SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCTHE ACTIVITIES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, PART II
Thursday June 5, 1997
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:40 a.m., in room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Steve Chabot, Bob Barr, Asa Hutchinson, George W. Gekas, Howard Coble, Sheila Jackson Lee, Martin T. Meehan, Robert Wexler, and John Conyers, Jr.
Also present: Representatives William D. Delahunt and Ford.
Staff present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Glenn R. Schmitt, counsel; Kara Norris, staff assistant; David Yassky, minority counsel, and John P. Flannery, special minority counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MCCOLLUM
Mr. MCCOLLUM. This hearing of the Crime Subcommittee is called to order.
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Today the subcommittee holds the second in a series of oversight hearings concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation. One of the most important responsibilities that Congress has is to determine whether the laws it passes are properly and faithfully executed and that the money it authorizes and appropriates are expended as Congress intended.
As the largest Federal law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is deserving of special attention in relation to the oversight duties of this subcommittee. Accordingly, the Subcommittee on Crime will examine a number of important issues facing the Bureau today.
Over the last few years troubling allegations have been raised concerning the Laboratory Division at the FBI, eventually leading to an investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General. The results of that investigation were the subject of a hearing before this subcommittee three weeks ago, but it is important that we revisit them again today with Director Freeh. In particular, it's important that we discuss with him the FBI's plans to reform the laboratory practices and procedures and to implement the Inspector General's recommendations.
Since last summer, there's also been a great deal of controversy concerning the manner in which the FBI investigated the Olympic bombing, in particular, the manner in which the FBI agents interviewed Richard Jewell when he was the subject of that investigation. The Justice Department has now completed an internal investigation into this matter, and a few agents have been disciplined for their conduct. While the subcommittee may hold more lengthy hearings into this matter in the future, it is appropriate that we question Director Freeh about it today, as the case has caused some doubt that the law enforcement agencies will always act fairly in investigating crimes.
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Over the last few years, Congress has appropriated to the FBI significant funds to enable it to expand its investigation into terrorism crimes. We will ask Director Freeh to report on how those funds have been used. Last year Congress also passed legislation creating new crimes in the areas of terrorism, economic espionage, and health care fraud. We will ask Director Freeh to speak to the FBI's efforts to enforce these laws.
Additionally, he'll be asked today to discuss ways in which developing technology impacts Federal law enforcement. I have concerns that Congress has not given law enforcement the tools it needs to beat the technology that criminals use to commit their crimes. Congress has yet to fully fund the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act passed in 1994. Congress has also so far failed to give law enforcement the power to seek court-approved wiretaps that follow the criminal rather than remain fixed on only one telephone. This failure, in particular, is a problem in investigating drug crimes, where most of the criminal activities are planned by telephone, usually through the use of illegally-cloned cell phones.
Further, Congress is now considering legislation that addresses the use of encryption technology. I have made it clear that I support the use of strong encryption both by business and by private citizens, but I feel it's imperative that we find a balanced solution to the problems of criminals using this technology to conceal their illegal activities and that of the uses by private businesses. I welcome hearing Director Freeh's personal comments on this subject today.
These are just some of the issues that we face. There are a lot of things to be discussed, and I'm sure time today won't permit everything that we could ask. The FBI has been the target of some tough criticism over the past year or two, but as the largest Federal law enforcement agency there is no agency more important to combatting crime than the FBI. With the rate of violent crimes still four times greater than it was in 1960, despite recent declines, and with international organized crime and terrorism on the rise, we cannot afford to have a weakened FBI.
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In sum, this hearing has two important purposes. The first is to discuss how the FBI itself could be improved, whether it be by fixing problems that have been uncovered or by considering other proposals to restructure. Second, we're here to discuss what additional tools the men and women in our law enforcement agencies need to do the better job that we always ask of them. I look forward to hearing from Director Freeh and discussing these issues with him, and to the questions that I'm sure my colleagues will ask on the subcommittee.
Mr. Meehan, do you have an opening comment that you'd like to make?
Mr. MEEHAN. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Briefly, I want to thank Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank Director Freeh for appearing before us today to discuss the activities of the FBI or to answer questions from this subcommittee.
Frankly, I know there probably have been better times to come to Capitol Hill as the Director of the FBI. Recent reports of the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General and the Office of Professional Conduct have called some of the agency'scalled into question some of the agency's longstanding practices. Controversy swirls over the FBI's treatment of whistleblowers and even its relationship with the White House.
Director Freeh, you deserve much credit for candidly recognizing the FBI's shortcomings and moving swiftly to remedy them. We stand ready to work with you to continue the process of reinventing the FBI, to restore public confidence in the agency's effectiveness and accountability.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Of course, we are also well aware of the law enforcement successes attributed to the skill and dedication of FBI agents all across America. I could speak for hours about the FBI's partnerships with State and local law enforcement officials in Massachusetts that have brought about a dramatic statewide reduction in violent crime.
Again, I look forward to an informative and productive hearing, and I thank the Director for being here.
Mr. Chairman, I give back the balance of my time.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Mr. Chabot, do you have an opening statement?
Mr. CHABOT. I thank the chairman.
I thank Director Freeh for appearing before the committee this morning. First, let me take this opportunity to thank all of the FBI and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers for the hard work and dedication. I think we all understand that they put their lives on the line every day, and we sincerely appreciate everything that law enforcement does to make the lives of our families and all American citizens more secure. To that end, I want to make sure that your agents have all the best crime-fighting technology, the complete support of Congress in making sure that you can do your job to protect the American people to the greatest extent possible.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, I must say that, as a strong supporter of law enforcement, I'm deeply concerned about the serious scandals that have rocked the FBI in recent years. Some of these have been such as Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Filegate, the handling of the Richard Jewell case, the Billy Dale case, the problems in the FBI Crime Labthe list goes on and onhave done, I believe, irreparable harm to the American people's confidence in the FBI.
Clearly, the FBI leadership has on these and other occasions done a disservice to their agents in the field and the American people. Thus, Congress has a responsibility to conduct oversight hearings to explore the abuses and mistakes that the FBI has made in recent years and try to right those problems if at all possible.
Additionally, I must say that I am troubled by the FBI's persistent attempts to infringe upon the privacy of American citizens; for example, by substantially expanding the FBI's wiretap authority, as well as repeated efforts to restrict the privacy of American computer owners through an encryption mandatory key escrow system. Law-abiding American citizens should not be required to surrender their freedom or their privacy. New technology should not render constitutional protections obsolete.
I look forward to the Director addressing just what the agency has done to cure some of these deficiencies and what steps have been taken not only to ensure that these abuses will not recur, but to discipline those who have abused their trust that the American people has put in those particular individuals. Again, I want to emphasize that I think we should support law enforcement to the fullest degree possible, but they must be accountable when mistakes are made.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, again, I want to thank the Director for being here today and look forward to his testimony.
I thank the chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Wexler, do you have any opening comments?
Mr. WEXLER. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I'll be brief, if I may.
Mr. Director, thank you for being here.
I will count myself up until two weeks ago as one of those people who had a unbridled degree of confidence in the FBI and someone who looked with much suspicion upon those that questioned, even in the remotest sense, the credibility in almost every sense of what the FBI did. I was astonished roughly two weeks ago when a couple of people from the FBI came before this subcommittee and testified in part in response to the Inspector General's report, and I sensed the degree of arrogance and, more importantly, either insensitivity or just a complete lack of understanding with respect to how dangerous it is when a police agency goes beyond that which most Americans would perceive to be the appropriate role of the police and actually become perpetrators rather than the protectors.
And what I'd like to do when we get back to the questioning, Mr. Director, with all due respect, is to inquire with respect to a specific case, the McDonald case. Prior to two weeks ago, I knew little about it. Subsequent to the hearing two weeks ago, reading The New Republic report, going back and reading reports in The Wall Street Journalnow I've read the memos and the memorandums of law, the affidavits submitted by FBI personnelI find it to be in my little inexperience one of the scariest stories of the pursuit of justice in a democracy as great as our country. And when more time is given, Mr. Director, I would like the opportunity to questionto inquire in the most respectful of terms what it is we are doing with respect to that case and what are we doing to prevent, if it turns out to be the case, the kinds of extraordinary injustice that may have happened in that case in the future.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the time.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Wexler.
Mr. Barr, you're recognized, if you wish to make an opening comment.
Mr. BARR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I'd like to thank Director Freeh for being here today. Even though there are a number of areas of controversy that Congress has already begun looking into, and others that we may go into today and that may come up in the future, Director Freeh has never shied away from addressing these problems, being very open in discussing them with Members of Congress and doing everything possible to at least address them fully and work toward solutions, and I think that says a lot about him. And I appreciate very much his being here today and opening himself to discuss these matters and answer questions on a whole range of issues.
And there are very many issues, but at its core, Mr. Chairman, I think all of us hereand I know Director Freeh is concerned also with maintaining the highest standards of public credibility and confidence in the FBI as the world's preeminent law enforcement investigation agency. I learned very quickly during my tenure as the United States Attorney in Atlanta that one of the most critical elements for successful Federal law enforcement's success is public confidence in law enforcement, so that the public is willing to come forward to provide information to work with the Bureau and the other agencies to help solve crimes. And we can talk all we want about the great technology and statutory authorities, but at the root, if the public does not have the confidence that Federal law enforcement agencies, and particularly the FBI with its rich and strong history, of work on behalf of the American people and in support of our Federal law enforcement and judicial system, then really all of those other thingsthe technical capabilities, the legal requirements and authorities, have little meaning because we're not going to be able to solve the crimes and protect the American public.
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I don't think that the problems that we're seeing here have caused irreparable harm. They certainly are things that we must consider and we must address, so that that does not happen, because it really would pose a severe danger to our national security, were that to occur; in other words, if we were to see irreparable harm done to the agency. Nonetheless, the problems that we are looking into, the problems that have come to light, are very serious and they range the whole gamut, from politicization of certain aspects of the Bureau's work to technical problems perhaps, to jurisdictional disputes with other agencies, to questions about new authorities versus better use of existing authorities such as in the wiretap area, the way the Bureau interfaces with industry in terms of CALEA, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act that we've been working ona whole range of issues that I look forward to us going into not only today, but throughout this entire Congress because at its core these issues are among the most important that we can address because they go to the heart of fulfilling the No. 1 priority and responsibility of our Federal Government, and that is protection of our citizens.
I look forward to these hearings. I appreciate the chairman calling them. And I very much appreciate Director Freeh submitting himself to a full and frank discussion of these issues.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Barr.
Though Mr. Delahunt is here, he's not a member of this subcommittee. And, Mr. Conyers, you are ex officio. Do you have an opening remark you wish to make?
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Mr. CONYERS. I'll reserve.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Mr. Ford is not a member of the committee and not eligible to make a statement. I've got to get all of these things formally out there.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think this hearing is very important, and I compliment you for conducting it. I want to associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Barr. The FBI has historically been the premiere law enforcement agency, and it's important for public confidence and law enforcement confidence that that be maintained.
I want to congratulate you, Mr. Freeh, for your terrific work in the Oklahoma City bombing case and the work of the FBI in that regard. I believe justice was done, and I'm delighted that that case was resolved for the victims there in Oklahoma City.
I do think there's some important questions to be raised by this hearing. I'm going to be directing some questions to you regarding management issues. Whenever you look at the FBI laboratory and the issues that have been raised and the difficulties there, and when you look at the Richard Jewell case, I think there's some management concerns, and I think that that needs to be addressed and explored. Most recently, something that affected my State of Arkansasas you know, Director, the van out of the Little Rock office was stolen with a significant amount of munitions, armament, in there. Obviously we do not want these things available to those who are involved in wrongdoing; and it appears that they have been. So I think there needs to be some questions concerning safeguards in regard to the FBI's policies on those issues.
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So I compliment you for being here. I look forward to your testimony and the questions and the answers as well.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Director, good to have you with us.
Mr. Chairman, the difficulty of being down at this end of the table is that most everyone else has already spoken in pertinent terms about the problems we will discuss today. I want to associate my comments primarily with the gentleman from Ohio and the gentleman from Florida. I share their concerns, Mr. Director.
I'm old enough to remember, Mr. Freeh, when the FBI was synonymously associated with God, apple pie, and motherhood. Now there are a lot of people in this country who regard FBI people has highly-paid bureaucrats who conduct shoddy, sloppy investigations, and I don't mean, Mr. Director, left wing or right wing crazies; I mean decent, upstanding citizens who are very uneasy about it. And I'm not pointing an accusatory finger at you, but I'm pointing it to someone, and this concerns me. The Jewell case has already been mentioned. The gentleman from Arkansas spoke favorably about the Oklahoma City investigation, and I think that it was done very properly and very professionally. However, it seems to me there have been many bases that have been missed that should have been touched. Hopefully, this fury will illuminate some of those areas, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for having staged this hearing.
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And, Mr. Director, I thank you again for being before us today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
Mr. GEKAS. I thank the Chair.
For quite some time now, I've been wondering what role does the Director of the FBI assume when the question of the appointment of independent counsel comes before the Department of Justice, and generally what input does the Director have to the ultimate decision to be made by the Attorney General for all independent counsel, but particularly this last episode in which the Attorney General decided not to seek the appointment of independent counsel. I would like to know, even though I fear that the Director has established his position on that, that he believes that it might be a confidential matter, his advice to the Attorney General, I do want to ask about the anatomy of that decisionmaking because it's important.
If the whole basis of independent counsel has to do with apparent conflict of interest and the question of who might be targets of those investigations, then it seems to me that the Director of the FBI has to have his finger on the entire mass of data that would go into the final decision. And notwithstanding what I understand the Director's reluctance to tell the Congress about the details of that, I want to delve, as I say, into the structure of that decisionmaking when my turn in questioning occurs.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One other thing I just want the Director to think about until it comes to me is the law on parental kidnapping, not as widely discussed as some other subjects, but because many of us had a hand in the finalization of that statute in 1993, I would like to know what is happening because there are dozens of cases still outstanding on parents kidnapping their American-based children and then never to be seen again or hard to find, and even if we find them, hard to bring back to justice or to bring back their children to the bosom of their household.
So those two areas are of keen interest to this Member, and I thank the Chair for the opportunity to make an opening statement.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Thank you very much.
I want to welcome our guest today, Mr. Delahunt, who is a member of the full committee, and Mr. Ford, who is joining us today. It's always encouraging to have Members who are not members of the subcommittee interested enough to come, and we thank you for being here.
