Home News Speeches The FBI: Modernizing to Meet the Threats of the 21st Century
  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Baltimore Field Office Dedication
  • Baltimore, MD
  • October 15, 2004

Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here in Baltimore. I am happy to see our Baltimore Field Office finally getting the space and the facilities it needs. With this new building, activities that were spread over six different spaces will now be joined under one roof.

Let me acknowledge a few of our guests here today:

1) Thank you Bishop Wilson for giving us the invocation;
2) Imam Hendi and Rabbi Serotta;
3) Superintendent of the Delaware State Police Colonel Aaron Chaffinch;
4) We have a number of police chiefs and sheriffs with us;
5) Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith;
6) U.S. Attorneys Thomas DiBaggio from the District of Maryland and Colm Connolly from the District of Delaware;
7) Senators Mukulski and Sarbanes;

8) And I am pleased to see Connie Mosca, who will join me in cutting the ribbon. She has served the Baltimore Division for 53 years. This is her third building in that time, so she was there almost 32 years ago when the Baltimore FBI Office moved into its most recent location on Ambassador Road.

At that time, Richard Nixon was President and the Oakland A's won the 69th World Series. The building was home to about 150 special agents and 100 support staff. Today, there are around 200 special agents and 180 support staff.

At that time there were no joint task forces. Today, more than 80 full time members, representing 60 federal, state and local departments, participate on five separate task forces.

A lot of things have changed since then. And just as change has caused this office to outgrow its old building, change has caused the FBI to work in new ways.

For one thing, we are getting new, modern facilities here in Baltimore and elsewhere – in fact, the Albuquerque Field Office is having its ribbon cutting today as well.

We are growing and modernizing to meet the threats of the 21st Century. To fulfill our primary mission of protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, we have changed our priorities. As a result, our top three priorities are counterterrorism, counterintelligence and cyber security.

Back in 1972, we had not envisioned working Terrorism or Cyber Crimes. FBI investigative mainstays were organized crime, violent crime, white collar crime and foreign counterintelligence. It was a simpler time.

Let me give you an example of the type of criminal case we confront today.

Just last spring, a United States scientific research station located in Antarctica, of all places, called us for help after their systems had been hacked into and their data corrupted. Because of the sub-freezing temperatures, it was impossible to send Agents to the scene – no aircraft could land or take off from the site for months.

But working from thousands of miles away, our investigators were able to trace the source of the intrusion to a server outside Pittsburgh. From there, we identified two suspects in Romania responsible for the intrusion. Thanks to the cooperation and hard work of the Romanian authorities, they were arrested outside Bucharest.

The FBI of 32 years ago could not have imagined conducting remote operations in Antarctica. Or working hand-in-hand with police in Romania based on data from a server in Pittsburgh. It is a whole new world.

That was a new type of criminal case, but today our number one priority is counterterrorism. Unfortunately, we are not as free to talk about most of those cases. But you have seen the news stories – ricin and anthrax investigations, smugglers trying to sell weapons of mass destruction. The threat from terrorism is real, and it is being investigated by every FBI office.

This has required us to adapt. Baltimore is a good example of an office that has moved successfully to working counterterrorism cases. I am told that, following September 11, a number of senior agents took leadership roles in pushing for that change. That took courage. Change is never easy.

To meet the threat of terrorism there are two things the FBI must do. We must continue improving our intelligence capabilities and strengthening our partnerships with state and local law enforcement. We have made progress in these areas, but we must keep going.

The FBI has always excelled at gathering intelligence, facts, and evidence. We needed to combine those capabilities with better analysis and dissemination. Today, we have woven intelligence into everything we do.

Essential to improving our intelligence capabilities, is improving our ability to share that information with other members of the law enforcement and intelligence communities. Partnerships are more important than ever, and we must continue to improve our relationships with our counterparts at the federal, state, local, and international level.

Officers on the street are on the front lines of the war against terrorism. They are the ones who know their communities, who know when something is not right. They are the ones conducting traffic stops that provide hits from terrorism watch lists. They are the eyes and ears in the fight against terrorism. We learn from them and must share whatever information we can to help them protect their communities.

All of us are more effective and more efficient when we work together. Law enforcement at all levels is trying to do more than ever before. Resources are strapped. Again the Baltimore FBI office has set an example by forming a joint task force with the Baltimore County police and the Baltimore City police. Together, they are making the most of available resources to investigate area bank robberies.

Given the global nature of the threats we now face, we in the FBI must also work more closely with our counterparts overseas. One way we do this is by bringing officers from around the world to the FBI Academy for training. This has resulted in unprecedented cooperation. After the bombing in Riyadh in May of last year, we sent a team to help the Saudis investigate. As our counterparts there told us, "we have trained together, now we can work together."

All of us must work together as never before. Terrorists, international criminal organizations, and computer hackers operate without borders or boundaries. This world of new threats requires that all of us contribute to the mission of protecting our country.

Modern facilities like this are essential to that mission, and I want to thank everyone who helped make this new building possible.

Let me mention just a few of the people who contributed to this project:

1) Builder Chris Penrose;
2) GSA Project Manager Skojae Cha;
3) Regional Administrator for the General Services Administration Barbara Shelton;
4) Space Management Supervisor Frances Kern;
5) Project Manager Dave Harvilak, who is also a retired special agent; and
6) Baltimore Administrative Officer Chuck Mosebach.


I also want to thank our local law enforcement partners for their cooperation and support. We cannot do our jobs without you. Thank you for coming today to celebrate this new office with us.

And I want to thank the men and women of the Baltimore Division for their service. You are the reason we are meeting these new challenges. Your dedication, integrity and hard work are what make the FBI a very special place in which to work.

History tells us that the FBI responds in whatever way needed to protect the citizens of this country. With time and effort, the FBI will be like this new building. It will be better, stronger, and more modern – able to meet whatever challenges lay ahead.

It is to that effort I dedicate this building and to which I ask that we in the FBI and all of law enforcement dedicate ourselves.

Thank you and God bless you.

 
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