Home News Testimony Strengthening Our Intelligence Capabilities
  • Willie T. Hulon
  • Executive Assistant Director, National Security Branch
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Statement Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Washington, DC
  • October 23, 2007

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, Vice Chairman Bond, and Members of the Committee. I am pleased to be here today to discuss the FBI's progress in strengthening its intelligence capabilities to protect our homeland.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the FBI's priorities shifted as we charted a new course, with national security at the forefront of our mission to protect America. The intervening six years have seen significant changes at the FBI. Although we recognize that there is much more work to be done, we have made remarkable progress. The FBI has been engaged in a continuous effort to build its intelligence program. We must continue to evolve as the threat evolves. Today, the FBI is a stronger organization, combining greater capabilities with the longstanding commitment to the security of the United States, while upholding the Constitution and protecting civil liberties.

Chief among the changes has been the enhancement of an intelligence program, which we began implementing in early 2002. In 2003, we created an Office of Intelligence, which was charged with creating a single program to manage all FBI intelligence production activities. We also expanded our analytic, reporting, and intelligence capabilities.

Since that time, the 9/11 Commission, the WMD Commission, and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) have offered additional recommendations and guidance on how to further strengthen the FBI's intelligence program. In response, in February 2005 the FBI officially established the Directorate of Intelligence as a dedicated and integrated intelligence service within the FBI. In September 2005, we implemented a presidential directive based on the WMD Commission's recommendation to establish a "National Security Service" that integrates the FBI's national security programs under the leadership of an Executive Assistant Director.

The National Security Branch (NSB) comprises the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, Counterintelligence Division, the Directorate of Intelligence, and—as of July 2006—the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. More recently, we have been working with the PFIAB to further our efforts to build our intelligence program. In a relatively short period of time, the FBI has made significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and the PFIAB while continuing to meet the numerous other expectations placed upon the Bureau.

With these structures in place, we are working to implement a Balanced Scorecard, a management system that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into actions. We began using this strategy management system in the Counterterrorism Division approximately two years ago, and it has proven to be a helpful management tool. The Director has implemented the approach Bureau-wide. Like many others in the private and public sectors, we will use the Balanced Scorecard to align day-to-day operations with broader strategies, to get feedback, and to measure our progress as we move forward in our evolution as a national security organization.

Strengthening Our Intelligence Capabilities

The NSB is currently adopting this approach to link strategy with operations and further enhance our intelligence capabilities. The NSB's mission is to lead and coordinate intelligence efforts that drive actions to protect the United States. Our goals are to develop a comprehensive understanding of the threats and penetrate national and transnational networks that have a desire and capability to harm us. Such networks include terrorist organizations, foreign intelligence services, those that seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction, and criminal enterprises.

In order to be successful, we must understand the threat, continue to integrate our intelligence and law enforcement capabilities in every FBI operational program, and continue to expand our contribution to the intelligence community knowledge base.

A key development in the evolution of the FBI's intelligence program was the establishment of Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) in each of the FBI's 56 field offices. The FIGs manage and coordinate the FBI's intelligence collection and reporting efforts in the field. From an information-sharing perspective, the FIGs are the FBI's primary component for receiving and disseminating information. They complement the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) and other squads and task forces. The FIGs play a major role in ensuring that we share what we know with others in the intelligence community and our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners.

Desk Officers

As part of the FBI's efforts to enhance our understanding of the national threat picture, we are implementing a Desk Officer Program. This program will consist of an integrated network of special agent and intelligence analyst teams assigned to national, division, regional, and field desks. The FBI's desk officers will assess and adjust collection efforts; identify collection gaps; target collection and source development against these gaps so they are consistent with priority national intelligence requirements; satisfy internal requirements; collaborate with partners; and convert and broadly disseminate the consolidated results, leading to enhanced knowledge of the threat environment.

The FBI's desk structure is based on country and topical priorities, as set forth in the National Intelligence Priorities Framework and internal priorities. The Desk Officer Program will focus not only on the management and advancement of existing cases but also on maintaining a networked and coordinated national collection effort. Over time, this program will enhance our confidence that we understand and have penetrated terrorist, criminal, cyber, and foreign intelligence threats.

Human Intelligence

Another critical element of our enhanced intelligence capability is our Confidential Human Source Program. The FBI, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, is completing a Confidential Human Source Re-engineering Project to enhance and improve the administration and operation of the FBI's Human Source Program.

As part of the Re-Engineering Project, the FBI and DOJ have worked to update guidelines on human source policy and human source validation. The ultimate goals of the Re-engineering Project are to streamline, consolidate, and update all human source guidelines; develop a "one source" concept; and strengthen the validation of human sources.

The release of the new Attorney General's Guidelines Regarding the Use of FBI Confidential Human Sources signed on December 13, 2006, marked a pivotal milestone to accomplish the one-source concept. Complementing these guidelines are two manuals: the Confidential Human Source Policy Manual (Policy Manual) and the Confidential Human Source Validation Standards Manual (Validation Manual). The Policy Manual governs source administration including compliance with the AG Guidelines, while the Validation Manual standardizes the FBI's source validation review process. These manuals, along with the new AG Guidelines, took effect on June 13, 2007.