At this time I'd like to introduce the Director to the committee, and then we'll have a swearing-in because today is an oversight hearing, and then we what to hear from you, Director Freeh.
Louis Freeh has served as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for several years now. I think you were first appointed September 1, 1993, if my data appears correct. He served in the FBI as a Special Agent from 1975 to 1981. In 1981, Director Freeh became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he rose to hold positions as Chief of the Organized Crime Unit, Deputy U.S. Attorney, and Associate U.S. Attorney. During his tenure, he was the lead prosecutor in the Pizza Connection case, the largest and most complex criminal trial ever undertaken by the Federal Government. Later he was appointed as a special prosecutor by the Attorney General to oversee the investigation into the related mail bomb murders of a Federal judge in Alabama and a civil rights leader in Georgia. In 1991, President Bush appointed him to be a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He was serving in this position when President Clinton nominated him to be Director of the FBI.
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Director Freeh is a graduate of Rutgers University and Rutgers Law School. He also holds a master of law degree from New York University.
If you would stand and be sworn, I'd appreciate it.
Thank you. You may be seated.
We look forward to hearing your testimony, as always. Please proceed. You may summarize as you wish. Your entire testimony will be entered into the record, without objection. Hearing none, it is so ordered.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE LOUIS J. FREEH, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. FREEH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure, as always, to be before the Committee, and I certainly look forward to addressing all of your questions. If I might, I would like to give you an overview of my prepared statement, which is much more lengthy. I will submit it for the record.
During the last several years, the FBI has been in a great period of dynamic change in every dimensionnot only with our jurisdiction, but also in our personnel, as well as the many technologies we use, some of which have been referred to by members of the Committee. Since July of 1994, for example, we've hired about 6,000 new employees, including 2,500 new Special Agents. In our New York office, which has the largest field complement of agents, about 25 percent of its 1,100-plus agents have under one-year of experience. In the last year, we have doubled our counterterrorism resources, thanks to the Congress. You have given us new jurisdictions in health fraud, economic espionage, counterterrorism, and supported the many new technologies that are being implemented in the law enforcement arena, not just the IAFIS project the NCIC 2000 projects, and the CALEA project, but the automation of information which changes the nature of our mission.
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We not only chase people over back fences nowadays; we also chase them through cyberspace. We deal with crimes where people overseas, sitting with a laptop computer, can break into a New York City bank and move millions of dollars around. People can, with the same technology and without leaving their foreign country, enter northern Florida and shut down 911 systems. These are the types of technologies and challenges that we face as an institution, and there are many, many things which are happening, both internally and externally, to effectuate those.
I will talk, and certainly answer all your questions about, many of the matters that you have raised. One point I would like to make is where I see the Federal Bureau of Investigation going in terms of its needs and its missions. We recognize, and I certainly take very seriously, all of your comments, particularly those which point to problems, controversies, or whatever you may denominate them as, in the FBI. I think, however, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that we are the premiere law enforcement agency in the world. We have over 25,000 employees working on a day-to-day basis. One of you, Congressman Hutchinson, did mention the Oklahoma City bomb case. It is my firm belief that that case demonstrates the routine work that the Federal Bureau of Investigation does, not by itself, but, as in that case, in conjunction with many other agencies, State and local. There is a tendency not to report the safe landings at National Airportnot to minimize the problems and the controversies which we take very seriously and seek to be honest about and quick to fixbut we also want to take note of our many positive successes.
We identified, after many, many years, a suspect in the Unabomb case. That was done with old-fashioned shoe leather work, as well as using technologies and access which we were able to develop over many, many years.
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The Freeman standoff was the successful ending of an 81-day standoff in Montana, where the FBI demonstrated that it had learned the lessons of Waco and Ruby Ridge. Our crisis intervention response team was in a completely new format and that included the use of many third party intermediaries, which we had not used before. The only person killed in that siege was an FBI agent who was killed in a car accident.
A year-and-a-half ago we foiled a conspiracy of an individual who was planning to shoot down 11 U.S. airliners in the western Pacific. That individual was subsequently brought back to the United States, convicted of that crime, and now stands to go to trial for his participation in the World Trade bombing case.
We arrested and investigated four major espionage cases, including an FBI agent, showing that we can investigate ourselves. Those cases were investigated with great skill over many, many years.
I could go on and on and talk about our participation in task forces. The mayors of cities in Wichita and New Haven have attributed the decline in crime, particularly the homicide rates, to the FBI task forces.
I think that we need as much or more oversight than any other agency in the country. We are potentially the most dangerous agency in the country if we are not scrutinized carefully. I welcome your scrutiny, and I certainly look forward to that.
One measure of the FBI's success, as well as our capability, is the manner in which we deal with problems. As I said, after Waco and Ruby Ridge, we dealt with that problem by completely reconstructing the method by which we dealt with those issues.
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Earlier this week there was a theft of the van in Memphis which you spoke about, Congressman Hutchinson, a van which was loaded with very dangerous weapons. We did two things simultaneously with respect to that event. One, we put on a full-court effort to find that van and retrieve those dangerous weapons. Simultaneously, we opened up, and are conducting now, an internal inquiry to see what, if any, rules or regulations may have been violated and whether we need more stringent measures in place.
We immediately put the case in the hands of a task force, one of our 152 Safe Street Task Forces around the country. These task forces are made up, as you know, by Special Agents as well as State and local officials. We happened to have an Auto Theft Task Force and a Safe Streets Task Force in Memphis made up of FBI agents, Memphis police officers, Shelby County sheriff's offices, as well as United States Marshals. I'm happy to report that we have retrieved six of the M16s, three of the MP5s, the Remington, and several thousand rounds of ammunition. Three individuals are under arrest who will be further prosecuted for the crime. We're still missing two of the M79 grenade launchers and one M16. We are hopeful that we will be able to find them very quickly.
Every time one of our 11,000 agents with the authority that you have imposed in them, conducts an interview, conducts a search, or conducts an arrest, it is a very sensitive matter. It's not just what happens in a very well-known case, such as the Atlanta bombing investigation; every time one of our agents is out doing any of the things which affect public safety and constitutional rights, those critical issues are important and should be evaluated. But if you look around the country and you look at the statisticsand there are many to look atthere is no litany; there is no long list; there is no short list of claims and allegations of FBI agents frequently violating constitutional rights or doing things which shouldn't be done. And I present that to you not to justify the rare instances where we have problems, because one instance is one too many, but to illustrate that we are a very, very large organization. Everything we do is sensitive. Every act we take, whether it's in a file or on a street corner, affects somebody's privacy, freedom, or constitutional rights, is critical. We do not have a situation in this United States, and I'm very proud of it, in which the FBI or any other Federal law enforcement agency is problematic because of long lists of these kinds of violations. I just ask you to look at that in that perspective.
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This explanation is not to minimize the problems that we do have and the ones which many of you refer to and which I look forward to speaking to you about. We have many things to be concerned about in the FBI as we look down the road. We are very concerned and very committed to implementing the CALEA statute of 1994. The technology which will allow the FBI to continuenot to expand but to continueits ability to do court-authorized electronic monitoring, both in criminal cases and national security cases, is critical to our success. We could not do most of the important cases in either of those categories without continuing access to do wiretaps with court stringent procedures and review, and that is very, very important.
As I mentioned before, the advent of the Internet and technologies involving the computer have changed in many ways the FBI's focus in those regards and will require additional resources and technologies.
Terrorism, both international and domestic are increasing around the world and in the United States. We are running into cases where individuals using ryzene, anthrax, or bubonic plague have evidenced intentions to use those chemical and biological agents to commit crimes as well as acts of terrorism. Those are things that we need to be prepared for. We have established in our laboratory, with the support of the Congress, a hazardous materials unit. We have been working very closely with the military experts, who have good expertise with respect to chemical, biological, and nuclear agents, in adapting those technologies to law enforcement investigations as well as public safety. We work very closely with FEMA, the Department of Defense, and many other Federal agencies, to prepare for those very catastrophic tendencies. In major public events, presidential conventions, inaugurations, and events to come, we now plan for those very important events with a view of these threats in mind.
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NCIC 2000 and the IAFIS projects will give to the police officers of the United States, most of whom work in departments of less than a dozen sworn officers, immediate accessaccess that was only once dreamed aboutto criminal records, warrant information, and the types of background materials that not only save lives, but apprehend criminals in a quick way.
The matter of encryption has been referred to. It is a major public safety concern, as well as a commercial concern for the United States. We believe and support the most robust form of encryption. We also have asked and have argued before this and other committees for some recognition of the public safety impact and the national security impact of completely uncontrolled encryption and what that will mean to law enforcement and public safety if we live in a world where there is completely interoperable, unbreakable encryption. We are willing to work with the Congress; we have been working with the industry to try to achieve a solution to this most difficult problem.
We have a lot of resources and a lot of concern, looking at the critical infrastructures here in the United States. Pursuant to Presidential Directive-39, as well as some congressional mandates, the FBI, again together with many of the other Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, are looking at the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructures. If a terrorist decided to shut down the utilities in the Northeast United States in the middle of winter, close the New York Stock Exchange, impede the access and transmission of medical records and technologies and information, we could face very severe and very catastrophic consequences for which we have not heretofore contemplated or prepared.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have put into place the Computer Investigations and Threat Assessment Center (CITAC) at FBI headquarters with your support. The purpose of that activity is to prepare and then analyze the vulnerabilities to our infrastructure and to make recommendations to harden that infrastructure. All of the FBI Special Agents in Charge (SACs) around the country have formed committees and are working with their private counterparts in industry, banking, transportation, energy, and other key industries, to prepare for and avoid, but certainly be able to respond to, infrastructure attacks which would very severely impede and damage the United States.
We have formed, as you know, another activity at FBI headquarters called the Counterterrorism Center, which has representatives of 16 other Federal agencies working shoulder to shoulder with FBI employees. This center gives us for the first time a central analytical center to evaluate information regarding terrorism, both terrorism in the United States as well as proposed or contemplated acts of terrorism against the United States or United States interests abroad. I'm pleased to report that it is working very well.
We are looking at new technologies such as Law Enforcement Online (LEO), which will give the FBI the ability to deliver directly to the 17,000 police departments in the United States information, training, and assistance in working many cases, particularly child abduction cases. These cases present a great challenge for all police departments, but particularly for small police departments.
The technologies being developed in our laboratory with respect to DNA analysis and the Combined DNA Information System (CODIS) have also become critical for maintaining the ability of particularly State and local police departments to deal with those difficult issues.
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Internationally, as you know, we have expanded greatly the presence of FBI agents abroad. The Congress has approved a 4-year Legal Attache expansion program which will increase our foreign FBI offices from 23 to 46. It is a very small investment in terms of numbers of people who go abroad. Those agents are charged with purely criminal liaison responsibilities to protect American interests and to investigate cases that impact directly on this country. They provide a perimeter of defense through liaison with their foreign counterparts, which has resulted in major terrorists being brought back to the United States; major acts of terrorism being frustrated; great successes in combatting organized crime, particularly due to our presence now in Russia; and, the success that we've had against major Russian organized crime figures here in the United States. That liaison is part of our counterterrorism strategy. It's certainly part of our ability to deal with global crime, especially financial crimes and organized crime, as well as drug dealing. We appreciate very much the support we have been given.
Over the last year we have doubled the number of resources in our own FBI Office of Professional Responsibility. These agents deal with allegations of misconduct. That office is supervised directly by the Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility, and we report directly to that unit as well as to the Inspector General. All that activity is overseen by the Deputy Attorney General's office.
We believe it is very, very importantindeed, criticalthat the FBI maintain its ability to investigate and police itself, particularly at first, and to have built in place all of these subsequent reviews and checks and balances for what we do. I think the recommendation of the Knapp Commission was very sound: law enforcement organizations need, at least at the initial level, the ability to investigate themselves. If that authority is taken away, an incentive is also taken away to hold itself to the highest possible standards of good conduct. We think that we have done well in that regard.
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As I mentioned before, we have 152 Safe Street Task Forces around the country in many of your States and cities. They operate with the great appreciation and participation of our State and local partners. That has given us, I think, an indirect role in the reduction of the number of violent crimes, particularly in the big cities where these task forces have made a great impact.
With respect to the health care fraud programs, we are appreciative of the statutory authority which you gave us last year to continue and expand those investigations. They have been very successful with respect to our white collar program. Since September of 1996, for instance, three separate FBI investigations of national medical laboratories have resulted in settlements of $625 million, as well as many subsequent and related civil and criminal proceedings.
Our Senior Sentinel program, which was part of our telemarketing initiative against those who prey on elderly people, has resulted in over 900 individuals being charged.
We note with a little bit of concern the increase of hate crimes being reported in the United States: 8,000 in 1995. We have developed a new 3-year plan to enhance our civil rights program, both the hate crimes program as well as the overall civil rights activities. We are also working in close liaison with many State and local organizations and all of the major civil rights organizations.
We're very proud of our initiative with respect to the crimes against children. We have recently designated two agents in all of our offices to be the coordinators for the Crimes Against Children Program. We have used all of the statutory authority which we have been given in this regard. We established back in 1995, for the first time, a Child Abduction And Serial Killer Unit in Quantico. This operational unit deploys to the field when child kidnappings or murders occur which may overwhelm the capability of many small departments.
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We have worked very hard on the child pornography activity with respect to the Internet. We have a longstanding case which we call Innocent Images by which we have convicted over 102 people who have used the Internet to distribute quantities, large quantities in some cases, of child pornography. Many have also used that technology to meet many children for illicit sexual purposes. Those cases are a substantial part of our Crimes Against Children Program.
Our activities against the La Costra Nostra, as well as other organized crime organizations, continues in the United States. We have been pursuingand I know this Committee has followed it very closelyour counterdrug strategies. We are working in tandem and in perfect harmony with the Drug Enforcement Administration, through the Southwest Border and the new initiative down in San Juan, where this Committee held a very important hearing several weeks ago.
I've mentioned espionage cases. We continue to be concerned about those, including the new dimensions of espionage which we call economic espionage. Twenty-three foreign countries' clandestine security services are active in the United States. Their objective is the theft of trade secrets from United States companies and industry. That has become a very large problem and one which we're dealing with by virtue of the authority you gave us last year.
