SPEECH OF JOHN P. O'NEILL
Spanish Police Foundation
July 10, 2001
Good morning. Thank you for your invitation to the beautiful city of Madrid. It is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss law enforcement coordination, cooperation, how it functions, and in some cases does not function, in the multipolice environment of the United States and how U.S. agencies partner with the private sector to work together to reduce crime.
As a representative of the federal branch of the U.S. Government's law enforcement community, I want to thank the Spanish Police Foundation and the University for this opportunity to come together with law enforcement colleagues and share experiences and best practices. I am very interested to learn from your experiences here in Europe and my colleagues in the U.S. continue to study the dramatic changes occurring in European Law Enforcement as a result of the European Union.
In 1998, Thomas Friedman wrote an opinion article in The New York Times editorial section. In the article he discussed the three innovations which each company and/or country in the world would have to develop to be successful in the New Millennium.
First, he discussed the importance of information management -- the need to not only collect information but the need to analyze, store, and retrieve this information in a usable format. How much more successful could we all be if we really knew what our agencies really know?
Second, he discussed the critical need for self-inspection and analysis and the ability to reinvent companies and governments based upon emerging trends and patterns. We do this everyday in addressing new crime patterns and the new ways criminals commit frauds and crimes against persons and properties. We continue to perfect new ways to more rapidly identify emerging crime trends and reinvent ways our agencies can respond more effectively and efficiently to these crimes.
And lastly, Friedman discusses in his article the need for companies and countries to strategically partner. This is what we have come to discuss here. If the United Airlines can partner with Delta Airlines and Iberia Airlines can partner with American Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airlines, why can we not continue the all important work of strategic partnering both within the U.S. and countries of Europe, and throughout the free world? We can also look to develop better partnership between the public and private sector in many areas.
Given finite resources and the increasing complexity of criminal and national security investigations, partnering is the centerpiece of how we in the U.S. function in accomplishing our mission. Today, to best explain this approach, I will concentrate my remarks on three areas: the U.S. law enforcement structure and cooperation in the United States, partnering between the public and private sector, and coordination with police in other countries.
-U.S. Law Enforcement Structure in the United States
It is important to clarify that the United States does NOT have a national police force. Rather, we maintain a decentralized police system in line with core American values which would be in opposition to vesting total law enforcement authority with any one agency. The U.S. federal law enforcement system encompasses about a dozen agencies which are accountable to federal cabinet level ministries and the President of the United States, with oversight by Congress. Many of these agencies are singlemission departments, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, charged with enforcement of drug laws, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which investigates tax evasion, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, charged with enforcement of federal firearms statutes and the investigation of non-terrorist arsons and bombings. The United States Secret Service is responsible for the protection of the President, Vice President, and other official heads of state who visit the U.S. and for the enforcement of our counterfeiting laws. The FBI is the primary investigative agency for the U.S. Government, charged with enforcement of over 125 federal violations.
All fifty U.S. states maintain their own statewide police agencies that are independent of the federal government. State police departments are accountable to their governor and the legislative guidelines of their states. You may be interested to hear that there is some variance from state to state on a number of investigative thresholds such as what constitutes drunk driving, for example. In addition to state police forces, there are approximately 17,000 local police agencies in communities across the United States, including county and city forces. There are also a number of special category police forces tasked with single interest authority, such as university campus police or park police.
U.S. law enforcement agencies at all three levels -- national, state, and local -- are increasingly integrating their efforts to combat criminal activities. When crime crosses over local, state, and national lines, which is the rule rather than the exception, cooperation must be the centerpiece of our effort and cooperative investigative resources are pooled in more an more cases
Federal law enforcement works side by side with state and local law enforcement in a number of ways. We make tremendous use of liaison as it is clear that we must all work together to accomplish national priority objectives. We have found an especially effective way to make this work, through the use of interagency task forces. A task force is always a successful way of pooling resources and specializations and ensuring everyone gets credit for the good work that is accomplished. The law enforcement community makes use of task forces for a variety of investigative topics ranging from drugs, violent crime, child pornography, organized crime, and terrorism.
As an example, in the area of terrorism, federal law enforcement works with state and local law enforcement through Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) to maximize interagency cooperation and coordination in addressing terrorism problems within the United States. JTTFs currently exist in 30 U.S. cities where 620 FBI Special Agents work side-by-side with over 486 local, state, and other federal law enforcement personnel. This initiative enhances interagency coordination, sharing of intelligence, and the capacity to obtain arrests and convictions in counterterrorism investigations. Experts from all agencies are marshaled together for maximum results and this system of task forces has reduced interagency fighting to an almost not-existent level.
