operations al-Qaeda has directed and aided
against a wide array of Western targets-such as in Mombassa, Bali, and
Kuwait and against the French oil tanker off Yemen-could readily be
reproduced in the U.S.
-- Multiple small-scale attacks against soft targets-such as banks,
shopping malls, supermarkets, apartment buildings, schools and
universities, churches, and places of recreation and
entertainment-would be easier to execute and would minimize the need
to communicate with the central leadership, lowering the risks of
-- Poisoning food and water supplies also may be an attractive tactic
in the future. Although technologically challenging, a successful
attempt might cause thousands of casualties, sow fear among the U.S.
population, and undermine public confidence in the food and water
-- Cyberterrorism is also clearly an emerging threat. Terrorist groups
are increasingly computer savvy, and some probably are acquiring the
ability to use cyber attacks to inflict isolated and brief disruptions
of U.S. infrastructure. Due to the prevalence of publicly available
hacker tools, many of these groups probably already have the
capability to launch denial-of-service and other nuisance attacks
against Internet-connected systems. As terrorists become more computer
savvy, their attack options will only increase.
My greatest concern, Mr. Chairman, is that our enemies are trying to
acquire dangerous new capabilities with which to harm Americans.
Terrorists worldwide have ready access to information on chemical,
biological, radiological, and nuclear-or CBRN-weapons via the
Internet. Acquisition of such weapons would be a huge morale boost for
those seeking our destruction, while engendering widespread fear among
Americans and our allies.
-- We know from training manuals and tapes that prior to September 11
al-Qaeda was working on using botulinum toxin, cyanide gas, and other
poisons, such as ricin. We are concerned that, like the individuals in
the United Kingdom believed to be developing poisons for terrorist
uses, al-Qaeda-affiliated groups may attempt to set up similar
operations here in the U.S.
-- The development of a Radiological Dispersion Device-or so-called,
"dirty bomb"-is made all the easier due to the availability of small
amounts of radioactive material on the open market. Furthermore, a
crude dirty bomb requires minimal expertise to build.
As we think about where the next attack might come, al-Qaeda will
probably continue to favor spectacular attacks that meet several
criteria: high symbolic value, mass casualties, severe damage to the
U.S. economy, and maximum psychological trauma. Based on al-Qaeda's
previous pattern, the organization may attempt to destroy objectives
it has targeted in the past. On the basis of these criteria, we judge
that al-Qaeda's highest priority targets are high-profile government
or private facilities, commercial airliners, famous landmarks, and
critical infrastructure such as energy-production facilities and
transportation nodes.
Mr. Chairman, you no doubt are familiar with reports from a few months
ago that highlighted possible attacks against symbols of U.S. economic
power. We believe such targets are high on al-Qaeda's list because of
the economic disruption such attacks would cause.
-- Attacks against high tech businesses would cripple information
technology and jeopardize thousands of jobs.
-- The financial sector now depends on telecommunications for most of
its transactions. Disruption of critical telecommunications
nodes-either physically or through cyber means-would create severe
hardships until services could be restored. Failures caused
intentionally could persist for longer durations, creating difficult
repairs and recovery, and intensifying uncertainty and economic
Al-Qaeda is also eyeing transportation and energy infrastructures-the
destruction of which could cripple the U.S. economy, create fear and
panic, and cause mass casualties.
-- I worry, in particular, about the U.S. rail system's myriad
vulnerabilities. As the Tokyo subway attack in 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo
demonstrated, signs of terrorist planning to attack rail assets are
difficult to detect because of the relative ease with which
terrorists' can surveil railway and subway facilities.
-- Since the September 11 attacks, there have been a variety of
threats suggesting that U.S. energy facilities are being targeted for
terrorist attacks. Although the information often is fragmentary and
offers little insight into the timing and mode of an attack, the
October 2002 operation against the French supertanker Limburg suggests
that al-Qaeda is serious about hitting the energy sector and its
support structure.
-- Al-Qaeda appears to believe that an attack on oil and gas
structures could do great damage to the U.S. economy. The size of
major petroleum processing facilities makes them a challenge to
secure, but they are also difficult targets given their redundant
equipment, robust construction, and inherent design to control
accidental explosions.
-- Terrorist planners probably perceive infrastructure such as dams
and powerlinespower lines as having softer defenses than other
facilities. Indeed, attacking them could cause major water and energy
shortages, drive up transportation costs, and undermine public
confidence in the government.