With respect to the FBI Laboratory, we have implemented the Inspector General's recommendations. We are completing and accelerating, to the best that we can, the accreditation process which I started in 1994. We have brought many civilian forensic scientists into the laboratory. We are also conducting a nationwide search for what will be a world-class scientist to run the new FBI Laboratory which is being constructed in Quantico and for which you have given us $30 million. We have established quality assurance units; we have established scientific protocols which should have been there many, many years ago; and we have instituted peer reviews and other aspects of the Inspector General's recommendations, which in my view will strengthen our lab and let it remain the finest forensic laboratory in the world, which I clearly believe it is.
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We continue to work very closely with our State and local partners. We want to ensure that as we develop technologies we do it in conjunction with them. We've spent the last two days in St. Petersburg, Florida, meeting with the FBI's Advisory Policy Board which is in charge of coordinating and recommending all of the various technologies being developed, particularly the NCIC 2000 and IAFIS, to ensure that we do those in harmony with the State and local efforts.
Let me just finish very briefly by saying that we remain focused on the CALEA implementation and a balanced solution to the encryption problems. We are also asking the Congress again to consider the availability of multi-point electronic surveillance authority. We do not see that as an expansion of our current authority; indeed, we see it as the equating of the current authority between microphone surveillance and telephone surveillance. We think that new technologies require that kind of flexibility which will give us no increased powers and continued supervision by the courts.
Let me just briefly close, Mr. Chairman, by again thanking you for the opportunity to be here. I was at a graduation in FBI headquarters two days ago. It was a very unusual graduation; it was our junior special agent graduation. We had about 230 sixth-graders from five elementary schools in the District of Columbia who have completed a 1-year program which is part of the FBI's Community Outreach Program. We have about 7,000 volunteers working in 150 schools and dealing with approximately 750,000 children around the country every year. We give to them as best we can, on our own time, some of the principles, values, notions of success and things which need to be avoided growing up any place today, and we're very, very proud of that program.
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A lot of what the FBI does, as I mentioned before, is not always subject to attention. It's probably a good thing that that's the case, because we have on a daily basis so many good things going on we wouldn't want to overwhelm anybody with that. We do take very, very seriously, and I take personally with the most extreme seriousness, any controversy and issue regarding our effectiveness, certainly our competency, and most importantly our integrity or honesty. Our view and certainly my goalmy primary goalas Director over the last three-and-a-half years has been to be completely open and honest; to give you with all candor and all due speed my discovery of problems; and to explain what I've done to try to fix them to make sure they don't happen again. We are a large agency; we are a dynamic agency. More than anything else we have to be concerned with the protection of the constitutional rights of the people in this great country as well as public safety; those are not inconsistent. We want to do our mission in a way that does both things at the same time, which is what I think the great achievement of the FBI has been over many, many years.
Again, thank you for having a hearing. I'm very proud to be here as the Director and very happy to try to answer all of your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Freeh follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LOUIS J. FREEH, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
GOOD MORNING, MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC THE ISSUES YOU AND THE OTHER MEMBERS RAISE ARE CRITICAL AND IMMEDIATE. MANY GO TO THE CORE OF THE FBI AND OUR ABILITY TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. SOME SPILL ACROSS MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS, IMPACTING UPON OUR STATE AND LOCAL PARTNERS. OTHERS ARE VITAL TO OUR EFFECTIVENESS AS WE PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE. I APPRECIATE GREATLY THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THEM WITH YOU.
AS AN ORGANIZATION CHARGED WITH CONFRONTING SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT ISSUES OUR COUNTRY FACESSERIOUS CRIME, TERRORISM AND ESPIONAGETHE FBI MUST BE AND IS A DYNAMIC INSTITUTION. WE ARE CONSTANTLY ANTICIPATING OR REACTING TO NEW CIRCUMSTANCES, NEW TECHNOLOGY OR NEW CRIMES. WITH YOUR HELP, WE ARE CONSTANTLY REEVALUATING OUR RESOURCE ALLOCATIONS AND INVESTIGATIVE PRIORITIES, LOOKING FOR NEW, MORE EFFICIENT WAYS TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY AND ENFORCE FEDERAL LAW. NEW INITIATIVES ARE CONSTANTLY BEING UNDERTAKEN, OLD PROGRAMS THAT HAVE LIVED OUT THEIR USEFULNESS ARE BEING DISCARDED AND EXISTING FUNCTIONS ARE BEING IMPROVED AND STREAMLINED. IT IS OUR OBLIGATION TO DO SO.
TO THE PUBLIC, IT IS NOT NEWS WHEN THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME. FOR THE FBI, RUNNING THE TRAINS ON TIME MEANS ARRESTING THE SUSPECT IN THE UNABOMB INVESTIGATION, USING NEW STRATEGIES TO PEACEFULLY END THE FREEMEN STANDOFF, WORKING IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA TO PREVENT THE DOWNING OF ELEVEN U.S. AIR CARRIERS, CAPTURING THREE SPIES, HELPING LOCAL JURISDICTIONS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE MURDER RATES IN THEIR CITIES, OR ARRESTING OVER 900 TELEMARKETERS WHO WERE USING FRAUDULENT, HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS TO BILK SENIOR CITIZENS OUT OF THEIR LIFE SAVINGS. I AM PROUD OF OUR MANY SUCCESSES AND THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ACCOMPLISHED THEM. THEY DESERVE GREAT CREDIT FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL WORK THEY DO EVERYDAY.
THAT IS NOT MEANT TO MINIMIZE THE PROBLEMS WE DO EXPERIENCE. FOR PROBLEMS LIKE THOSE YOU HAVE MENTIONED, MR. CHAIRMAN, WE MUST BE HELD FULLY ACCOUNTABLE, ENSURE THEY ARE CANDIDLY SURFACED, THOROUGHLY AIRED, AND QUICKLY AND FIRMLY CORRECTEDAND THE FBI DOES CORRECT THEM.
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I APPRECIATE GREATLY THE WILLINGNESS OF THIS COMMITTEE, WHILE HOLDING US ACCOUNTABLE, TO HELP US IN THAT REGARD, AND TO SUPPORT OUR MISSIONS AND OUR NEEDS, HELPING US WORK THROUGH AND OVERCOME THE EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT CHALLENGES WE FACE. WE DEPEND ON THE CONFIDENCE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION. THE OVERSIGHT AND PUBLIC AIRING OF ISSUES THAT YOU PROVIDE ONLY SERVES TO STRENGTHEN THAT CONFIDENCE.
TODAY, I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THE FBI IS DOING TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE, THE NEXT CENTURY, BECAUSE PERHAPS UNLIKE ANY TIME IN OUR HISTORY, THE NATURE OF CRIME AND TERRORISM IS EVOLVING AT AN UNPRECEDENTED PACE. NEW TECHNOLOGY, NEW THREATS, NEW KINDS OF CRIME AND A SHRINKING GLOBE ARE CONTINUOUSLY CREATING NEW ISSUES. BECAUSE OF THIS CONSTANTLY CHANGING ENVIRONMENT, THE FBI MUST ANTICIPATE, PLAN AND PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE TO A DEGREE AND IN WAYS NEVER BEFORE IMAGINED.
FOR EXAMPLE, NOT LONG AGO, NO ONE PERCEIVED THAT TELEPHONE SYSTEMS COULD BECOME UNTAPPABLE, THAT VIRTUALLY UNBREAKABLE ENCRYPTION WOULD BECOME COMMONPLACE, THAT PEOPLE USING POWERFUL LAPTOP COMPUTERS IN DISTANT LANDS COULD STEAL IN SECONDS SENSATIONAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY, OR THAT THE MARVELS OF THE INTERNET COULD BE USED FOR EVIL AGAINST CHILDREN.
INTERNATIONAL CRIME AND TERRORISM HAVE DEVELOPED IN NEARLY UNIMAGINABLE WAYS. COMPLEX FRAUDS PERPETRATED HERE ARE CONTROLLED FROM EASTERN EUROPE. RUSSIAN AND ASIAN ORGANIZED CRIME ACTIVITY HAS BECOME COMMONPLACE. NEW CORRIDORS HAVE OPENED TO CONTINUE THE FLOOD OF DRUGS INTO AMERICA, AND DRUG LORDS ARE NOW SUPPORTED BY THE BEST TECHNOLOGY MONEY CAN BUY.
TERRORISM, BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC, THREATENS US LIKE NEVER BEFORE. THE COUNTRY HAS FOR THE FIRST TIME SUFFERED CATASTROPHIC ATTACKS. IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD NUCLEAR MATERIAL FLOATS ACROSS THE BLACK MARKET TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. WE HAVE ARRESTED PEOPLE HERE WHO POSSESSED ANTHRAX OR RICEN, AN EXTRAORDINARILY DEADLY CHEMICAL. RELIANCE ON COMPUTERS AND OTHER AMAZING TECHNOLOGIES HAS INADVERTENTLY CREATED VULNERABILITIES THAT CAN BE EXPLOITED FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. MODERN TRANSPORTATION AND MODERN TECHNOLOGY GIVE TERRORISTS ABILITIES UNHEARD OF ONLY A FEW YEARS AGO.
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YET THE TRADITIONAL CRIMES REMAIN AS WELL. VIOLENT CRIMES AND VIOLENT GANGS HAVE COME TO CITIES BIG AND SMALL. SMALL POLICE DEPARTMENTSILLEQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH GANGS LIKE THE BLOODS AND CRIPSMUST NOW DO SO. CHILDREN CONTINUE TO FALL PREY TO VIOLENT ABDUCTORS OR PEDOPHILES WHO NOW COME INTO HOMES OVER MODEMS AND TELEPHONE LINES. MASSIVE HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND TELEMARKETING SCHEMES DEFRAUD THOSE IN OUR SOCIETY WHO ARE OFTEN MOST VULNERABLE. DRUGS CONTINUE TO FLOOD OUR STREETS, AND HATE CRIMES AND OTHER EGREGIOUS CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUE TO HAPPEN WITH ALARMING FREQUENCY.
THE DECISIONS ABOUT MEETING CURRENT DEMANDS VERSUS PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE ARE NOT EASY ONES. ACHIEVING THE PROPER BALANCE IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN EVER BEFORE. THE EXPLOSION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF CRIME HAVE BECOME REALITIES. THE NEED FOR THE RIGHT INVESTIGATIVE TOOLS IS IMMEDIATE. THE NECESSITY FOR STRONG PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT IS MORE URGENT. INFORMATION MUST FLOW UNIMPEDED AND COORDINATION AT ALL LEVELS MUST BE SUPERB IF WE ARE TO CONTINUE TO MAKE INROADS AGAINST THESE INCREASINGLY COMPLEX CRIMES. THESE ARE AMONG THE ISSUES THE FBI IS ADDRESSING.
WITH HELP FROM CONGRESS, THE FBI IS AGGRESSIVELY PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE. OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN TO PREPARE FOR WHAT LIES ON THE HORIZON.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE FBI INITIALLY HANDLED THE NCIC 2000 AND IAFIS PROJECTS, THEIR SIGNIFICANCE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS LOST. THESE TWO PROJECTS WERE THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS NECESSARY IF THE FBI IS TO BE EFFECTIVE INTO THE NEXT CENTURY. THEY REPRESENT THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT. LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST PREPARE NOW FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NEW KINDS OF CRIMES AND TERRORISM, AND THE INEVITABLE SHRINKING OF THE GLOBE AS TRANSPORTATION AND TECHNOLOGY ADVANCE.
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THE FBI HAS SPENT THE LAST THREE YEARS PREPARING FOR THE TRANSITION INTO THE NEXT CENTURYBUT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE. I WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY MENTION SOME OF THE INITIATIVES UNDERWAY THAT CAN BE DISCUSSED IN OPEN SESSION.
ON THE TECHNOLOGY FRONT, CONGRESS IN 1994 PASSED THE COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANCE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT (CALEA) TO PRESERVE ONE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT'S MOST VALUABLE INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUESCOURTAUTHORIZED WIRETAPPINGWHICH WAS BEING LOST TO NEW TECHNOLOGY. SINCE THEN, AND AMIDST MUCH PUBLIC MISUNDERSTANDINGS, THE FBI HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE TELEPHONE COMPANIES TO DEVELOP COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS. AFTER LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF MEETINGS, WE ARE NOW CERTAIN SOLUTIONS CAN BE IMPLEMENTED. BY ENACTING THIS LAW AND PROVIDING THE INITIAL FUNDING, CONGRESS HAS ADDRESSED ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT, COMPLEX ISSUES EVER TO CONFRONT LAW ENFORCEMENT.
ENCRYPTION IS AN EQUALLY DIFFICULT ISSUE. LAW ENFORCEMENT IS IN UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT THAT THE WIDESPREAD USE OF ROBUST NONKEY RECOVERY ENCRYPTION ULTIMATELY WILL DEVASTATE OUR ABILITY TO FIGHT CRIME AND PREVENT TERRORISM. UNCRACKABLE ENCRYPTION WILL ALLOW DRUG LORDS, TERRORISTS, AND EVEN VIOLENT GANGS TO COMMUNICATE WITH IMPUNITY. OTHER THAN SOME KIND OF KEY RECOVERY SYSTEM, THERE IS NO TECHNICAL SOLUTION.
SEVERAL BILLS HAVE RECENTLY BEEN INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS THAT ADDRESS CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE ENCRYPTION ISSUE. THE LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS INTRODUCED THUS FAR WOULD LARGELY REMOVE EXISTING EXPORT CONTROLS ON ENCRYPTION AND PROMOTE THE WIDESPREAD AVAILABILITY AND USE OF ANY TYPE OF ENCRYPTION, REGARDLESS OF THE IMPACT ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND NATIONAL SECURITY, AND THESE PROPOSALS DO NOT ADDRESS THE PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE ASSOCIATED WITH THE AVAILABILITY AND USE OF ENCRYPTION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. WE ARE NOW AT AN HISTORICAL CROSSROAD ON THIS ISSUE. IF PUBLIC POLICY MAKERS ACT WISELY, THE SAFETY OF ALL AMERICANS WILL BE ENHANCED FOR DECADES TO COME. BUT IF NARROW INTERESTS PREVAIL, LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL BE UNABLE TO PROVIDE THE LEVEL OF PROTECTION THAT PEOPLE IN A DEMOCRACY PROPERLY EXPECT AND DESERVE. I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS TOO LATE TO DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH THIS ISSUE.
