There is plenty the law enforcement community has learned since 9/11 and done since 9/11. But more action will always be required, said FBI Director Robert Mueller to a room packed with IACP 2011 attendees on Monday afternoon.
“The next threat will be cyber-based,” Mueller said. “We must consider the threat of self-radicalized individuals using online resources and individuals planning cyber attacks.”
Mueller, the sixth director of the FBI, assumed his current position on September 4, 2001. When 9/11 happened one week later, Mueller sprang to action.
“As I reflect back [on 9/11], the two most important things that happened to me were a call from [President Bush] in the afternoon saying, ‘Bob, we cannot let this happen again,” Mueller said. “Then, maybe five, six, or seven days afterward, I was briefing the president on what we were doing in the wake of 9/11. I came fully prepared and started off by stating that the FBI had established crime scenes at the affected locations. I got about two minutes into my briefing when the president said, ‘Bob, I understand the FBI has [secured crime scenes] for about 100 years. What I want to know is how you are preventing the next terror attack.”
For the remainder of his presidency, President Bush was briefed regularly, Mueller said, and the question he always posed to Mueller was what the FBI was doing to prevent a terrorist attack from happening again.
As a result, prioritization of bureau resources became Mueller’s priority. Counterterrorism and counterintelligence became paramount as the FBI worked closely with federal, state, and local partners to address threats.
“The threats we face rarely stay within a jurisdictional border,” he said.
Mueller explained that he moved 2,000 criminal agents to a counterterrorism focus, built joint-counterterrorism task forces, and started assembling an analytical cadre.
“This prioritization has lasted to this day,” Mueller said. “Every one of us who have the responsibility to protect our citizens have to make these tough decisions about prioritization.”
IACP 2011 continues at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois, through October 26. For information, visit http://www.theiacpconference.org. To receive notifications when new blog entries are posted, click the “Follow” button on the upper left of your screen.