Home News Testimony Evaluation of the FBI's Investigative Priorities
  • Francis A. Gallagher
  • Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division, Organized Crime, Drugs, Violent Crimes and Major Offenders Branch
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
  • Washington, DC
  • December 05, 2001

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for the privilege of allowing me to testify here today. As you all know, on 9/11 the way we do business changed. It changed for the FBI, it changed for all law enforcement, it changed for all of America. Now we must make some of the changes we experienced permanent and develop other changes or other ways of doing business and serving the American public, if we are to be an effective and an efficient national law enforcement agency.

The FBI has jurisdictional responsibility for over 300 classifications of Federal crimes. Some of them are exclusively the jurisdiction of the FBI and some of them are violations where we share jurisdiction with other agencies, either Federal, State or local agencies. Some of these violations, which we investigate with shared jurisdiction, are ones where the other agency doesn't have the capacity to shoulder these investigations alone. An example of this would be crimes occurring in Indian country, where the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) shares jurisdiction, but BIA doesn't have the capacity to handle the volume of cases or the required expertise for some cases. Drug violations are also ones we share with many other agencies. However, the way drugs have permeated our society and lead to so many other violations, and the way they are part and parcel of so many criminal enterprises, our jurisdiction is necessary to try to fully investigate criminal organizations.

In 1998, the FBI established a five year strategic plan to set investigative priorities in line with a three tiered structure. Tier 1 comprises those crimes or intelligence problems, which threaten our national or economic security. Tier 2 involves offenses which involve criminal enterprises or those which adversely affect our public integrity. Tier 3 includes violations which affect individuals or property. In line with this plan, we have increasingly enhanced the resources dedicated to the areas of Counterintelligence (CI) and Counterterrorism (CT).

Let me discuss how the recent terrorism incidents have affected the resources assigned to the FBI. Our budget authorizes the FBI to have 8883 Special Agents to conduct investigations in the field (this does not include those assigned as managers in the field offices, those assigned to FBIHQ or those assigned to international or special assignments). Prior to 9/11, 73% or about 6,500 of these agents were assigned to criminal investigative program matters - that is, Organized Crime, White Collar Crime, Drugs, Violent Crime or Civil Rights. A little over two percent were assigned to Applicant matters. The remaining 25% were assigned to CI or CT matters.

Following the terrorist incidents, about 67% or more than 4,000 of those Agents in the field, who previously worked criminal investigative matters, were diverted to conduct investigation related to Penttbom or the subsequent Anthrax letters and hoax letters. Also, agents were diverted to cultivating relationships within the Arab American community or working Hate Crimes directed against individuals of Middle Eastern descent. During the first two weeks after 9/11, all Agents, both those working the terrorist related matters as well as those who continued working the traditional criminal violations, worked on average over 13 hours a day.

We are continuing to utilize almost 3,000 Agents more than we are budgeted for to investigate counterterrorism. Presently, our utilization of agent resources is showing a gradual return to more normal levels. We are now using more than 55% of what had previously been our criminal investigative resources on those violations. However, with the increased emphasis on the prevention of any terrorist act, it is doubtful that we will ever return to the same staffing levels for each program which existed prior to 9/11.

Prior to 9/11, the FBI was usually involved in about 250 assessments and responses related to suspected weapons of mass destruction events per year, some of which were anthrax hoaxes. During the first three weeks of October alone, we have had more than 3,300 of these occurances, which included 2,500 suspected anthrax incidents. Additionally, 278 hate crime allegations associated with the events of 9/11 have been investigated.

To date, 36 of our 56 field offices have established Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs), most of which existed prior to 9/11, and the Director has instructed that all field offices establish a JTTF as soon as it is possible. The FBI has established a Financial Review Group (FRG) which is a multi-agency international task force investigating all funding avenues utilized by the terrorist networks.

In order to effectively address the terrorism threats and traditional crime problems which the FBI faces on a long term basis, the Director has developed an internal reorganization plan. This reorganization plan has received Congressional approval and the FBI is moving forward. The initial stages of our reorganization will be at the headquarters level and should not create any discernable effect to the public eye.

In this overall reorganization, there are many factors to consider, including the long term shifting of resources from traditional criminal investigative priorities to counterterrorism. However, decisions concerning resource allocation to the various criminal programs has not been finalized. There is an ongoing comprehensive examination of all the criminal violations, which the FBI addresses to assist in this reorganization. Our continued involvement in multi-agency task forces addressing multiple crime problems will be of the utmost importance. All of our field offices have established various task forces, in addition to the JTTFs, designed to address a myriad of traditional crime problems. These task forces not only help to enhance the FBI's resources by establishing law enforcement links with local, State and other Federal agencies, but enhance the sharing of intelligence which crosses criminal program lines. We intend to focus our efforts on significant criminal enterprises and the most serious personal and economic crimes to address community safety and violations within prosecutive guidelines.

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman for allowing me to testify today and I am happy to answer any questions you or the members of the Subcommittee may have.

 
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