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NEW AND EVOLVING COMPUTER AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES LIKEWISE PRESENT LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH THE IMPOSING AND SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE OF PROTECTING THE NATION'S CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURES AND ELECTRONIC NETWORKS FROM CRIMINAL AND TERRORIST COMPUTER ATTACKS. RECOGNIZING THIS TREND FOR THE FUTURE, THE FBI HAS ESTABLISHED THE COMPUTER INVESTIGATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE THREAT ASSESSMENT CENTER (CITAC) TO COORDINATE THE CRIMINAL, COUNTERTERRORISM AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FBI RELATING TO COMPUTER INTRUSIONS AND THREATS AND ANALYTICAL EFFORT. ITS CREATION ALLOWS THE FBI TO ANALYTICALLY CROSS DISCIPLINES AND INVESTIGATIVE PROGRAMS, AND TO VIEW CASES FROM BOTH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE PERSPECTIVES. THROUGH CITAC, THE FBI WILL BE BETTER POSITIONED TO PREVENT AND COUNTERACT THREATS TO COMPUTERS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES, AND COMPONENTS OF CRITICAL NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES. CITAC AND THE COMPONENTS UNDER CITAC PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL LEVELS AND EVERY SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE OF AN FBI FIELD OFFICE HAS A WORKING GROUP OF LOCAL OFFICIALS IDENTIFYING LOCAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, VULNERABILITIES AND PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR FORESEEABLE CONTINGENCIES.
AS THE FBI ITSELF DISCLOSED, THERE WERE PROBLEMS WITH THE FBI LABORATORYONE MAJOR PROBLEM BEING ITS PHYSICAL FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT. THE LAB HAS AND CONTINUES TO PIONEER NEW TECHNIQUES, BUT AS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ROCKET AHEAD, THE CURRENT LOCATION HAS BECOME DANGEROUSLY OUTDATED. WITH THE APPROVAL AND FUNDING CONGRESS HAS PROVIDED, THE FBI IS CONSTRUCTING A STATEOFTHEART TEACHING LABORATORY AT THE FBI ACADEMY. NOT ONLY WILL THIS FACILITY ALLOW THE FBI TO MAINTAIN CUTTING EDGE FORENSIC TECHNOLOGY WELL INTO THE NEXT CENTURY, BUT IT ALSO WILL PERMIT SUBSTANTIALLY MORE SUPPORT FOR STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.
CONSISTENT WITH THE LAB'S ROBUST USE OF COMPUTER SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS LIKE DRUGFIRE AND CODIS, THE FBI IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA HAS BEGUN DEVELOPMENT OF LEOLAW ENFORCEMENT ONLINE. AS ENVISIONED, LEO WILL BRING TO POLICE DEPARTMENTSLARGE AND SMALLFORENSIC, INVESTIGATIVE AND INSTRUCTION SUPPORT NEVER BEFORE IMAGINED. FOR THE FIRST TIME, SMALL DEPARTMENTSTHE VAST MAJORITY OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS HAVE FEWER THAN 10 OFFICERSWILL BE PERMITTED READY AND IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO CRITICAL RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE FROM THE FBI.
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IN THE AREA OF COUNTERTERRORISM THERE ARE TWO SIGNIFICANT INITIATIVES IN ADDITION TO CITAC THAT I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION.
PRESIDENTIAL DECISION DIRECTIVE39 ASSIGNS TO THE FBI RESPONSIBILITY FOR REDUCING VULNERABILITIES TO TERRORISM BY AN EXPANDED COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAM. PART OF THE EXPANDED PROGRAM INCLUDES COUNTERING THE TERRORIST THREAT FROM THE USE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
THE FBI IS WORKING CLOSELY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO CARRY OUT AUTHORIZED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION PROGRAMS, SUCH AS NUNNLUGER. WE ARE ACTIVELY UNDERTAKING INITIATIVES TO EMPLOY ALL NECESSARY MEASURES, ASSETS, AND RESOURCES TO ACHIEVE THESE OBJECTIVES.
DURING THE PAST YEAR, THE FBI HAS IMPLEMENTED SEVERAL NEW PROGRAMS TO MEET THIS CHALLENGE. THESE ARE NOT CONDUCTED IN A UNILATERAL MANNER, BUT WITH THE FBI WORKING WITH MANY OTHER UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES TO COORDINATE CRISIS MANAGEMENT.
THESE PROGRAMS INVOLVE THE FBI'S ROLE IN THE INTERAGENCY COMMUNITY TO ASSIST IN THE TRAINING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONDERS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES; TO ISSUE AND UPDATE CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR FBI FIELD OFFICES AND OTHER CRISIS MANAGEMENT AGENCIES; TO PARTICIPATE IN INTERAGENCY EXERCISES; TO CREATE THE DOMESTIC EMERGENCY SUPPORT TEAM; AND TO IMPLEMENT THE JOINT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE/FBI INTERNATIONAL TRAINING INITIATIVE IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION.
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WITH FUNDING PROVIDED BY CONGRESS, THE FBI ESTABLISHED A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE CAPABILITY WITHIN THE FBI LABORATORY SO THAT WE CAN FULFILL OUR ROLE IN TERRORIST INCIDENTS WHERE CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL AGENTS OR NUCLEAR MATERIALS ARE SUSPECTED OR INVOLVED. IN ADDITION, THE FBI UPGRADED THE TRAINING PROVIDED TO FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, FIREFIGHTER, AND PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS THROUGH THE FBI'S HAZARDOUS RESPONSE SCHOOL AT REDSTONE ARSENAL, ALABAMA, AND WE ARE DEVELOPING A CAPABILITY TO EXCHANGE FORENSIC INFORMATION WITH OTHER FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS SO THAT WE CAN IMPROVE OUR ABILITY TO LINK TERRORIST INCIDENTS AND IDENTIFY PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR TERRORIST ACTS USING THESE TYPES OF WEAPONS.
IN ADDITION, THE FBI HAS ESTABLISHED THE COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER TO COORDINATE AND COMBINE THE RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM. THE CENTER IS DESIGNED TO COMBAT TERRORISM ON THREE FRONTS: INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM OPERATIONS BOTH WITHIN THE UNITED STATES AND IN SUPPORT OF EXTRATERRITORIAL INVESTIGATIONS; DOMESTIC TERRORISM OPERATIONS; AND COUNTERMEASURES PERTAINING TO BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC TERRORISM. AGENTS AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS NOW WORK SIDEBYSIDE WITH PERSONNEL FROM SIXTEEN OTHER FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATIONS, AND FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS. THIS CENTER FACILITATES COMMUNICATIONS, COOPERATION AND COORDINATION AMONG THE PARTICIPATING AGENCIESA CRITICAL ELEMENT DURING CRISES. SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT, INTERAGENCY COOPERATION HAS INCLUDED BOTH INTELLIGENCE SHARING AND JOINT OPERATIONAL PLANNING. I BELIEVE THIS CENTER WILL SERVE AS A MODEL OF COOPERATION IN THE FUTURE.
THERE SEEMS LITTLE DOUBT ABOUT THE NECESSITY FOR AN EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. NATIONAL BORDERS NO LONGER CONSTRAIN CRIMINALS AND TERRORISTS. PREPARING FOR THE NEXT CENTURY, I BELIEVE, REQUIRES ESTABLISHING NOW THE RELATIONSHIPSCOPTOCOP RELATIONSHIPSNECESSARY TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA. TO DO OTHERWISE RISKS ANY HOPE OF A COORDINATED INTERNATIONAL EFFORT AND COULD SLOW THE SPREAD OF POLICING UNDER THE RULE OF LAW.
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TOWARD THIS END, LAST YEAR WE PRESENTED TO CONGRESS, AND CONGRESS APPROVED, A FOURYEAR PLAN FOR DOUBLING THE NUMBER OF FBI LEGAL ATTACHE OFFICES, FROM 23 TO 46. THE PLAN, ALSO APPROVED BY THE CIA, THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IS DESIGNED TO PLACE LEGATS WHERE THEY WILL BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE IN SUPPORTING AMERICAN LAW ENFORCEMENT. FBI LEGATS ARE NOT INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS. THEY ARE STATIONED ABROAD SOLELY IN FURTHERANCE OF THE FBI'S LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COUNTERTERRORISM MISSIONS, CONSTANTLY INTERACTING WITH LOCAL POLICE FOR THE BENEFIT OF BOTH COUNTRIES.
IN ADDITION TO THE EXPANDED NUMBER OF LEGATS, AN INITIATIVE THAT LIKELY WILL PAY ENORMOUS DIVIDENDS IN THE YEARS TO COME IS THE INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY IN BUDAPEST. WORKING HANDINHAND WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND OTHER AGENCIES, WE NOW TRAIN 250 STUDENTS PER YEAR, ALL OFFICERS FROM THE FORMER EASTERN BLOC COUNTRIES. THIS COUPLED WITH A GREATLY ENHANCED FOREIGN POLICE TRAINING PROGRAM THAT CONDUCTS CLASSES BOTH HERE AND ABROAD GREATLY EXPANDS THE FBI'S ABILITY TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS THAT HAVE INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS AND SPREADS THROUGHOUT THE REGION THE FUNDAMENTALS OF POLICING UNDER THE RULE OF LAW.
STAPLE OF INITIATIVES OVER THE LAST YEAR
IN ORDER TO HELP STRENGTHEN EVERY ASPECT OF FBI OPERATIONS, I ALSO APPOINTED MICHAEL A. DEFEO, A DISTINGUISHED CAREER PROSECUTOR AND SENIOR OFFICIAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WITH EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE INTERNAL INQUIRY INVESTIGATIONS, TO HEAD UP OUR NEW INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. WE HAVE DOUBLED THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEESFROM APPROXIMATELY 30 TO 60DEDICATED TO IDENTIFYING, INVESTIGATING, AND ADJUDICATING ALLEGATIONS OF SERIOUS MISCONDUCT OF FBI EMPLOYEES. THROUGH THIS OFFICE, THE FBI WILL CONTINUE TO POLICE ITSELF WITH THE SAME VIGILANCE WE PLACE ON FIGHTING CRIME THROUGHOUT THE U.S.
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TO BETTER COMBAT VIOLENT CRIMES, THE FBI CURRENTLY HAS ESTABLISHED 152 SAFE STREETS TASK FORCES (SSTFS) IN 54 FIELD OFFICES. THE MISSION OF THESE TASK FORCES IS TO ESTABLISH LONGTERM PROACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS, FOCUSING ON VIOLENT CRIMES AND THE APPREHENSION OF VIOLENT FUGITIVES. SSTFS ARE COMPRISED OF 718 FBI SPECIAL AGENTS, 1131 STATE AND LOCAL OFFICERS AND 174 OTHER FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. THE IMPACT THAT THESE TASK FORCES HAVE HAD WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITIES HAS BEEN IMPRESSIVE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE NORTHERN CONNECTICUT VIOLENT CRIMES SAFE STREETS TASK FORCE WAS CREATED IN JANUARY 1994. THAT SAME YEAR, THERE WERE 58 MURDERS IN HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT; HOWEVER, THIS LAST YEAR THE MURDER RATE FELL TO 28, A 51% DECREASE.
WHILE WHITE COLLAR CRIME INVESTIGATIONS MAY NOT BE AS VISIBLE TO THE AVERAGE AMERICAN, THEY CAN HAVE JUST AS SERIOUS AFFECT UPON THEIR LIVES. THE FBI HAS INCREASINGLY EXPANDED ITS APPROACH TO INVESTIGATING WHITE COLLAR CRIME. FOR EXAMPLE, HEALTH CARE FRAUD IS A MULTIBILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM AFFECTING NEARLY EVERY AMERICAN. USING THE NEW LAWS CONGRESS ENACTED LAST YEAR, THE FBI HAS GREATLY EXPANDED ITS HEALTH CARE FRAUD PROGRAM AND NOW ROUTINELY CONDUCTS JOINT INVESTIGATIONS WITH THE INSPECTORS GENERAL, MEDICAID FRAUD CONTROL UNITS, AND PRIVATE COMPANIES SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNITS. THE FBI NOW HAS HEALTH CARE FRAUD TASK FORCES IN SEVEN FIELD OFFICES INVESTIGATING CLINICAL LABORATORIES FOR FRAUDULENT MARKETING AND BILLING PRACTICES. SINCE OCTOBER 1996, THREE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE LABORATORIES HAVE AGREED TO PAY THE GOVERNMENT OVER $625 MILLION IN CIVIL SETTLEMENTS, AND TWO CORPORATIONS PLEADED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY AND FILING FALSE CLAIMS.
ANOTHER WHITE COLLAR CRIME INVESTIGATION, ''SENIOR SENTINEL,'' CONTINUES TO COMBAT FRAUDULENT TELEMARKETERS WHO PREY ON SENIOR CITIZENS, OFTEN BILKING THEM OUT OF THEIR LIFE SAVINGS USING PHONEY ''PITCHES'' AND HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS. TO DATE, OVER 900 PERSONS HAVE BEEN CHARGED THROUGH INFORMATION DEVELOPED IN THIS INVESTIGATION.
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ANOTHER AREA UPON WHICH I HAVE PLACED SPECIAL EMPHASIS IS THE INVESTIGATION OF HATE CRIMES. ACCORDING TO THE UNIFORM CRIME REPORT, THERE WERE NEARLY 8,000 REPORTED HATE CRIMES IN 1995. WHILE NO CRIME BELONGS IN OUR SOCIETY, THIS CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMES IS PARTICULARLY HEINOUS. TO PLACE OURSELVES IN A BETTER POSITION TO PREVENT AND INVESTIGATE THESE CRIMES, THE FBI IMPLEMENTED A THREEYEAR PLAN DURING THIS LAST YEAR TO ENHANCE OUR CIVIL RIGHTS PROGRAM. BEYOND ADDING ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO INVESTIGATE THESE CRIMES, WE ARE DEVELOPING WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMUNITYPARTNERING WITH ALL THE NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS TO FORMULATE MODELS FOR REPORTING HATE CRIMES, EDUCATING THE COMMUNITY ON HATE CRIMES AND THE FBI'S ROLE, AND DEVELOPING FBI/COMMUNITY GROUP PARTNERSHIPS ON THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL.