From a violent crime perspective, U.S. federal law enforcement agencies work with state and local law police through SAFE STREETS TASK FORCES (SSTFs). SSTFs attack the gangs most responsible for violence through longterm, proactive, multi-agency efforts focusing on crimes of violence and the apprehension of violent fugitives. There are 175 SSTFs operating in 52 FBI field offices. They team nearly 730 FBI agents with 135 other federal agents and some 1,235 state and local law enforcement officers. Since the inception of SSTFs in 1992, violent crime rates in the United States have dropped for a variety of reasons, one of which is the contributions of the SSTF. Since the beginning of this initiative, there have been almost 192,895 arrests and over 61,370 convictions or pretrial diversions.
Our work on strategic planning in the U.S. continues to be refined, however, much more work must be done. We have relied on formal Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that are signed agreements which detail all parties' duties and responsibilities. These agreements cover deputization -- where all state and local law enforcement officers are first subjected to a detailed background investigation and must meet the same standards as FBI Special Agents. Thereafter, they are deputized as federal officers to establish their full competency and to cover liability issues. There are issues of compensation of overtime for state and local officers; on report writing -- one common, uniformed reporting system. The federal system for all personnel assigned to the task force is used. This information is then exchanged with the other agencies on the task force. Issues of supervision, of conflict resolution, and even the issue of which agency will provide the vehicles and who will pay for the gasoline, are covered by the MOUs.
Training is an area where additional refinement is needed. When bringing multiple agency personnel together, we must remember that each agency trains to various degrees differently. Enforcement actions such as car stops, and building entries/searches must be practiced by all members of the newly formed joint teams so all understand a common system. Firearms training and legal instruction fall under these same categories of common training needs.
When it comes time to take credit for the success of the task force's actions, even if an agency has only one officer on the task force, I believe all agencies must be given equal public credit. This can be accomplished through formal press conferences and/or releases.
Having said all of that, I still believe that it is personal relationships that make the success of these multi-agency endeavors. Relationships at all levels are important. From the officer/detective/agent level to the top bosses and all ranks in between, personal relationships and dedication to the common goal are the ingredients of success. For those of us at senior levels, I believe it is a critical element of leadership to foster excellent personal relationships with our colleagues and let our subordinates emulate our example.
-Services and Shared Resources
State and local law enforcement also interact frequently with various federal service organizations. In the increasingly globalized and high-tech environment in which modern law enforcement agencies must operate, information sharing, training, and technical assistance programs are an important aspect of the teamwork and partnership necessary to effectively handle the current investigative workload. Various law enforcement agencies provide a wide array of services and assistance programs ranging from criminal investigative issues, forensics, and technological expertise. As a manager in the FBI, I can share with you firsthand a few of the services we provide; most if not all are similar to those services provided by your European police agencies, which are complemented by a variety of other programs within the general law enforcement community.
The FBI Training Division operates the FBI National Academy (NA) at Quantico, Virginia, which provides professional development training and education to international, state, and local law enforcement organizations. The NA is one of the oldest law enforcement training programs in the world. Since 1935, over 30,000 graduates have completed the eleven-week law enforcement management course. The 205th NA class graduated on June 8, 2001. The FBI also trains over 120,233 state and local police officers annually in the 3,319 courses it conducts in the United States.
The FBI Laboratory, which provides forensic and other scientific investigative support services, has secured interagency cooperation well since the mid-1930s. In particular, Evidence Response Teams specialize in organizing and conducting major evidence recovery operations and have made significant contributions in key investigations, including the Oklahoma City and U.S. Embassy bombings. The Laboratory also manages a national DNA indexing system that enables forensic laboratories throughout the country to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking unsolved crimes to each other and known violent offenders.
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) is also an important link between the FBI and state and local law enforcement. CJIS provides fingerprint identification services and access to various important law enforcement repositories and automated communication networks. The CJIS Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) provides two hour turnaround for electronic criminal submissions and 24-hour turnaround for civil fingerprint submissions. During the year 2000, 15,321,339 fingerprint cards were processed, resulting in 6,209,404 identifications being made against existing records. The National Crime Information Center 2000 (NCIC 2000), a national computer index of documented crime and criminals and the brainchild of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, serves more than 107,000 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies and averages 2.3 million transactions per day. The National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS), operational since Nov. 30, 1998, has facilitated more than 19 million checks, resulting in over 160,000 gun purchases being denied.