Information Sharing and Collaboration

Among the fundamental post-9/11 changes, the FBI has enhanced its information sharing capabilities to ensure the intelligence we collect is disseminated to our law enforcement and intelligence community partners. Consistent with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the FBI actively participates in the Information Sharing Environment (ISE). We have a senior-level manager detailed to the Office of the ISE Program Manager in the Office of the DNI, have assigned FBI personnel to numerous ISE working groups, and have designated the Assistant Director for the FBI Intelligence Directorate as the FBI member of the presidentially established Information Sharing Council (ISC) and the White House's Information Sharing Policy Coordination Committee.

Dissemination of Intelligence Products

The FBI also has undertaken a number of activities focused on enhancing our intelligence production and dissemination. These initiatives include new policy, procedures, standards, training, and oversight to optimize our contribution to the information needs of policy makers, the intelligence community, and our state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. We issued policy to standardize and streamline the processing of raw and finished intelligence reports, gain more timely and consistent reporting, and allow for the direct release of certain categories of reporting without FBI Headquarters' review; established new reporting vehicles to meet niche customer markets; and began instituting metrics to allow us to measure performance across a range of issues relating to the dissemination of intelligence.

Through these efforts, we have strengthened the FBI's intelligence presence within the intelligence and law enforcement communities by sharing Intelligence Information Reports, Intelligence Assessments, Intelligence Bulletins, and related intelligence information on platforms routinely used by our law enforcement and intelligence community partners. These platforms include the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, Secure Internet Router Protocol Network, and Law Enforcement Online (LEO), as well as on the FBI Intranet.

Fusion Centers

Information sharing with state, local, and tribal law enforcement is crucial to fulfilling the FBI's intelligence mission. The vast jurisdiction of state, local, and tribal officers brings invaluable access to millions of people and resources, which can help protect the nation and its citizens. The FBI has expanded its efforts to share raw intelligence reporting and analysis with state, local, and tribal entities on LEO and RISS. The FBI also produces joint bulletins with the Department of Homeland Security for our law enforcement partners on threat issues.

State Fusion Centers and other multi-agency intelligence centers have become a focal point of information exchange and relationship building linked to many key issues important to the FBI mission. The FBI recognizes that fusion centers are fundamental in facilitating the sharing of homeland security and criminal-related information and intelligence and considers our participation in fusion centers an extension of our traditionally strong working relationship with our state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. In June 2006, we directed all field offices to assign personnel to the leading fusion center in each state or field division territory and to participate in other centers as resources permit.

Secure Work Environment

The FBI's expanded role in intelligence operations has significantly increased the requirement to build Secure Work Environment facilities. The goal is to provide the physical infrastructure and IT connectivity to enable FBI personnel to execute their mission of protecting national security. We also are working to provide Sensitive Compartmented Information Operational Network access as quickly as possible to our prioritized locations so we have a baseline level of connectivity in the field offices and resident agencies most involved in national security investigations.

Training and Development

To prepare our national security workforce to work collaboratively against national security threats to the United States, we continue to strengthen our training. As part of these efforts, new agent training has been modified to provide more than 100 additional hours of training in all national security-related areas. This includes approximately 45 hours in counterterrorism training and additional instruction in counterintelligence, counterproliferation, and weapons of mass destruction. The additional training hours are designed to add to the flexibility and adaptability of all special agents to enable them to work the varied programs required of them.

We have undertaken a comprehensive restructuring of our approach to intelligence training. In addition to augmenting new agents training, in the past eight months we have developed and are delivering a course targeting FBI reports officers (ROs) who play a central role in the intelligence cycle. We are on an aggressive schedule that will train every RO by the end of this calendar year. We piloted and have run multiple iterations of a course for managers of intelligence analysts that is designed to give supervisors, many of whom are special agents, the skills and awareness to optimize their role in the intelligence cycle.

Working with the DNI and the Kent School at CIA, we developed and taught the first iteration of a 10-week Intelligence Basic Course (IBC) that provided 24 analysts foundational skills in critical thinking, writing, and speaking—core competencies of the analytic art. This month, we launched the second iteration of IBC. In addition to an intermediate version of this course, we are developing a shorter field version that we plan to deploy in early 2008. This field version is designed as a "refresher course" for analysts to maintain their critical skills.

National training seminars reaching every field office were held to address Field Intelligence Operations, Foreign Intelligence Collection, and Human Source Management and Validation. Beginning last summer, the NSB leadership began a series of small group workshops for Assistant Directors in Charge and Special Agents in Charge focused exclusively on decision-making and managing field intelligence operations. We continue our successful partnership with the Kellogg School at Northwestern University to train senior and mid-level managers in leading the change that comes with our intelligence responsibilities.

In September 2006, we launched a new Human Source Targeting and Development course, which introduces agents to a systematic approach to identifying, developing, and recruiting human sources. The course incorporates relevant elements from tradecraft used by other intelligence community agencies into a framework for a curriculum that is tailored to the FBI's unique jurisdictional authorities and mission.

Conclusion

The FBI has a mandate from the President, Congress, the Attorney General, and the DNI to protect national security by producing intelligence in support of our investigative mission, national intelligence priorities, and the needs of other customers.

The FBI has always used intelligence to solve cases; however, today, we count on our agents and analysts working hand-in-hand with colleagues around the country and around the world to collectively piece together information about multiple, interrelated issues. With the authority and guidance provided by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and other directives and recommendations, the FBI has implemented significant changes to enhance our ability to counter today's most critical threats. We look forward to continuing to work with the committee to strengthen our capabilities.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the FBI's national security program. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 
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