TO FURTHER ENHANCE THE FBI'S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN, I RECENTLY DIRECTED EACH FIELD OFFICE TO DESIGNATE TWO SPECIAL AGENTS TO ASSIST AND COORDINATE EFFORTS IN THESE MATTERS. THESE AGENTS RECEIVE SPECIALIZED TRAINING AND ARE A POINT OF CONTACT AND RESOURCE FOR STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES INVOLVED IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THESE CRIMES. IN ADDITION, THE FBI HAS ESTABLISHED THE CHILD ABDUCTION/SERIAL KILLER UNIT TO SERVE AS A CLEARINGHOUSE. THROUGH THIS NETWORK OF AGENTS, WE HAVE DEVELOPED A WEB OF RESOURCES WHICH CAN BE QUICKLY MOBILIZED WHEN A CRIME IS REPORTED. THE FIRST FEW HOURS ARE CRITICAL IN A CHILD ABDUCTION CASE; WE MUST BE READY TO ACT AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE. IN ADDITION, THE FBI HAS GARNERED SUCCESS IN INVESTIGATING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY THROUGH ITS INNOCENT IMAGES INVESTIGATION. SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN JUNE 1994, WE HAVE INDICTED 94 PEOPLE AND CONVICTED ANOTHER 104.
REDUCING THE INFLUENCE OF THE LA COSTRA NOSTRA (LCN) ORGANIZATIONS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY HAS LONG BEEN A GOAL OF THE FBI. TOWARDS THIS END, THE FBI INITIATED OPERATION BUTTON DOWN JUST OVER A YEAR AGO. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THIS INITIATIVE IS THE ELIMINATION OF THE LCN AS THE MOST DOMINANT ORGANIZED CRIME ENTERPRISE IN THE UNITED STATES. DURING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE INITIATIVE, BUTTON DOWN OFFICES HAVE INDICTED AND/OR CONVICTED A TOTAL OF 4 BOSSES; 3 UNDERBOSSES; 3 CONSIGLIERES; 46 CAPOS; 48 SOLDIERS; AND 331 ASSOCIATES. THERE ARE ALSO 65 FORFEITURE MATTERS PENDING IN BUTTON DOWN OFFICES. SINCE MARCH 6, 1996, THESE OFFICES HAVE SEIZED ASSETS WORTH AN ESTIMATED $116,310,210; CURRENTLY, APPROXIMATELY $225 MILLION ARE PENDING FORFEITURE IN LCN CASES.
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THE FBI HAS ALSO BEEN ACTIVE IN TWO SPECIFIC NEW INITIATIVES DESIGNED TO STEM THE FLOW OF DRUGS INTO OUR COUNTRY. THROUGH THE SOUTHWEST BORDER INITIATIVE AND THE PUERTO RICO INITIATIVE, WE ARE WORKING CLOSELY WITH OUR FEDERAL AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS EFFECTING A COHERENT STRATEGY TO BATTLE DRUG TRAFFICKING AND PUBLIC CORRUPTION IN THESE REGIONS.
I HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY PROUD OF THE FBI'S OUTSTANDING WORK IN INVESTIGATING AND ARRESTING INDIVIDUALS GUILTY OF ESPIONAGE. SINCE THE ARREST OF ALDRICH AMES, THE FBI AND CIA HAVE INSTITUTED A WHOLE NEW SET OF MEASURES TO IMPROVE INFORMATION SHARING AND COOPERATION. THIS ENHANCED COOPERATION ENABLED THE FBI TO IDENTIFY, INVESTIGATE AND ARREST HAROLD JAMES NICHOLSON ON NOVEMBER 16, 1996. NICHOLSON IS THE HIGHEST RANKING CIA EMPLOYEE TO BE CAUGHT SPYING. IN ADDITION, THE FBI ALSO CONDUCTED A SUCCESSFUL INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AND ARRESTED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT EARL EDWIN PITTS ON DECEMBER 18, 1996. IN FEBRUARY, HE PLEADED GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ESPIONAGE AND ATTEMPTED ESPIONAGE CHARGES.
IN ANOTHER VERY SERIOUS DEVELOPING ASPECT OF THIS TYPE OF CRIME, ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO WREAK HAVOC WITH TRADE, COMMERCE AND BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY. THE ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE ACT OF 1996 PROVIDED LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH A TOOL TO DEAL MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH TRADE SECRET THEFT. AS A RESULT, WE HAVE BEGUN A MAJOR ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE INITIATIVE. GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE PROPRIETARY ECONOMIC INFORMATION SUSTAINS THE HEALTH, INTEGRITY, AND COMPETITIVENESS OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. THE PASSAGE OF THE ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE ACT HAS FACILITATED OUR ABILITY TO ACT DECISIVELY ON THESE MATTERS.
DESPITE ITS SUCCESSES, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE FBI HAS MADE MISTAKES. WE CANDIDLY ADMIT THOSE MISTAKES AND HAVE MOVED QUICKLY AND DECISIVELY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS AND PREVENT THEM FROM HAPPENING AGAIN.
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THERE IS NO BETTER CASE IN POINT THEN THE PROBLEMS IN THE FBI LAB. THE PROBLEMS IDENTIFIED BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN PERMITTED TO DEVELOP. THERE WAS A CLEAR AND SERIOUS FAILING IN NOT ADEQUATELY DETECTING THESE PROBLEMS AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, NOT MOVING SWIFTLY ENOUGH TO RESOLVE THEM. THE FBI DID NOT REACT PROPERLY TO THE OBVIOUS WARNING SIGNS. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, I BELIEVE THE FBI'S MAJOR FAILURE WAS IN NOT SEEKING ACCREDITATION SOONER.
IN ADDITION, OUR PRIOR REVIEWS OF THE LAB DID NOT GO FAR ENOUGH. THAT IS WHY WE COOPERATED FULLY WITH THE INSPECTOR GENERAL. IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. WE KNEW THERE WERE SERIOUS PROBLEMS THAT NEEDED TO BE FULLY IDENTIFIED AND FIXED. I ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IN 1994, HAVING BEGUN THEN TO MAKE SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENTS AND REPAIR OBVIOUS SHORTCOMINGS IN OUR PROCEDURES. ULTIMATELY, WE ADOPTED ALL OF HIS RECOMMENDATIONS AND MADE NUMEROUS OTHER IMPROVEMENTS OF OUR OWN, MANY WERE BEGUN PRIOR TO THE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S INQUIRY. THAT IS ALSO WHY I PREVIOUSLY INSTRUCTED THE LAB TO SEEK FULL ACCREDITATION AND WHY WE ARE GOING TO HIRE A TOPNOTCH SCIENTIST TO RUN THE LAB.
OTHER SCIENTISTS HAVE ALSO BEEN HIRED, AND OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS WE HAVE HIRED MORE THAN 100 NEW PROFESSIONAL FORENSIC EXAMINERS, MANY WITH ADVANCED DEGREES. THESE CHANGES WILL SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE THE FBI LABORATORY, AND MOST WILL BE APPLIED ACROSS THE ENTIRE LAB. IN ANY CASE, THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING FULL ACCREDITATION AS WELL AS OUR DECISION TO INSPECT THE REMAINDER OF THE LAB USING OUTSIDE EXPERTS WILL ENSURE THAT THE CONTINUING CONFIDENCE AND PRAISE EXPRESSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE AND THE NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION IS FULLY JUSTIFIED.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC WE ARE CONTINUING TO WORK VERY DILIGENTLY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS IN THE LAB. THERE ARE MANY IMPORTANT EFFORTS UNDERWAY, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW STATEOFTHEART TEACHING LABORATORY I MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY. I AM VERY CONFIDENT THESE EFFORTS WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AND ALL THE LAB PROBLEMS WILL BE FIXED. WE, INCLUDING THE NEW HEAD OF THE LAB, WILL DEDICATE OURSELVES TO WORKING EVEN HARDER TO PREVENT NEW PROBLEMS FROM ARISING IN THE FUTURE.
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE FILES ISSUES. AN ANTIQUATED SYSTEM COUPLED WITH A LACK OF IMMEDIATE MANAGEMENT OVERSIGHT ALLOWED A PROCESS TO DEVELOP MANY YEARS AGO THAT LACKED KEY SAFEGUARDS. FAILING TO PROTECT FBI FILES FROM MISUSE OR THE POSSIBILITY OF MISHANDLING OR MISUSE ARE ISSUES THAT RESONATE WITH CONCERN WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY UNDERSTAND THE FUNDAMENTAL PRIVACY ISSUES THAT WERE INVOLVED. MAINTAINING THE SANCTITY OF THE INFORMATION WE COLLECT AND ENSURING IT IS ONLY RELEASED APPROPRIATELY ARE TWO OF OUR GREATEST RESPONSIBILITIES. THE FBI MUST PROTECT THAT WHICH IT LAWFULLY COLLECTS. I AM FULLY CONFIDENT WE NOW HAVE IN PLACE THE APPROPRIATE SAFEGUARDS AND OVERSIGHT OF THE SYSTEM. AS WITH THE LAB, WE HAVE MADE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES, INSTITUTIONAL CHANGES THAT WILL BE EFFECTIVE FAR INTO THE FUTURE, THAT WILL PREVENT A REOCCURRENCE OF THESE KINDS OF PROBLEMS.
IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY WHEN MISTAKES OCCUR TO ENSURE THE FBI REACTS QUICKLY AND WISELY TO ADDRESS THE SITUATIONS. I BELIEVE THE FBI IS DOING JUST THAT AND WITH SUCCESS. POST WACO AND RUBY RIDGE, WE CREATED THE CRITICAL INCIDENT RESPONSE GROUP. ITS SUCCESS WAS APPARENT IN THE FREEMAN STANDOFF WHEN EVERY LESSON WE LEARNED EARLIER PLAYED OUT TO A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION. WHILE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MOMENT WENT NEARLY UNNOTICED, IT REPRESENTS A FUNDAMENTALLY NEW WAY OF DOING BUSINESS.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC NCIC 2000 AND IAFIS ARE OTHER EXAMPLES, DIFFERENT IN KIND, WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE FBI'S WILLINGNESS TO TAKE AGGRESSIVE CORRECTIVE ACTIONS. BOTH PROJECTS ARE NOW ON TRACK, WITH NEW MANAGEMENT TEAMS AND CONSTANT HIGHLEVEL OVERSIGHT. BOTH PROJECTS ARE ALSO BENEFITING FROM A ROBUST PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL AND STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT. THIS PARTNERSHIP WILL ENSURE WE DELIVER WHAT THE USERS NEED.
FINALLY, THERE ARE REMAINING ISSUES IMPORTANT TO THE FBI AND LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING ON WITH THIS COMMITTEE. THESE ITEMS ARE CRITICAL FOR OUR CONTINUING ABILITY TO ADDRESS THE MOST SERIOUS CRIMES AND TERRORISM AND TO PERMIT THE FBI TO HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO DEAL WITH CURRENT AND FUTURE TECHNOLOGY. BRIEFLY, THEY ARE:
CONTINUED FUNDING FOR CALEA: CONGRESS AUTHORIZED $500 MILLION IN 1994 TO REIMBURSE TELEPHONE COMPANIES FOR THEIR DIRECT COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH DEVELOPING AND RETROFITTING EXISTING TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT THAT WILL NOT SUPPORT COURT AUTHORIZED WIRETAPS, PEN REGISTERS AND TRAP AND TRACES. THUS FAR, CONGRESS HAS ONLY PARTIALLY FUNDED CALEA. BECAUSE PROGRESS WITH THE TELEPHONE COMPANIES HAS REACHED A CRITICAL STAGE AND SOME ARE READY TO MOVE FORWARD, IT IS ESSENTIAL WE BE PERMITTED TO OBLIGATE EXISTING FUNDING AND RECEIVE FUTURE FUNDING AS ENVISIONED IN THE 1994 LAW.
THE ENACTMENT OF A BALANCED LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION TO THE ENCRYPTION ISSUE THAT ADDRESSES LAW ENFORCEMENT'S PUBLIC SAFETY NEEDS IS BADLY NEEDED. I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS TOO LATE TO DO SO. THE BILLS INTRODUCED THUS FAR FAIL TO ADDRESS LAW ENFORCEMENT'S NEEDS. IN MY OPINION, THE ENACTMENT OF THESE BILLS WOULD HAVE A SERIOUS NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND NATIONAL SECURITY. ANY SOLUTION THAT IGNORES THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS RISKS GRAVE HARM TO BOTH.
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MULTIPOINT ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY: MODERN TELEPHONE TECHNOLOGY HAS CREATED ISSUES NEVER ENVISIONED IN 1968 WHEN WIRETAPPING WAS FIRST AUTHORIZED. WE NOW SEE CRIMINALS WHO BUY DOZENS OF CELLULAR TELEPHONES AT ONCE, DISCARDING EACH AFTER USING IT FOR ONLY A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. PREPAID CALLING CARDS AND THE USE OF CLONE CELLULAR PHONES HAVE BECOME COMMONPLACE. THESE AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES MAKE CURRENT SURVEILLANCE METHODS OBSOLETE. CONGRESS PARTIALLY ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE IN 1986 WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE ELECTRONICS COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY ACT. THIS PROPOSAL DOES NOT EXPAND THE SCOPE OF EXISTING COURTAUTHORIZED WIRETAPPING, RATHER IT WOULD HARMONIZE THE LEGAL SHOWING FOR WIRETAPPING WITH THAT FOR ''ROVING'' ORAL INTERCEPTS.
IN RECENT TESTIMONY, A COPY OF WHICH HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO THIS COMMITTEE, I LAID OUT THE INITIATIVES UNDERWAY AND STILL NEEDED TO CONTINUE TO EFFECTIVELY ATTACK TERRORISM. MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE IF LAW ENFORCEMENT IS TO KEEP PACE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY CERTAIN TO BE USED BY TERRORISTS AND OTHER CRIMINALS ALIKE. PROGRESSIVE, LONG TERM STRATEGIES NEED TO BE DEVELOPED, AUTHORIZED AND ULTIMATELY FUNDED TO ENSURE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL LEVELS REMAINS EFFECTIVE IN THE NEXT CENTURY AND HAS AVAILABLE THE TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES NECESSARY TO GET THIS JOB DONE.