An excellent illustration of the advantages and necessity of a cooperative law enforcement approach to counterterrorism is the interagency federal, state, and local collaboration surrounding the apparent millennial bomb plot in December 1999. On Dec. 14, Ahmed Ressam was arrested at the U.S.-Canadian border after attempting to enter the United States at Port Angeles, Washington (near Seattle). In Ressam's rented vehicle, U.S. Customs Agents found items that could be used to make several explosive devices. On Dec. 30, the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) initiated a proactive effort to interview individuals in the United States who may have had information potentially helpful to ongoing counterterrorism investigations.
Ressam's arrest, the subsequent detainment of several other individuals attempting to enter the United States via Canada, and events in other parts of the world triggered a broad-based effort by the U.S. Intelligence and law enforcement community to determine the nature of the Millennial threat facing the United States. Over 100 interviews were conducted nationwide in the days prior to the millennium. Police officers across the United States assigned to the terrorism task forces conducted many of these critical interviews, as they are full partners in our combined efforts to prevent acts of terrorism. The coordinated approach of federal, state, and local law enforcement entities was integral to efforts to disrupt the alleged terrorist plot and greatly contributed to the presentation of evidence in trial of Ahmed Ressam, which concluded on April 6, 2001. The Los Angeles jury found him guilty on nine federal counts. He has now agreed to cooperate and is currently giving testimony against other conspirators in a trial in New York City.
-Cooperation with Civil Society: Business and Public Interest
Law enforcement also maintains frequent contact with the public to stay on top of a wide range of issues and potential threats, working with both activists and even militia groups to try to circumvent potential crime problems. A growing area of concern for law enforcement officials is the issue of civil disturbances. As anti-globalization and animal rights protests have increased in both volume and intensity in recent years, law enforcement has increasingly reached out to these groups to try to facilitate working relationships and prevent acts of violence at controversial special events such as World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund meetings.
U.S. law enforcement also conducts liaison with counterparts in the private sector and academia, as appropriate. This liaison allows our agencies to exchange information and technological best practices and expertise, as well as provide information on warnings, as appropriate.
Liaison with the private sector is especially important due to the growing problem of cyber crime and potential infrastructure threats. Our ability to deal with these growing crime problems requires the support of both the business community and international law enforcement partners. The Love Letter virus of May 2000 and the denial-of-service attacks against Yahoo!, Amazon.com, E-bay, CNN, Buy.com, and other e-commerce sites in February 2000 underscore the threat to our information infrastructure. From these examples, you can see that there is a "marriage" between traditional law enforcement agencies and the public and business communities for the purpose of public safety. It is a marriage that works.
We in U.S. law enforcement came to the public recognition in the mid-1990s that law enforcement could not solve all crime problems, let alone the causes of crime alone. We realized we needed help and cooperation from the private sector and the communities at large if we were to succeed against the growing crime trend. Partnering with businesses, individually and umbrella business groups, along with community groups and ethnic and religious leaders, has paid large dividends in our efforts to reduce crime in America.
Here are just a few examples of what we are doing: The U.S. government's interagency National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), currently operating out of the FBI, has two programs to create partnerships with the private sector. First, our Key Asset Initiative (KAI) facilitates response to threats and intrusion incidents by building liaison and communication links with the owners and operators of individual companies in the critical infrastructure sectors and enabling contingency planning.
The second is the InfraGard initiative. This is an initiative that we have developed in concert with private companies and academia to encourage information-sharing about cyber intrusions, exploited vulnerabilities, and physical infrastructure threats. A vital component of InfraGard is the ability of industry to provide information on intrusions to the local FBI field office using secure e-mail communications in both a "sanitized" and detailed format. We can use the detailed version to initiate an investigation; while NIPC can analyze that information in conjunction with other information we obtain to determine if the intrusion is part of a broader attack on numerous sites. The NIPC can simultaneously use the sanitized version to inform other members of the intrusion without compromising the confidentiality of the reporting company.