Be assured, Mr. Chairman, that our focus on al-Qaeda and ideologically
similar groups has not diverted our intelligence and investigative
efforts from the potential threats from groups like HAMAS and Lebanese
Hizballah. Both of these groups have significant U.S.-based
infrastructure that gives them the capability to launch terrorist
attacks inside the U.S. At the moment, neither group appears to have
sufficient incentive to abandon their current fundraising and
recruitment activities in the U.S. in favor of violence.
-- Nonetheless, HAMAS or Lebanese Hizballah could in short order
develop the capability to launch attacks should international
developments or other circumstances prompt them to undertake such
Mr. Chairman, although the most serious terrorist threat is from
non-state actors, we remain vigilant against the potential threat
posed by state sponsors of terrorism. The seven countries designated
as State Sponsors of Terrorism-Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Cuba,
and North Korea-remain active in the U.S. and continue to support
terrorist groups that have targeted Americans.
Although Iran remains a significant concern for its continued
financial and logistical support of terrorism, Iraq has moved to the
top of my list. As we previously briefed this Committee, Iraq's WMD
program poses a clear threat to our national security, a threat that
will certainly increase in the event of future military action against
Iraq. Baghdad has the capability and, we presume, the will to use
biological, chemical, or radiological weapons against U.S. domestic
targets in the event of a U.S. invasion. We are also concerned about
terrorist organizations with direct ties to Iraq-such as the Iranian
dissident group, Mujahidin-e Khalq, and the Palestinian Abu Nidal
-- Groups like the Abu Nidal Organization may target U.S. entities
overseas but probably lack the military infrastructure to conduct
organized terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. A notable exception is the
Mujahedin-e Khalq, which has a U.S. presence and proven operational
capability overseas and which cooperates with Baghdad.
-- Secretary Powell presented evidence last week that Baghdad has
failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, willfully attempting
to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular
concern is that Saddam may supply al-Qaeda with biological, chemical,
or radiological material before or during a war with the U.S. to
avenge the fall of his regime. Although divergent political goals
limit al-Qaeda's cooperation with Iraq, northern Iraq has emerged as
an increasingly important operational base for al-Qaeda associates,
and a U.S.-Iraq war could prompt Baghdad to more directly engage
Mr. Chairman, let me wrap up my discussion of the nature of the
terrorist threat to the U.S. by speaking briefly about domestic
terrorism. The events of September 11 have rightly shifted our focus
to international terrorist groups operating inside the U.S. but not to
the exclusion of domestic groups that threaten the safety of
Americans. As defined by the Patriot Act, domestic terrorism
encompasses dangerous activities within the territorial jurisdiction
of the United States that violate U.S. criminal laws and appear to be
intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence
the policy of a government, or affect the conduct of a government by
mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. Domestic terrorists
have committed the vast majority of terrorist attacks against the
continental U.S.
-- In fact, between 1980 and 2001, the FBI recorded 353 incidents or
suspected incidents of terrorism in this country; 264 of these
incidents were attributed to domestic terrorists, while 89 were
determined to be international in nature.
-- I am particularly concerned about loosely affiliated terrorists and
lone offenders, which are inherently difficult to interdict given the
anonymity of individuals that maintain limited or no links to
established terrorist groups but act out of sympathy with a larger
cause. We should not forget the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, for
example, which was carried out by individuals unaffiliated with a
larger group.
The threat of domestic terrorists launching large-scale attacks that
inflict mass casualties is low compared with that of international
terrorist groups. This is due, in part, to longstanding law
enforcement efforts against many of these groups. Here are just a few
-- Between 1999 and 2001 the FBI prevented 10 possible domestic
terrorist incidents, including two potentially large-scale,
high-casualty attacks by right-wing groups and the planned bombing of
the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1999.
-- And in June 2002, we arrested Pennsylvania Citizens Militia's
self-proclaimed leader for planning to bomb the local FBI office in
State College, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Chairman, let me spend some time, now, outlining specific steps
the FBI is taking to enhance our ability to combat the vital threats
to the United States that I have just shared with the Committee. We
have dedicated ourselves to learning the lesson of the 9/11 attacks
perpetrated by al-Qaeda and to using that knowledge to root out
terrorist networks of all types in the United States.
To effectively wage this war against terror, we have augmented our
counterterrorism resources and are making organizational enhancements
to focus our priorities. To give new focus to analysis, last year I
created an Analysis Branch in the Counterterrorism Division and
assigned it the mission of producing strategic assessments of the
terrorism threat to the United States. To date, the Analysis Branch
has produced nearly 30 in-depth analytical assessments, including the
FBI's first comprehensive assessment of the terrorist threat to the
homeland. In addition, our analysts have produced more than 200
articles for the FBI Presidential Report, a product we created for the
President and senior White House officials.