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, I WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE THIS VERY DETAILED ACCOUNT OF FBI PROGRAMS AND PLANS BY BRIEFLY RECALLING TO YOU THE HUMAN DIMENSION OF THE FBI'S WORK. SINCE I BECAME DIRECTORAND THROUGH YOUR GOOD OFFICESI HAVE HAD THE GREAT HONOR AND PLEASURE OF WATCHING 2,210 MEN AND WOMEN TRAIN AND GRADUATE FROM THE FBI ACADEMY AS NEW FBI AGENTS. THEY HAVE BEEN RIGOROUSLY TRAINED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, IN SURVIVAL SKILLS, IN CYBER SKILLS, AND IN ETHICS AND ETHICAL DECISIONMAKING. I AM PROUD AND CONFIDENT IN THEIR ABILITY TO WORK ON THE STREET, TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SWORN TO PROTECT, AND TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF 21ST CENTURY LAW ENFORCEMENT.
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AT THE SAME TIME, I HAVE ALSO, SINCE BECOMING DIRECTOR, ATTENDED THE FUNERALS OF FIVE SPECIAL AGENTS. ALL WERE SLAIN IN THE LINE OF DUTY, BY GUNFIRE. ALL WERE MEN AND WOMEN AT THE PEAK OF THEIR LIVES. ALL LEFT GRIEVING FAMILIES BEHIND.
WE CAN NEVER FORGET THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT IS A HARD TRADE IN A VIOLENT WORLDAND THAT THE FBI PROGRAMS AND PLANS WE DISCUSS TODAY ARE NOTHING WITHOUT THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE, EVERY DAY, TO PROTECT PEOPLE. ON THEIR BEHALF, I WOULD AGAIN LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR WILLINGNESS, WHILE HOLDING US FULLY ACCOUNTABLE, TO SUPPORT OUR MISSION AND OUR NEEDS, AND TO HELP US WORK THROUGH AND SOLVE THE EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT ISSUES WE FACE. I WILL NOW BE GLAD TO TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Director Freeh. Before we begin the questioningwe will go under the 5-minute rule, and I expect two rounds of questionsI want to be sure that our guests today on the subcommittee understand the rules under which they may question. Mr. Delahunt, as a member of the full committee but not the subcommittee, you are eligible to ask questions, but they will be under the subcommittee's procedures after all subcommittee members have finished their questioning. Mr. Ford, not as a member of the full Judiciary Committee but as a guest here today, you may question only if another member yields to you for that purpose.
With that in mind, I'd like to yield myself the first 5 minutes, and I would first like to say, Director Freeh, that this subcommittee, as much or more than any other group of Members of Congress, fully supports the FBI, its resource requirements, and its personnel requirements. We're very sympathetic and concerned with you on issues such as the encryption question, which is a delicate issue at this point in time. I personally want to see this wiretap matter, the multi-point source issue, resolved because I think that's the most critical issue that you face right now as technological impediment to doing the job that we all expect. And all of us, despite the questioning you're going to get today, I think are firmly convinced that your agency continues to be the finest law enforcement outfit in the world, but, unfortunately, most of the questions today, including mine, are going to be focused on those matters which have been controversial. We just simply have a responsibility to ask those questions.
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I would like to comment before leading into my questions on the recent SWAT team truck incident. If, indeed, your investigation turns out that there were no rules or regulations relative to how this truck should have been guarded with all those weapons in it, I don't think there's any excuse for that absence of regulation. Let's hope that there were. If the men who were there, the officers, did not follow the appropriate procedures, I hope that they would be appropriately disciplined. It's a very difficult question. The public just does not understand how that kind of equipment with that much firepower could be left unguarded overnight in that setting. But I'm not going to ask the questions about it because I think some of my colleagues will.
I want to lead into something that is more current in terms of its recent timing and that is the Office of Professional Responsibility report on Richard Jewell and the Olympic Park bombing matter in Atlanta. Although it has not been publicly released yet, my understanding is that the Office of Professional Responsibility investigation report has been completed; that two of the SACs in Atlanta have been disciplined as well as one of the agents who are there. I'm not going to ask you every detail relate to the incident but I am concerned about the discipline that occurred as a result. Richard Jewell's interrogation on July 30, 1996. It's my understandingand I want you to correct me if I'm wrongthat on that day Richard Jewell was invited to come to the headquarters in Atlanta to talk about the matter of the bombing. As I understand it and according to the investigation, he was there under somewhat of a ruse to be videotaped for a training film. At that point he had not been given any Miranda warnings; he was being asked questions under that ruse, and at some point during the course of that actual interrogation, there was a call made from you or someone in your shop to Atlanta or you became aware of the questioning in some manner or means. Can you pick this up, and tell us when and how you first learned of this interrogation, andif I'm correct about the videotape rusejust what happened from your end of it?
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Mr. FREEH. I'll be happy to speak to it from my end. I'm a little bit reticent to speak about the actual activity of the agents involved, because although there has been the imposition of discipline, they have an appeal process. Ultimately, I could be the judge in that process, and I don't want to say anything with respect to their conduct which might interfere with the fairness of the procedure.
With respect to what I did, I'm happy to talk about that as well as the Headquarter's involvement. Everything you've said is completely accurate as far as I understand the report and the facts. At one point on that day, which was the 30th, I did learnbecause I was on a conference call along with many other FBI managers and the principal Deputy Attorney General who was also in the command postthat Mr. Jewell was being interviewed in the FBI office as opposed to his residence, where I think the initial interview was first contemplated. The change of those circumstances, in particular, led me to conclude that he should be given his constitutional rights, partly because of my background, but also because of the fact that he was now in the FBI office. Even though Mr. Jewell was there by invitation as opposed to in his own residence, I thought it was prudent that he be given his constitutional rights. I directed that that be done. As far as I knew, it would be carried out by giving him straight up and very clearly his constitutional rights.
That command interceded with the factual situation which you described. The question then is, what was the understanding of the people who carried out that order and how did it transect or interact with whatever was going on down there in terms of a ruse. That's the subject of the OPR inquiry and the basis of evaluating what the conduct was done. The OPR inquiry did find, as you know, that there was no intentional violation of Mr. Jewell's rights by anyone. There was no misconduct; no misconduct was found. The report found an error in judgment in terms of the people involved in that process, and it's now the internal review and appeal process that will ultimately determine the consequences of that. Two of the SACs, as you pointed out, have been censored for the activity.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Director Freeh, with whom did you specifically talk to learn of the actual interrogation on the date that it was going on? Who told you about it?
Mr. FREEH. Well, we knew prior to the interview that he would be interviewed that day. I knew that from my deputies, assistant director Bob Bryant, other individuals, and then of course we had a telephone conference with the Atlanta SAC. I think the U.S. Attorney was also down there where this was discussed and where, subsequent to that conversation, I made a decision that he needed to be given his Miranda rights.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And it's purely coincidental that that decision was conveyed during the course of the actual interrogation under the ruse of the video training film?
Mr. FREEH. There was no knowledge certainly in headquarters, certainly by myself, that a ruse was going on. I think the report found that it was not an understanding that all of the people in Atlanta had at the time it was happening either.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So you did not know that this ruse was going on?
Mr. FREEH. No. Absolutely not.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And with whom did you speak to give the order to give the Miranda warning?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. The SAC in Atlanta.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Woody Johnson.
Mr. FREEH. Yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And at that point in time he didn't tell you anything about a training videotape going on or of the interrogation being under a ruse or anything like that?
Mr. FREEH. No, we knew nothing about a videotape or that a ruse was being used in the interview.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And he did not tell you that it was in progress at the time, the interview?
Mr. FREEH. No, we knew that the interview was in progress.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. And at that point you wanted the Miranda warnings to be given, and you told him to interrupt the interview and give the Miranda warnings?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Very well. Well, I've run past my 5 minutes, but I wanted to explore that incident; I think it's very important, and I may come back to it.
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Ms. Jackson Lee, you're here now, but I think Mr. Meehan was here before. Do you wish to go now or do you want me to yield to him for the first questions?
Mr. Meehan then? Mr. Meehan you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just want to follow up on the chairman's question. What's disturbing about this is the poor coordination and communication by the FBI, their agents, and their superiors. My perspective on this comes from the fact that, you know, I was a prosecutor up in Massachusetts, and one of the things I had to do was go to a scene when there was a homicide, and it's important to have one person in charge in an investigation and the communication be open. Here you have in the Richard Jewell investigationyou and senior FBI officials in Washington held a conference call with agents in Atlanta to discuss an interview that was already underway, and as Iit was my understanding that you weren't told about the training video story; yet, you ordered the Miranda rights without really having a full understanding of what they were up to in terms of the training video. Since there was no discussion about how to reconcile the Miranda rights in engaging in the training video ploy, essentially you have the Director of the FBI making a judgment that the Miranda rights needed to be read without full disclosure, and there's a lack of coordination of critical information that's concerning to me.
In the Aldrich Ames case, even though the CIA personnel told FBI agents in the mid 1980s that a large number of Soviet assets had been compromised at precisely the same time that the FBI was experiencing a similar problem, this information didn't promptly find its way to FBI managers. Furthermore, when the FBI finally teamed up with the CIA in 1991 to investigate their losses, the two FBI representatives participating in the investigation had little contact with their supervisors at FBI headquarters even after initially it became clear that Ames was making large bank deposits after meeting with the Soviets.
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What's of concern to me here, Why have FBI agents in the field failed to fully inform their supervisors of critical information, and does the FBI have a policy on this matter, and if they don't, is it something that in your, kind of, overview of these situationswhether you're attempting to remedy this problem? Had you known, for example, of the training video ploy being used by FBI agents interviewing Jewell, would you have insisted, for example, that they have their Miranda rights read? There's someI suppose it's a question of whether or not that you need to have the Miranda rights read under the fact pattern at that particular time. Yet, the Director of the FBI wasn't aware of this training ploy. So, what is being done, and what are you specifically doing with this what appears to beat least from my reading of ita lack of getting critical information from the FBI agents to their supervisors?
Mr. FREEH. Well, you've cited two instances where I would agree with you; there was a failure of coordination and information being transmitted. With respect to the Atlanta matter, since I was involved in that, I take full responsibility. Perhaps I should have asked more questions, and I didn't. My decision, based on what I knew, was that even though there was a very good argument that the individual was not entitled to his Miranda rightsbecause he was not in custody, and he was there voluntarilyI made a decision that he should be given his rights because of my appreciation for the situation and also because I think preserving constitutional rights are more important than the result of any interview or the result of any investigation.
With respect to the Ames matter in the 1980s, you're quite right. Not only was there a failure of communication between the CIA and the FBI in this case, this situation also existed in many other cases. We had a very bad relationship going both ways between those agencies to the point where I think neither of us did our job as well as we should. Ironically, after the Cold War, the relationship, particularly in counter-intelligence as shown in the Ames case, Nicholson case, and the Pitts case, is outstanding. I wish it had been that way in the 1980s.
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Unfortunately, I'm sure, there are many, many, other instances where informationnot just from the field to headquarters, but from agency to agency and from squad to squaddoesn't get transmitted as clearly and certainly as effectively as it should. We strive to do that better; unfortunately, because of fast-moving events and human communications, those lapses sometimes occur. We certainly don't try to explain them away except as lapses, and we seek to avoid them whenever we can.
Mr. MEEHAN. In this sense, will there be something specific as a result of you not having full information at the time you ordered Miranda rights? I mean, is therewhat will you do in order to try to remedy that situation other than say we have to do a better job?
Mr. FREEH. Well, I think everybody has been sufficiently sensitized to the facts of that situation to ensure that if it were to be repeated in any semblance, that we would have a much fuller
Mr. MEEHAN. And just brieflyMr. Chairman, if you could bear with mewhy wouldn't the U.S. Attorney who was involvedwouldn't they make that kind of determination? In other words, why wouldn't they make the determination?
Mr. FREEH. Well, the U.S. Attorney concurred with me; he did.
Mr. MEEHAN. And he didn't havedid he have full facts? In other words, did he understand what was going on with the video?
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Mr. FREEH. No, he did not. And he was on the scene.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Meehan.
Mr. Chabot, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CHABOT. I thank the chairman, and, again, I thank the Director for being here today.
I wanted to ask you about the FBI files at the White House, and my question specifically is that Craig Livingstone was able to order up hundreds of FBI files; Mr. Marsake also had access to these files, and it's my understanding that the White House had a rather cavalier attitude at best about actually cooperating with the FBI in getting security clearance to make sure that people who were working in the White House were safe and secure individuals. Would you comment onI understand that there have been changes made in as far as getting files at this point in time, but when you have an institution which has the ability, as the FBI does, to find out information about American citizens, it obviously raises privacy issues, but you want that information to be secure. And when somebody who doesn't even have security clearance in the White House apparently gets access to those files, it certainly raises some privacy issues, and I'd just like toI'd like you to comment on that.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. When we learned that this had occurredit was almost about a year ago todayit was a surprise in terms of a vulnerability which we did not realize existed. The system which was operating had existed since 1968, going back to the Johnson administration. People in the White House or any other agency, could send a preprinted form without a signature, without any kind of an explanation, and ask, not for a file, but a summary of a file which is just, as you point out, very sensitive and very confidential. Those would be delivered routinely; handled by fairly low level clerks, not without any oversight process. When I learned about that, just about a year ago, we looked at it quickly and fully. In nine days we completely changed those procedures. We required that the consent of the person whose summary was at issue be provided to access that summary.
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Mr. CHABOT. Not to interrupt you, but I know that you've made some changes at this point, and we've only got, as you know, 5 minutes, so I had a couple of questions I wanted to get at
Mr. FREEH. I'm sorry.
Mr. CHABOT. But relative to that, and the security clearance in particular, as I mentioned, their attitude about security clearance had been pretty cavalier at best. Do you know what the current situation is relative to the employees over there getting and having security clearance now?
Mr. FREEH. No, except for a background investigation or a name check, that's not anything that the FBI does. So, I 'm not currently aware of that.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay. Thank you.
Switching gears here, I, first of all, want to compliment you and the agency on your handling of the Freeman standoff situation and its very fortunate conclusion. Would you commentand I know this happened prior to your becoming FBI Directorcould you comment on what mistakes were learned at Waco and Ruby Ridge that were then implemented in the Freeman situation so that we didn't have a repeat of those disastrous situations?