The damage that cyber intruders can do is enormous and underscores the importance of teamwork among the law enforcement community and private sector to combat emerging high tech threats. The high stake consequences are underscored by the "Love Bug" incident. On May 4, 2000 the world awoke to find itself stricken with the "Love Bug," a virus that traveled as an attachment to an e-mail message and propagated itself extremely rapidly through the address books of Microsoft Outlook users. The virus reportedly infected large corporations such as AT&T, TWA, and Ford Motor Company; media outlets such as the Washington Post, and ABC news; international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the British Parliament, and Belgium's banking system; state governments; school systems; and credit unions, among many others, forcing them to take their networks off-line for hours. Damage estimates from the virus range upwards of $10 billion and illustrate the importance of a coordinated and rapid response to cyber intrusions, with law enforcement and the business community working side by side.
A relatively new function in our law enforcement community that illustrates the need for information sharing is the process of providing warnings of violent crime, particularly terrorism. Warning is critical to the prevention of terrorist acts. Rapid and efficient exchange of information among law enforcement and intelligence agencies can make an enormous difference in identifying, detecting, and deterring planned attacks before they occur.
Proactive threat warning is an area where federal law enforcement is taking a leadership role enhancing interagency cooperation and communication and managing the National Threat Warning System (NTWS). This system ensures that vital information regarding terrorism reaches those in the U.S. Counterterrorism and law enforcement communities responsible for countering terrorist threats.
The NTWS provides warnings to over 60 U.S. government agencies and subcomponents and to over 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada via the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS). Warnings are also provided to over 100,000 private sector security personnel via the "Awareness of National Security Issues and Response" (ANSIR) program.
In its effort to facilitate an agency-wide understanding of terrorist organizations, motivations, and potential dates of significance, the U.S. law enforcement community collects, analyzes, and disseminates a wide variety of threat assessment and warning communications to interagency partners.
Recent examples of threat warnings provided to interagency partners include an assessment of the terrorist threat in the United States approaching the Millennium, an advisory on threats surrounding the trial of four defendants charged in connection with the East Africa Embassy bombings, an assessment concerning the conviction of suspected international terrorist Ahmed Ressam, and an assessment regarding a call for militant "direct action" targeting U.S. interests by eco-terrorists.
-Cooperation with Police in Other Countries
As you are aware, both criminal and national security threats are increasingly transcending traditional investigative boundaries and becoming more intertwined, multifaceted, and technical in nature. Various developments, to include the expansion of global trade, the vulnerability of emerging nation states, and the easing of international travel restrictions have contributed to the globalization of crime and terrorism.
The rise of the networked society has further compounded the internationalization of crime and terrorism as foreign perpetrators have the capacity to exploit communications and financial systems and target a country's interests while operating within their own national borders. The control and management of critical infrastructures by computers, to include electrical power and transportation systems, makes them increasingly vulnerable to cyber intrusions. Advances in information technology and global communications have also made access to the materials and information necessary to conduct physical attacks more readily available and provided a vehicle for mobilizing support.
As you know, the cumulative result of all of this is that our national boundaries are becoming increasingly vulnerable and virtually irrelevant. As an example, organized criminal enterprises that were once confined largely to Russia are now entrenched in such diverse places as the United States, Japan, Spain, and Israel, and they are finding new ways to exploit people and commit crimes all over the world. Our nations are grappling with international drug rings and the pipeline of narcotics that flows not only to the United States but to Europe and elsewhere.
Terrorists have become perhaps the most dangerous criminals, willing to travel around the globe to commit acts of violence to express their radical beliefs. As we saw in Yemen in October 2000, they sometimes even turn themselves into suicide bombers, taking their own lives to inflict massive casualties on unsuspecting people. None of our nations are immune from this rise of radicalism.
U.S. law enforcement is committed to doing its share internationally to preserve and facilitate the rule of law. In fact, it is a key part of the mission we have been given by our government -- to support law enforcement agencies here and around the world.
We look forward to working with you in the future. The relationships between all international law enforcement partners is critical, it is -- International Strategic Partnering. U.S. law enforcement is absolutely convinced, from the directions we have seen crime take these last several years, that our success in protecting the people of the United States is directly related to your success, to the strength and effectiveness of your law enforcement efforts and vice versa.
Let me tell you why that's so true. You know about the various U.S. federal law enforcement offices we have set up around the world in partnership with many different nations. As I can speak to the work of the FBI in this effort, our offices, called Legal Attaches, pursued more than 15,000 leads in 1998 for investigations begun by Special Agents back in the United States. By now, the number of leads has doubled.
These numbers, though, don't begin to tell the story of how important and critical these legal attache offices stationed abroad are to partnership in mutual investigations.