-- On top of the huge resource commitment to counterterrorism we made
between 1993 and 2001, we have received additional resources from the
Congress, as well as shifted internal resources to increase our total
staffing levels for counterterrorism since 9/11 by 36 percent. Much of
this increase has gone toward augmenting our analytic cadre. We are
funded for 226 intelligence analysts (strategic and tactical) at FBIHQ
and 125 analytical personnel in the field.
-- We have implemented a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing
training for our analytic workforce, including creating the College of
Analytical Studies, which, in conjunction with the CIA, will begin
training our new intelligence analysts this month.
-- We also created a corps of reports officers -- an entirely new and
desperately needed function for the FBI. These officers will be
responsible for identifying, extracting, and collecting intelligence
from FBI investigations and sharing that information throughout the
FBI and to other law enforcement and intelligence entities.
I have taken a number of other actions I believe will make the FBI a
more flexible, more responsive agency in our war against terrorism:
-- To improve our system for threat warnings, we have established a
number of specialized counterterrorism units. These include a Threat
Monitoring Unit, which, among other things, works hand-in-hand with
its CIA counterpart to produce a daily threat matrix; a 24-hour
Counterterrorism Watch to serve as the FBI's focal point for all
incoming terrorist threats; two separate units to analyze terrorist
communications and special technologies and applications; a section
devoted entirely to terrorist financing operations; a unit to manage
document exploitation; and others.
-- To prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction,
we have undertaken a number of initiatives. We are coordinating with
suppliers and manufacturers of WMD materials in an effort to help them
voluntarily report any suspicious purchases or inquiries.
-- To protect U.S. citizens abroad, we have expanded our Legal
AttacheAttaché and Liaison presence around the world to 46 offices.
Our presence has enhanced the FBI's ability to bring investigative
resources to bear quickly in the aftermath of terrorist acts, such as
the October 2002 shooting of USAID officer Laurence Foley in Amman and
bombing of a disco in Bali. We also assist foreign liaison in
following up terrorist leads around the world.
-- And to strengthen our cooperation with state and local law
enforcement, we are introducing counterterrorism training on a
national level. We will provide specialized counterterrorism training
to 224 agents and training technicians from every field division in
the country so that they, in turn, can train an estimated 26,800
federal, state, and local law enforcement officers this year in basic
The counterterrorism measures I have just described essentially
complete the first phase of our intelligence program. We are now
beginning the second phase that will focus on expanding and enhancing
our ability to collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence.
-- The centerpiece of this effort is the establishment of an Executive
Assistant Director for Intelligence who will have direct authority and
responsibility for the FBI=s national intelligence program.
Specifically, the EAD/I will be responsible for ensuring that the FBI
has the optimum strategies, structure, and policies in place first and
foremost for our counterterrorism mission. The EAD/I will also oversee
the intelligence programs for our counterintelligence, criminal, and
cyber divisions.
-- Furthermore, intelligence units will be established in every field
office and will function under the authority of the EAD/I.
If we are to defeat terrorists and their supporters, a wide range of
organizations must work together. I am committed to the closest
possible cooperation with the Intelligence Community and other
government agencies. Accordingly, I strongly support the President's
initiative to establish a Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC)
that will merge and analyze terrorist-related information collected
domestically and abroad. This initiative will be crucially important
to the success of our mission in the FBI, and it will take us to the
next level in being able to prevent another terrorist attack on our
-- The FBI is playing a major role as part of the multi-agency team
now working on the details, design, resource requirements and
implementation process for standing up the TTIC. We will be major
participants in the Center.
-- We are taking steps to enhance cooperation with federal, state, and
local agencies by expanding the number of joint terrorism task forces
(JTTFs) from a pre 9/11 number of 35 to 66 today. The JTTFs partner
FBI personnel with hundreds of investigators from various federal,
state, and local agencies in field offices across the country and are
important force multipliers aiding our fight against terrorism.
Furthermore, over a 90-day period beginning in March, we will provide
500 JTTF agents and state, and local law enforcement personnel with
specialized counterterrorism training and, by the end of the year,
basic counterterrorism training to every JTTF member. This is in
addition to the training initiative I mentioned previously that will
reach nearly 27,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement.
-- We also have undertaken the Joint Terrorism Task Force Information
Sharing Initiative (JTTF ISI) involving field offices in St. Louis,
San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Norfolk, and Baltimore. This pilot
project, which was first initiated in the St. Louis office, will
integrate extremely flexible search tools that will permit
investigators and analysts to perform searches on the "full text" of
investigative files-not just indices. An analyst or investigator will
be able to smoothly transition from searching text, to reviewing
results, to examining source documents, to developing link diagrams,
to generating map displays. In order to insure proper security, four
graduated levels of security access are being built into the system.