Mr. FREEH. I think there were many, and I know we're limited for time. I think the main realization was that the FBI was not prepared at that time to deal with a situation such as Waco and Ruby Ridge. When we had those two incidents, we sent our hostage rescue team to respond. There were really no hostages in a real sense in either circumstance. We had, and still have, negotiators and a non-tactical set of resources to deal with those things, but we were primarily focused with our tactical support team to deal with what potentially could be resolved by a non-tactical situation. So, the big realization was we have other means, and there are other resources beyond tactical ones, to deal with those problems.
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We reconstituted the whole crises intervention format where we not only have the hostage rescue team but on an equal authority basis, we have the hostage negotiators, the profilers. We used in Montana dozens of third party intermediaries, which the FBI had been reluctant to use in the past. They were used very sparingly in Waco and Ruby Ridge which are the situations you mentioned.
Our command and control was not what it should have been in those conditions. We were talking with your colleague here about my decision with respect to giving somebody their constitutional rights. It's an unusual event for the Director to be playing in operational situations, probably not always a good one, but in the Freeman situation I was the person on an hourly and daily basis making decisions through my commanders on the scene. There was a direct line of accountability from them to me, particularly for those decisions. We didn't have that in Waco; we didn't have that in Ruby Ridge. There was a question about what authority was there and by who in it was being provided. One of the big improvements, in my view, was to take that responsibility in those very critical incidents and put it where it should be, which is with me, so I can be accountable to you and the people that I serve.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chabot.
Ms. Jackson Lee, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and let me thank Director Freeh for his presence here today.
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Many of us have our day in the spotlight; you've had yours for now a number of days and a number of weeks. I think it's appropriate to begin by thanking you for what the FBI has done, its presence in this country. I happen to believe in a Federal law enforcement entity, and, frankly, let me acknowledge that in the civil rights movement those of us in the deep South recognize that the FBI was the bridge or the buffer, if you will, between those local jurisdictions that were refusing to acknowledge our equality, and I don't think that we should miss that point as we discuss now some concerns that many of us have in the quality and the future of the FBI.
Mr. Chairman I'd like to submit my statement and ask unanimous consent my opening statement for the record.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection, it is so entered.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing to discuss the questions that have been raised concerning the FBI's involvement in a number of recent cases.
I also want to thank director Freeh for joining us today. I want to share with Director Freeh my appreciation of the excellent work he has done over the last few years within the structure of the FBI. On behalf of the people of the 18th Congressional District I would like to thank director Freeh and every member of the FBI for the courageous acts they continue to perform for each and every American.
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I applaud the FBI for their successful handling of such cases the Freeman Standoff and the arrest of the Unabomber suspect. I am concerned, however, that these very public successes have been equalled by a number of very public problems. I particular, I am referring to the circumstances surrounding the interview of Richard Jewell in the Olympics bombing case and the deficiencies and misconduct tied to the FBI Lab.
The FBI is the finest law enforcement organization in this country. It is given a terrific responsibility and I believe that on the whole it meets this charge. I believe, however, that public confidence in the FBI has been slightly undermined by the cases such as those I just mentioned. These hearings are an important step in restoring public confidence and beginning to correct the structural weaknesses that allowed these problems to arise in the first place. Director Freeh, I look forward to working with you to that end.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'd like to pursue with you, Director Freeh, several questions, and I'm going to give you a list, so if you have note-taking, would you, please.
First, I'm very interested in the FBI's morale at this point, and what role we in Congress play in ensuring that we have both an efficient, effective, but morally upbeat, prepared-to-do-their-tasks Federal Bureau of Investigation. I am familiar, as a former staffer of the Select Committee on Assassinations dealing with the King and Kennedy assassinations in this House, of the co-intel probe. I know what you did with the FBI and the Black Panthers and other groups; I know that I disagreed with the approach. I'm concerned, however, that we now have in our midst emerging militia groups and hate groupsI'm told they number some 800and I would appreciate you telling me what you all are doing in particular with the Jewell incident and the Olympic incident in Atlanta. It was well reported that there was militia influence; I have yet to hear a conclusion on that investigation. With the series of bombings that occurred in Atlanta along with the bar bombing that occurred, there was some talk about the militia, and then like a lead balloon it stopped. I find them frightening; I find them equally threatening as you might have thoughtwhen I say you, the FBI and othersduring the time of the civil rights movement, of which I certainly disagree with that approach, and I see nothing happening. So that is a concern that I have.
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Then I'd like to ask you about your intervention, if you will, in child abduction cases. We've had a series of those. What is the trigger pointthose of us on the local endwhat is a trigger point for the FBI investigation? How can we get you in a faster mode?
Lastly, let me say to you on the FBI Lab, I'm very glad to see that there will be a state-of-the-art unit and certainly hope that the funding will go through; I support that. I happened to have spent 10 days at the FBI Academy, very proudly so, and went through the training, but the other question becomes, what kind of staffinghow you will secure the appropriate staffing to make sure that the technology works, because I believe we can fix that problem.
And I'm very glad to see what happened if I mightI'm on the recordin the McVeigh trial. The prosecutors still prevailed in that at this point, but we have to be very careful, and we must provide due process, and I don't want to see failings in an FBI Lab work of which local jurisdictions need to rely on in protecting those who have been alleged to have violated the law.
With that, I'd like to have your answers and thank you very much for your appearance.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. Thank you very much. With respect to the laboratory, we have approximately 625 employees now. About 100 of them have been civilian forensic analysts who've been hired and who are now for the most part certified and actually testifying in FBI cases. I made that decision back in 1993 for two reasons. Frist, I wanted to replace some of the 100-plus Special Agents who were in the lab, because at that point, as you remember, we were under a hiring freeze. We didn't bring any new agents on board for 22 months. I also wanted to bring in some outside science to give a little bit more depth and diversity to the protocols. I'm proud to say that's working very well. We think we have enough human resources with respect to what our current obligations are. However, I would tell you, as I'm sure you know, in the DNA analysis area we're getting more and more submissions, particularly by the State and local authorities. We are having trouble, and the backlog in terms of some of those responses is growing. Some of the new instrumentation and the new CODIS protocols will speed that up.
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We are looking at the other 32 units in our lab which were not the subject of the Inspector General report. Those recommendations, of course, will be applied across the board, but we are now internally getting civilian scientists, to come in with our FBI inspectors and look at each of the other units to ensure that they're working as well as we want them to be and that the recommendations are implemented across the board.
With respect to the child abduction cases, we immediately respond to requests for assistance in child abduction cases. It used to be that we would wait 24 hours to look for some of the indicia of Federal jurisdiction, ransom note, et cetera. We don't do that anymore. I've instructed my SACs that we are to respond immediately with respect to a child abduction case. That was the case two weeks ago in the tragic murders down in Spotsylvania, Virginia. FBI agents were there within hours; they worked all weekend; they did all of the profiling as well as software assistance that we were asked to do. So, we work immediately. If it turns out we don't have a violation, we've worked it as an assist to law enforcement, which is one of our authorities.
With respect to the militia groups, we have had some very important cases with respect to militia groups: two recent cases in Washington State; the Republic of Texas case, which of course was not an FBI case but in which we assisted; and many other investigations going on around the country which I can't really go into in any detail. We have also taken steps to make contact with the main militia groups. All of our SACs, primarily through the local sheriffs, have contacted the leaders of these groups; in some cases we've been given assistance, very valuable assistance, by those groups as to people who they view as dangerous or threatening.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Most of the militia groups organized in the United States are not, in my view, a threat or dangerous, despite the fact that you would and I would not agree with their ideology or some of their precepts. In fact, we would quite strongly disagree with them. Our criteria require that there be some indication of danger or violence before we would predicate an investigation.
With respect to the morale at the FBI, I think morale is very good. Nobody in any organization certainly likes to be the subject of criticism and scrutiny; I think that's part of human nature. On the other hand, everybody in the Bureau, particularly myself, realizes how important the oversight and scrutiny is. However, we should be judged not so much on the problems, particularly some of them which developed without anybody's direct responsibility, but how quickly we solve those problems.
One of the issues is it takes a long time to solve some problems; many of the problems in the FBI are longstanding. I recently met with the president of the NAACP, and he said to me that for years when he was in this body he was concerned about discrimination against African-American agents in the FBI. He said many years later and in large degree to some of the changes that have been made, he doesn't see that as a problem. In fact, he said that that could be taken off the board, because the FBI after many years had addressed that problem. We now have Assistant Directors who are African-American and have appointed seven special agents in charge around the country. We change over time; we do respond to problems and issues. It does take a long time sometimes, perhaps too long. We're a very large bureaucracy, but our goal is to change and be as responsive and do all the things we're required to do.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I would ask if you'd justI won't ask him to answer thisindulge me an additional 30 seconds; I just want to pose a question. I'll get the answer from him at a later time. Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Go ahead.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Director Freeh, I appreciate the statement. Let me somewhat disagree with you. Two Members, my ranking member, Congressman Conyers and myself have been following this; he has certainly led this in years past, the whole issue of hate groups and militia, and I don't know if you're making a scientific statement, but I do realize that during the time of groups such as the Black Panthers, who were not by their message and mission a violent group, there was still surveillance, and so I disagree with you that we can make a blanket statement that 800 or so militia groups in this country don't pose an eventual threat. Many people thought the Republic of Texas did not pose a threat; almost it was humorous. They're not humorous. I will be probing your Department for information that obviously is within the bounds of securing that and also will be pressing the point for oversight hearings on that question. I think we cannot function without information, so you will be hearing from me on that point.
Mr. FREEH. It was not my intention to say, if I misstated, that all 800 groups are not dangerous. I said most of the groups in our view are not dangerous, and the ones that are we're looking at very officially.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And I'll be in touch with your office. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Mr. Barr, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
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Mr. BARR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Freeh, is the Gary Aldrich matter concluded now?
Mr. FREEH. It is within the FBI; yes, sir.
Mr. BARR. Okay. And there will be no prosecution or suit brought against Mr. Aldrich by the Government.
Mr. FREEH. No, there will not. No.
Mr. BARR. Okay. Thank you. In October of 1994 the FBI in a report identified and characterized Arthur Coia, the head of Liuna, as a ''criminal associate in a New England patriarch-organized crime family.'' Then shortly thereafter in a draft complaint, I think in November of 1994, the characterization of Mr. Coia was that he, he and others, ''have associated with and been controlled and influenced by organized crime figures.'' There are other documents which similarly reflect the view of our Government, the FBI, and the Department of Justice with regard to Coia's mob ties that I know you're very familiar with and this committee, subcommittee, looked into a year ago. Are those characterizations of Mr. Coia accurate?
Mr. FREEH. I don't think it would be proper for me to really characterize them or confirm them certainly at this proceeding. I would be
Mr. BARR. Well, is the October 7, 1994 FBI report which I quoteddid I quote from it accurately?
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Mr. FREEH. I believe that you did; whether it's a public report or one that hasn't been made public, perhaps may be a separate issue.
Mr. BARR. I mean these were documents that we discussed and went over at great detail in public hearings last year.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. Oh, I realize that. There are aspects about that case which, if you wish, I would be happy to speak to you about in a closed session. There are some matters which are sensitive and which I could, within the boundaries of the 6(e) process, discuss with you but which I would feel very uncomfortable speaking about here.
Mr. BARR. Would you be able to state publicly that the Bureau continues to have some concerns about Mr. Coia?
Mr. FREEH. I would say that allegations, including public allegations recently made, are certainly a subject of continuing concern for us, yes.
Mr. BARR. And I would appreciate receiving additional information, either separately or perhaps through the subcommittee, in closed session on this continuing troubling matter.
Does the Communist Chinese Government, the Government of the People's Republic of China, maintain an interest in obtaining intelligence on United States economic and national security and defense matters?
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Mr. FREEH. I think that's a matter we should probably refer to in a closed or classified session. I will be happy to respond to your question, but I think it would be in the nature of a classified hearing, the ones we typically have before the intelligence committees and where I would be willing to give you information.
Mr. BARR. Okay. Is there anything that you can state publicly with regard to that at this time?
Mr. FREEH. I think the only thing that I stated before, which is we are aware of 23 foreign countriesand I didn't name them in the open session, but I would be able to discuss them in a classified settingwho maintain active clandestine programs within the United States to access and appropriate trade secrets. That information has been public.
Mr. BARR. And is the People's Republic of China included in that list?
Mr. FREEH. Well, I'd like to talk to you in a classified session.
Mr. BARR. Okay. That's not public information at this time?
Mr. FREEH. No, sir, it's not.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARR. Okay. With regard to wiretapsand I know that the Bureau has been interested for some time now in obtaining expanded roving wiretap authorityI was rather intrigued by your characterization in your opening comments, Mr. Director, about this not being an expansion of authority. The very language of the legislation that we were considering, and I believe which the administration asked us to implement 2 years ago and a year agofor example, section 108 of one of the proposed anti-terrorism bills is entitled, ''Expanded Authority for Roving Wiretaps,'' and I think certainly, if not from a very purely technical and legalistic standpoint, notwithstanding that what the Bureau is asking for is an expansion of authority. I'd appreciate it if you could identify the specific problem, given the fact that 18 USC 2518I don't have the subsection herebut it's under paragraph 11, which I know you're very familiar, Mr. Director, it says that, ''The requirements relating to the specification of the facilities from which or the place where the communication is to be intercepted do not apply if . . .,'' and then it has, as you've indicated in your opening testimony, very broad authority for oral communications, but then of course the ability or the power of the Government to intercept electronic communications is somewhat limited. But it is true, is it not, that there is currently in Federal law, in this particular provision, 18 USC 2518, authority to conduct so-called roving wiretaps?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. There clearly is with the microphone surveillance, as you pointed out.
Mr. BARR. And is there not some perhaps middle ground that could be reachedin looking at the specific language currently in the statute which does grant limited roving wiretap authority, but is somewhat restrictive in terms of the showing that has to be made to the court before it can be conductedis there some middle ground between that and the very broad language that was contemplated last year that would essentially treat electronic communications the same as oral communications?
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Mr. FREEH. You know, I think that there might be some type of language; I haven't, quite frankly, been able to conceptualize it. I mean, here's my problem: The statute was written in 1968. That was not only before clone phones but before a lot of other things. For example, what if I'm investigating a drug dealer, and the drug dealer lives at home. He has a phone in his house, but every day my surveillance agents see him come out from pay phone to pay phone making and receiving calls. He changes the pay phones every day, and based on everything else we know about him, including what our informant tells us, he's a major drug dealer. He's using those pay phones to deal drugs. I can't cover all of the possible phones that he might use without a particular showing to the court that he is consciously taking steps to avoid electronic surveillance. Now, there's an inference that he's doing that, but the statute which you've just read very accurately refers to a specific showing of an intent to avoid surveillance.