They don't tell the story of the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa in the summer of 1998 and how interagency law enforcement personnel in Pretoria and Cairo raced to the disaster sites and helped to quickly control the crime scenes -- a critical component in the eventual success of the investigation.
They don't tell how our interagency and international partners in Manila helped track down within hours the Philippine student who unleashed the deadly "love bug" virus earlier this year that rung up roughly ten billion worth of damage worldwide. What a team.
They don't tell how three different overseas offices and interagency partners around the world -- in Panama City, Copenhagen, and Tallin, Estonia -- helped piece together in lightning speed the complex cyber-trail left by a North Carolina man who had bombed two large department stores and was threatening to blow up more. The work of those abroad turned up vital information on overseas accounts that ultimately gave us the name, address, and telephone number of the perpetrator, who was later arrested, convicted, and sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.
The U.S. law enforcement community and FBI were successful in each of these investigations only because of your help. That is why U.S. law enforcement is so committed to building positive relationships with you and other law enforcement professionals around the world.
-Case Example: The 2002 Winter Olympics. Salt Lake City, Utah
A good way for me to conclude my presentation is with an example of where everything we've been discussing today comes together. There is perhaps no better illustration of the importance of a concerted effort to integrate law enforcement efforts at the local, state, national, and international levels than Olympic security preparations. And how appropriate it is to look at these issues as we approach the 30th anniversary of the attack in Munich, Germany in 1972.
As you know from your successful 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, an immense amount of interagency communication and cooperation is critical to ensuring the success and safety of Olympic Events. Your team did an outstanding job in Barcelona. We in the United States hope to emulate your efforts with our upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Already, U.S. law enforcement personnel at the federal, state, and local level are working side-by-side along with international partners, such as yourselves, to help in the realization of a safe and secure Olympics. The United States sent a delegation from our law enforcement community to assist with the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia and we hope to carry on the best practices gleaned there to our own events. In preparation for future Olympics, a Greek National Police Officer is currently assigned to the Salt Lake City law enforcement effort.
Planning for the public safety and security of the Games has already required an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination among the myriad of local, state, federal and international law enforcement entities with responsibilities associated with the Games. There exists an unquestioned consensus among these agencies that it is impossible for any single law enforcement agency to possess all the resources required and expertise necessary to accomplish this task alone.
Task forces, by design, are excellent vehicles for bringing to bear the specialized resources of interagency partners and the mechanism being utilized to coordinate efforts for security efforts in Salt Lake. In May 2000, the FBI established the Olympic Joint Terrorism Task Force (OJTTF), which is comprised of over 40 full and part-time local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and agents representing dozens of agencies and jurisdictions. The OJJTF is capable of collecting and analyzing intelligence and investigating matters in virtually any jurisdiction at any level. This ability has proven to enhance law enforcement efforts across the country and will serve to greatly enhance Olympic public safety and security operations.
At the international level, the FBI and the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command have invited senior law enforcement officers from the nations of Greece and Italy (2004 and 2006 Olympics respectively) to participate in all aspects of Olympic security planning. The Salt Lake FBI Office continues to receive frequent communications from foreign law enforcement entities requesting information and assistance regarding the Games. The FBI will continue to facilitate their inclusion in Olympic planning and functions to make the event a success. We are also working with the International Olympic committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, the host Olympic Committee, the various major sponsors, all of the vendors, big and small, who will service the Olympic Games and all of the businesses that will be affected, good or bad, by these games. Cooperation, outreach and understanding are critical to the success of the public safety efforts at these Olympic Games. The public and private sectors are married at these games.
Planning for the public safety and security essential for hosting a safe and successful Games has long been recognized as every agency's primary objective. However, in the process of planning for the realization of this goal I believe that each of the law enforcement agencies involved has already accomplished something of equal importance. I am speaking of the partnerships that have been created at all levels of law enforcement which have been required to advance the Olympic public safety and security planning process. These partnerships will exist as a legacy long after the 17 days of the XIX Olympiad have past.
Crime is a global phenomenon, and it demands a global response. Yes, that is making our jobs more difficult, dangerous, and demanding. But it's also having a positive impact on our profession. It's bringing us closer together. It's giving us the chance to exchange ideas and strategies and build relationships that are professionally rewarding and personally satisfying. It's drawing our nations into a tighter, more close-knit community. The result is that law enforcement around the globe has never been more professional and effective.
So, on behalf of the U.S. Government FBI, I want to wish you all a productive conference. Thank you for being here and best of luck in your future endeavors.
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