The Association of U S West Retirees



Mueller's Prepared Testimony, July 26, 2007 3:47 p.m.
Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee
The Wall Street Journal
Friday, July 26, 2007

Good afternoon Chairman Conyers, Representative Smith, and members of the Committee. I am pleased to be here today.

When I was sworn-in as the sixth Director of the FBI nearly six years ago, I was keenly aware of the need to address a number of management and administrative challenges facing the Bureau. However, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, coupled with the emerging terrorist and criminal threats brought on by globalization and advances in technology, required far more changes than we anticipated.

Indeed, we in the FBI have undergone unprecedented transformation in recent years. Today, the FBI is a stronger organization, combining greater intelligence and national security capabilities with a longstanding commitment to protecting the American people from both crime and terrorism, while upholding the Constitution and protecting civil liberties.

Today, I want to give you a brief sense of the FBI's current priorities, the changes we have made to meet our mission, and some of the challenges we are facing.

Changes in Structure and in the Way We Do Business

After the September 11 attacks on America, the FBI's priorities shifted dramatically. Our top priority became the prevention of another terrorist attack. Today, our top three priorities—counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and cyber security—are national security-related.

To that end, we have made a number of changes in the Bureau, both in structure and in the way we do business.

We stood up the National Security Branch, which oversees our counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and intelligence operations. We consolidated our chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat resources into the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

We have doubled the number of intelligence analysts on board, from 1,023 in September 2001 to more than 2,100 today. We have tripled the number of linguists. We set up Field Intelligence Groups, or FIGS, in each of our 56 field offices. These FIGS combine the expertise of agents, analysts, translators, and surveillance specialists. We integrated our intelligence program with other agencies under the Director of National Intelligence, with appropriate protections for privacy and civil liberties.

We have tripled the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) across the country, from 33 to more than 100. These task forces combine the resources of the FBI, the intelligence community, the military, and state and local police officers. These JTTFs have been essential in breaking up terrorist plots across the country, from Portland, Oregon; Lackawanna, New York; Torrance, California; and Chicago, to the recent Fort Dix and JFK Airport plots.

In short, we have improved our national security capabilities across the board. Today, intelligence is woven throughout every program and every operation. Much of our progress has been the result of expertise gained over the past 99 years of our existence, in the criminal arena with organized crime, and in counterintelligence, through the development of sources and expertise in interview and surveillance techniques. Our experience has allowed us to build enhanced capabilities on an already strong foundation.

The FBI's Criminal Programs

To meet our national security mission, the FBI had to shift personnel and resources, but this has not affected our commitment to our significant criminal responsibilities. While Americans justifiably worry about terrorism, crime also touches the lives of millions of people. Today in the FBI, we have roughly a 50/50 split in resources between national security and criminal programs. To make the best use of these resources, we will continue to focus on those areas where we bring something unique to the table and to target those criminal threats against which we will have the most substantial and lasting impact.

In recent years, we have moved away from traditional drug cases and smaller white-collar crimes that can be handled by other law enforcement agencies, but we have dedicated more agents and more resources to public corruption, violent crime, civil rights, transnational organized crime, corporate fraud, and crimes against children. We remain ready and willing to help keep our communities safe.

Public Corruption

Public Corruption is among the agency's top priorities and is the No. 1 priority of the Criminal Investigative Division. Public corruption strikes at the heart of government. It erodes public confidence, and undermines the strength of our democracy. Investigating public corruption is an FBI commitment as old as the Bureau itself. Indeed, it is a mission for which the FBI is singularly situated; we have the skills necessary to conduct undercover operations and the ability to perform electronic surveillance.

Today, there are 640 special agents dedicated to more than 2,400 pending investigations. The number of pending cases has increased by 49 percent since 2001. The number of agents working such cases has increased by 42 percent.

The Department of Justice's conviction rate is high, as is the overall number of corruption convictions. In the past two years alone, the Department has convicted over 1,500 federal, state, and local officials. The Department also has recovered more than $69 million in fines and more than $356 million in restitution.

The Public Corruption Program also targets governmental fraud and corrupt practices. For example, the International Contract Corruption Initiative addresses the systemic, long-term multi-billion dollar contract corruption and procurement fraud crime problem in the Middle East, principally in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.

The Hurricane Fraud Initiative addresses contract and procurement fraud in the Gulf Coast region of the United States in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Campaign Finance and Ballot Fraud Initiative addresses campaign finance violations, with a particular emphasis on the upcoming 2008 primaries and national elections.

Major White Collar Crime

The FBI routinely investigates large-scale financial crimes, including corporate, securities, commodities, mortgage and health care fraud. In recent years, the FBI has investigated company after company, including Enron, Enterasys, Comverse, HealthSouth, WorldCom, and Qwest, among many others. These names have been in the headlines for the past several years. Thousands of employees lost their jobs and their life savings; thousands of stockholders were defrauded. We have successfully investigated and helped put away many of the persons responsible for these crimes.

The number of agents investigating corporate and other securities, commodities, and investment fraud cases has increased 47 percent, from 177 in 2001 to more than 250 today. Today, we have more than 1,700 pending corporate, securities, commodities and investment fraud cases, which is an increase of 37 percent since 2001.

In 2006, the FBI investigated 490 corporate fraud cases, resulting in 176 informations and indictments, 133 convictions, $14 million in fines, and $62 million in seized assets. Significantly, the FBI has also secured $1.2 billion in court ordered restitution for the victims of these crimes.

We are also a member of the Corporate Fraud Task Force. FBI special agents work closely with investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, among others. Together, we target sophisticated, multi-layered fraud cases that injure the marketplace and threaten our economy. Since its inception, the Department has obtained 1,236 corporate fraud convictions, including the convictions of 214 chief executive officers and presidents, and 53 chief financial officers.

Health care fraud significantly impacts the lives of all Americans. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association conservatively estimates that 3 percent to 5 percent of total health care expenses are fraudulent. The major issues are constantly changing and those involved in health care fraud are continually probing health care benefits programs for areas of potential fraud.

Constant communication between the health care benefits programs, law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the public is the most effective means to respond to these changes. The FBI is an integral element of the joint Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services Health Care Fraud and Abuse Program and is actively involved in 32 Health Care Fraud Task Forces, as well as numerous working groups and joint investigations.

During 2006, investigations resulted in 599 indictments; 534 convictions and pre-trial diversions; $373 million in restitutions; and $1.6 billion in recoveries.