Home News Speeches Evolving Law Enforcement Threats
  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Dedication of the Houston Field Office
  • Houston, Texas
  • November 04, 2009

Good morning, and thank you, Rick. It is an honor to be here. And it is good to see so many of our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement.

I would also like to recognize some of the many individuals who guided this project every step of the way:

  • We are glad to have George Prochaska from GSA with us today. Thank you, George, for your words.
  • My thanks to Pat Findlay and his team.
  • And a special thanks to the many individuals from the Houston Division, who worked so hard to transform this building from vision into reality.

Thank you for your patience, your professionalism, and your perfectionism—all of which are on display behind me.

Whenever we dedicate a new FBI building, we usually hear it described as “beautiful.” But I understand there is some debate on that particular adjective in this case. Some have called it the “Emerald City,” and others refer to it as the “Green Monster.”

Now, I am a former Boston resident. For those of us that are Red Sox fans, “Green Monster” has a slightly different connotation.It can be a great thing or a terrible thing—depending on who is up to bat at Fenway Park.

And besides, beauty is a sliding scale. Speaking for those of us who work at FBI Headquarters, which was built in a style appropriately called “Brutalism,” it is safe to say this building rates fairly high in comparison!

We may not all choose the same adjective to describe our impressions of the building—but we can probably all agree that it is “hard to miss,” and more importantly, “state-of-the-art.”

Texas has been the epicenter of many high-profile investigations since the FBI’s inception over a century ago. The infamous fugitives Bonnie and Clyde often come to mind as examples of the challenge to law enforcement during what we call the “Gangster Era.” Criminals made a habit of crossing state lines to evade local law enforcement.

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Criminals are still fleeing jurisdictions to escape law enforcement—only today, they can cross international borders as easily as state boundaries.

The threats we face in Texas and throughout the country have indeed changed dramatically since the Houston office was established in 1940. Today, the agents, task force officers, and analysts working inside this building investigate everything from cyber crime to organized crime; from public corruption to espionage; and from violent gangs to terrorism.

As threats have evolved, so has our approach to law enforcement. It has become clear that no one agency, community, or even country can prevent crime and terrorism on its own. We must sit at one table.  We must work as one team. This new building allows us to do just that.

Constructing a facility like this presents unique challenges. The individuals who actually did the construction might perhaps define “challenges” as “headaches.”

We did not just need more room for us to work—we needed more room for our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement to work. We did not just need more physical space—we needed more secure space. And we did not just need basic technological capabilities—we needed strong, secure technology to help us meet our mission.

Within these walls, we have all that, and more. And to top it off, this office is not only a green building in the literal sense, it is also “green” in the environmental sense.

FBI Houston employees used to be scattered across different floors and even different parts of the city. But with over 300 thousand square feet, there is now room for all of them in this building.

Better still, there is room for many of our law enforcement partners. Officers assigned to the Houston Joint Terrorism Task Force and several criminal task forces can now call this building home.

And there are now thousands of square feet dedicated to training our partner agencies in everything from computer forensics to evidence response.

The agents and analysts of the Houston Field Intelligence Group can now collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence from a secure space.

Our large and modern command post will give us the ability we need to run high-profile or complex investigations from a single point.

In short, this building gives us the room we need to train for our mission, and to accomplish our mission. And not a moment too soon, because the challenges we face have never been greater.

But it is important to remember that this building is merely bricks and mortar. The men and women of the Houston Division, and all our partners, are its heart. Without you, there would be no reason to dedicate this office.

And so I want to thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are the reason we are meeting today’s challenges. Your fidelity, bravery, and integrity make the FBI a special place in which to serve.

Sam Houston once said, “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.” Generations later, his words ring true for all Americans.

We will continue to resist every source of oppression and lawlessness—whether it comes from corrupt CEOs, cyber criminals, gang members, or terrorists.

Whenever the safety and freedom of the American people have been threatened, law enforcement has answered the call. The history of the Houston office shows us the FBI will do whatever it takes to defend our citizens and secure our freedoms.

This is more than our history; it is also our future.

As the threats continue to change, and our enemies continue to adapt, so will we. And like this new building, the FBI is stronger, more flexible, and more modern—able to rise to any challenges that lie ahead.

 
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