-- We created the Office of Law Enforcement Coordination (OLEC) to
enhance the ability of the FBI to forge cooperation and substantive
relationships with all of our state and local law enforcement
counterparts. The OLEC, which is run by a former Chief of Police, also
has liaison responsibilities with the White House Office of Homeland
-- We established the FBI Intelligence Bulletin, which is disseminated
weekly to over 17,000 law enforcement agencies and to 60 federal
agencies. The bulletin provides information about terrorism issues and
threats to patrol officers and other local law enforcement personnel
who have direct daily contacts with the general public, contacts which
could result in the discovery of critical information about those
issues and threats.
-- In July 2002, we established the National Joint Terrorism Task
Force (NJTTF) at FBI Headquarters, staffed by representatives from 30
different federal, state, and local agencies. The NJTTF acts as a
"point of fusion" for terrorism information by coordinating the flow
of information between Headquarters and the other JTTFs located across
the country and between the agencies represented on the NJTTF and
other government agencies.
-- Furthermore, FBI analysts are making unprecedented efforts to reach
out to the intelligence, law enforcement, government, and public
sector communities. In addition to enhancing our relationships with
agencies related to WMD, as I mentioned previously, we have
established working relationships with a host of non-traditional
agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land
Reclamation. We have also expanded our relationship with such groups
as the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast
Mr. Chairman, although the bulk of my statements today have focused on
the terrorist threats facing this country, let me emphasize that we
are not ignoring the serious threat from foreign intelligence services
and their assets, who are dedicated to using any means necessary to
obtain strategic information from the United States. Accordingly, I
would like to take a few moments to lay out the FBI's five strategic
objectives for the Counterintelligence program.
-- Of all the threats facing the United States today, the most
significant is the potential for an agent of any hostile group or
nation to enhance the capability to produce or use weapons of mass
destruction. This specifically applies to hot spots throughout the
world in which the U.S. has significant national security interests
and to which worldwide de-stabilization could result. The FBI's FCI
program considers this threat as the top counterintelligence priority
and is focused on preventing the acquisition of WMD-related
technologies from being openly or clandestinely transferred from the
U.S. Government or the private sector to any foreign power.
-- It is critically important to the U.S. Intelligence Community to
demonstrate its ongoing vigilance by ensuring that its own house is in
order. In this regard, the second strategic priority of the FBI's
counterintelligence strategy is to implement a program that is
designed to prevent any foreign power from penetrating any of the U.S.
Intelligence Community agencies in any manner. In the wake of the
unfortunate experiences of the past few years, we are working closely
with our counterintelligence partners to significantly enhance the
ability of agencies to protect their own information, while the
participating Intelligence Community ensures that penetrations do not
-- The government currently supports research and development in a
large number of agencies, in a great many locations, many of which
involve the use of thousands of government contractors. The FBI has
the responsibility to assess the threat against those projects and to
initiate operations that are directed at countering the threat. U.S.
Government entities, primarily the Departments of Energy and Defense,
constitute the primary focus of the FBI's activity in this area. The
individuals awarded research and development contracts in support of
ongoing operations and war-making capabilities constitute the highest
-- The FBI's fourth counterintelligence strategic objective is to
prevent the compromise of Critical National Assets (CNAs). The
nation's CNAs are those persons, information, assets, activity, R&D
technology, infrastructure, economic security or interests whose
compromise will damage the survival of the United States. CNAs are
likely to reside within the U.S. military, economy, and government as
this triad is the base of power that makes the United States the
superpower that it is today. The FBI has a major role in identifying
the threat against these assets and assessing their overall
-- The FBI's FCI program is responsible for conducting
counterintelligence operations, focusing on countries that constitute
the most significant threat to the United States' strategic
objectives. The FBI is applying its efforts towards a greater
understanding of the threat posed by each of these countries as they
pertain to information that would further terrorism, espionage,
proliferation, economic espionage, the national information
infrastructure, U.S. Government perception management, and foreign
intelligence activities.
Let me conclude by saying that the nature of the threat facing the
U.S. homeland continues to evolve. The FBI is tackling this threat
head-on. In order to successfully continue to do so, we, as an
organization, must be flexible enough to adapt our mission and our
resources to stay one step ahead of our enemies. Mr. Chairman and
members of the Committee, I can assure this Committee and the American
people that the men and women of the FBI recognize the need to adapt
and are, in fact, transforming the FBI into a world-class intelligence
I thank you for your attention and look forward to your questions.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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