My request is, let me do the same thing with him on telephones that I could do if he was going from his house to different places every day where he was discussing orally the commission of drug crimes. I think the statute has to get even with the technology. All we're asking for is a parity between microphone and oral surveillance. I don't think that is an expansion; I think it's a parity, and it's certainly not new authority.
Mr. BARR. I'd continue to disagree with your characterization. I think it is a fairly large expansion, but I would be certainly willing to look at some specific language, if you and your staff could come up with it, that might represent something less than just treating these two categories of communications equally, because I think there are serious differences in civil liberties and privacy concerns that apply to one that don't apply to the other.
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Mr. FREEH. I'm happy to work with you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Barr. Your time is up.
Mr. Wexler, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. WEXLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, I, too, want to join in in the chorus of the praise of the thousands of FBI employees who devote themselves, their lives, to the pursuit of truth and justice. In the interest of time, however, I'd like to get right to the point. As I mentioned earlier, the United States v. Mr.I guess Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, I assume you are very familiar with the case?
Mr. FREEH. I'm familiar with it, though not in any great detail.
Mr. WEXLER. Okay. Have you had an opportunity to review The Wall Street Journal article?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. I read the materials you had sent me, and I appreciate it very much.
Mr. WEXLER. Terrific. In the interest of time, my concern is this: It appearsand I understand fully we are not a court of law; we are not the judge; we are not the juryit appears that a systematic effort on behalf of one, if not more, people employed by the FBI misrepresented evidence provided to the original trial court, and then provided false affidavits to appellate courts which has extended the timeframe in which Mr. McDonald has yet to get a fair trial. It is not one small piece of evidence; it is groupings of pieces of evidence. There are confessions by outside parties confessing to the crime; there is evidence that supports the confessions. The alibi that the accused, the convicted, used was totally dismantled by the FBI, and it appears that the evidence that would have supported the alibi was just simply not provided or fabricated. What, if anything, are you doing about it?
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Mr. FREEH. We takeand I certainly take as a former prosecutor and a judgewith the utmost seriousness all of the matters raised in those articles, all of the allegations, and there is nothing more serious with respect to what we do in our business. There is, as you are aware, a habeas proceeding which is now in the district court in North Carolina. In fact, Dr. McDonald has incorporated in that third habeas proceeding these very arguments. He's also asked for leave to file supplemental affidavits, which will include all of the matters that have been raised. The Government will respond to that; the judge will make findings, and, ultimately, there will be a resolution of that. I'm reluctant to talk about the facts of that case before litigation in that court.
We have a very powerful and wonderful toolit's actually a gift from the Magna Cartain this country to deal with these very serious, most serious violations. As you know, earlier in the week a Federal judge in Los Angeles set aside a murder conviction for an individual going back to 1972 because of Government misconduct, including, in small part, the fact that the individual who had testified was an FBI informant unknown to the defendant at the time of trial. The Federal judge has set aside that conviction, just as the judge in North Carolina is empowered to do if he or sheI don't know who the judge ismake those findings. It's not appropriate for me to comment about that proceeding at this time except to tell you that we will fully, as we have, support the discovery in that case, get all the facts there, and let the chips fall where they may.
Mr. WEXLER. With all due respect, and this is not meant towards you personally, and I welcome the statement that the FBI will fully cooperate, but at least as it relates to this case, in the past the FBI has not apparently fully cooperated, and I find it somewhat troubling, and I appreciate the response. You cite, in fact, the efforts of Mr. McDonald's attorneys as to what they are doing pro bono to help the problem, but I don't see anything with respect to the FBI. I guess what puzzles me, if not you, if not you, Mr. Freehyou are the Director of the FBIthen who is it in this country that we are going to rely upon to stand up and say, when a terrible, terrible tragedy has occurred, that the FBI and the United States Government may have to do something? Are we supposed to simply just turn over that responsibility to some private lawyer in Massachusetts that's willing to give his time? Is that what all this is about? Let's just hope there's some pro bono attorney willing to do it.
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Mr. FREEH. Well, I think I'd respond to that by saying what we turn to and what we look to is exactly what the framers of the Constitution told us to do, which is an Article 3 district court judge. He is the one in our great system under the great writ who will make those findings and make those decisions. Those allegations have not yet been fully determined by a court. We have a great tradition in this country, whether it's in Los Angeles or Oklahoma City, to rely on courts to review those matters.
Mr. WEXLER. Is Mr. Malone still working at the FBI?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, he is.
Mr. WEXLER. Does that trouble you?
Mr. FREEH. The allegations give me extreme trouble, as they do everybody in law enforcement. But, we are an organization that gets facts before we make decisions, just as a court does, just as a jury does, and that's the procedure we're going to follow here.
Mr. WEXLER. Is he still handling evidence?
Mr. FREEH. No, I don'twell, he's not in the laboratory, but I'm not sure what his duties entail in terms of evidence.
Mr. WEXLER. Why was he moved from the laboratory then?
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Mr. FREEH. I don't know.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Wexler. Your time has expired.
Mr. Hutchinson, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, let me come back to what I indicated I was going to ask about in my opening remarks. In regard to the FBI van that was assigned to the Little Rock office and was stolen in Memphis, you indicated that you set up this task force and you've recovered certain items; two arrests have been made. I believe there's still an M16 that is out
Mr. FREEH. I actually just got a note that we found that, too.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, good. Have you recovered all of the items that were stolen from the van?
Mr. FREEH. No, we have one of the M79 grenade launchers missing; it's the only item missing, according to my note here.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. But you indicated also that you're reviewing the policies that govern the handling of weapons when they're transported. What is the policy of the FBI in regard to security of the weapons in a van such as the one from the Little Rock office?
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Mr. FREEH. As I mentioned in my Senate testimony yesterday, there's a number of regulations which I was very summarily told about prior to my testimony yesterday. For instance, if you keep weapons in the trunk of a car, you must use a chain lock and a key lock to secure that trunk shut.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. There's no trunk here.
Mr. FREEH. There's no trunk here. There was no alarm on this particular vehicle. We don't have a specific rule, at least as far as they could find for me yesterday, with respect to arming all vehicles, but particularly those with weapons. We have another regulation that says shoulder weapons need to be in a locked gunrack inside an unattended vehicle. They did not have gunracks here. I mean, here they stole the whole vehicle, as you know. We have rules about leaving a van unattended for, I think, a 24-hour period. That was not the issue here. What I can promise you is that all of the rules and regulations that we have will certainly be matched against the conduct. I don't want to prejudge the agents down there now.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. And I wouldn't want you to.
Mr. FREEH. And if we need new rules and new regulations, we'll have them very quickly in place; I promise you that.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Well, I compliment you for your immediate action on that, and I'm delighted with the recovery of the weapons that you have recovered thus far.
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Let me go on to the Richard Jewell matter in Atlanta. Some number of questions have been asked about that already. I think you indicated that it's been your practice in a number of key cases to be directly involved in the investigations
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUTCHINSON [continuing]. And this was the case in regard to the Richard Jewell matter?
Mr. FREEH. It was one of the few cases, very, very few, where I take a direct a role. In the Freeman case, in the Oklahoma bombing case, in the espionage cases I took a thoroughly involveddaily, hourlyrole in decisions which the Director ordinarily wouldn't make, and maybe shouldn't make, but in particular cases it's my practice to do that.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. It makes sense. I mean, I know the FBI has had some black eyes, and I know that your effort of direct involvement is to avoid that, I assume. You were a part of the decisionmaking process to begin with, but, as you indicated, you have an enormously huge agency, very, very tough responsibility to supervise all of that, and it looked like in reading the review of the Richard Jewell case that there was a lack of communication as to what was happening on the scene and, you know, the direction to go ahead and give the Miranda warnings. Is that a fair conclusion?
Mr. FREEH. It certainly is a conclusion you could take fromI'm assuming I know the report that you read, yes.
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Mr. HUTCHINSON. Based upon that report and what happened there, are you going to change any of the management habits in regard to a case such as this?
Mr. FREEH. We are changing and have beenactually had under consideration for a time prior to this event the whole issue of videotaping. We're not an agency that routinely does video or tape recording of confessions or statements. Many departments, big police departments, do so, particularly in homicide cases. We've been working on a policy over a long period of time predating this event on videotaping and under what circumstances it's permissible and what accounting has to be made for it.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. I was really speaking in reference to you and your direct involvement. In this instance you were in Washington, and the action was happening in Atlanta.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. Well, I'm always in Washington almost universally whenever there's something happening in the field. I take responsibility for the miscommunication since I was involved in it; I don't give it to anybody elseI'll be more clear; I'll ask maybe more questions; maybe I'll stay out of if next time.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. One final question: According to The Washington Times article last week, a significant number of line agents believe that Don Johnson, the only agent suspended for his action in the investigation, was made into a scapegoat. Two senior FBI officials received lighter sanctions. What is your response to this report?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. I really can't respond to it without getting into the particulars of all of the four cases, and as I mentioned, and very respectfully, I don't think I can do that with the two cases which are pending appeal right now. My view is that the review back at headquarters as well as over at the Department of Justice was a fair one. People affected are going to have their right to appeal now, and I think when all the appeals are done and this report is made public, which it will be except for some privacy redactions, I think everyone will agree that it was a fair treatment of the situation.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Freeh. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. Conyers, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, there are a lot of problems that are being experienced in law enforcement in America, and in the FBI in particular, that are giving many of us an unsettling feeling about the situation. As one who has had a very cordial relationship with you across the years, I feel its my obligation to bring it to your attention. And so I have a list of items here that we will not be able to get through today, but that I would like to continue in a series of letters and communications and perhaps even meetings, if your schedule permits for us to begin to do this, because my problem is not so much with the morale of the FBII wish all Government people in all departments and agencies to have the highest morale possiblemy concern is with the morale of the American people about the law enforcement especially the FBI.
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My list: drug king pins and why they don't get the same treatment that the little punks on the corner get; namely, busted constantly, but they're always alive and well; money laundering, the source of the root of the motivation for most of the drug-pushing in America and the world. When are we going to really get down to business with that? Organized crimeyou know, in this country we've developed a relationship with organized crime. We know who they are; we know what they're doing; we know which ones are blowing each others heads off, but they sort of exist out there. Under whatwhy don't we ever really close-in on organized crimes. They're in gambling; they're in all kinds ofmatter of fact, they're in almost everything now; they've laundered so many billions of dollars. The anti-drug effort, we've got a history of the CIA and cocaine relationships that you have to be in less than the ninth grade to know anything about in America, and yet what do we do?
The question of fairness which unlessus being a Nation of lawsunless we really exemplify fairness, not just give the rhetoric, it's easy to develop these attitudes that are involving a lot of these militia groups, hate groups, skinheads, and everything else in which they hate the Government in general and law enforcement in particular. This is a problem that no one in this room created, but it's still something we have to deal with. I mention the CIA and its connection with drugs and probably other law enforcement agencies too, maybe yours.
The Tennessee truck caselook, why don't you just say that if there are no protocols for what your people do with guns, there will be protocol. I mean, how can we behow can you have a dozen Congressmen asking you about what the rules are for the FBI carrying gunshow stupid can anybody in America be to go into one of the places with more carjacking going onI mean it's record levels from the FBI crime indexand how can you leave an unguarded truck with weapons that are banned from the general public? I mean, is this comic strip time or something? What on earthand then you say, ''We're investigating it.'' What do you do with guys like that immediately? You suspend them. You transfer them out. You send a message out to any other knuckleheads. You can't patrol 10,000 agents day and night.
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The Frederick Whitehurst mattercould you guys lighten up on a guy thatwhistleblowing, I think you can't deny that we've got to have it in Government, even law enforcement. So, what's the deal with him?
I meanand then there's the old IG plus internal inspection that you check your own stuff out, except you flip it to the Department of Justice in certain instances. We're going to have to look at why the Inspector General can't do their job with regard to all law enforcement agencies and everybody else in this United States Government.
And then we have the Speaker of the House and Mr. Livingstone doing exactly what we don't want to do with people who may, like me, be unhappy with the performance of the FBI, and that is to try to intimidate its Director by explaining to him what they plan to do with the purse strings and that you're pursuing with too much enthusiasm one of our colleagues, Representative Dan Burton of Indiana.
Despicable conduct is not the way to improve law enforcement, and I don't think you're going to be intimidated by that, but we need to have a dialog on these matters, and I'll be here for the rest of the day, and as I said, we'll be communicating about the rest of them. I'd like to go into some detail while you're here this morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Do you have any response, Mr. Freeh, to any of this?
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Mr. FREEH. I'll be very happy, as I always have been, Mr. Conyers, to sit with you, answer all your questions, and respond to your concerns, which I appreciate with great seriousness. There's a lot of different aspects to the problems which I could take time to do now; I don't know if you want me to do that or whether you want us to discuss these matters separately first, but, I mean, these issues are somewhat complex.
Drug kingpinsI can name you the biggest drug kingpins; unfortunately, none of them are in the United States right now. When we do find them, we generally prosecute them under the continuing criminal enterprise, which is a life-without-parole sentence. And having been a prosecutor for 10 years supervising our drug unit in New York, we always tried to ascribe the greatest sanctions to the biggest dealers. If we could get our hands on the leaders of the Cali Cartel and the four Mexican trafficking organizationsactually three; we convicted one last yearwe would very, very much like to do that.
As for organized crime cases, you know, we have convicted many, many people; I'll be happy to give you some of those numbers. A judge in Brooklyn yesterday just ruled that Mr. Jugani needs to go to trial, the reputed boss of the major families. I think if I show you what we've done in New York and Detroit and Chicago recently, you'd get some idea of what we're doing in that program. It's a very aggressive program.
You know, the matter in Memphis is a very serious matter. As I said, if we don't have a regulation, we're going to have one very, very quickly. I do want to get the facts together before I suspend or discipline anybody. I think that's the minimal fairness required. I promise I'll do it quickly and fairly, and if we need more rules, we're going to get them very, very quick.
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The Whitehurst discipline matter is not in our hands; it's in the Department of Justice hands. We've referred it to them and recused ourselves from it so no retaliation claims can be made. We're going to work with them to finalize that process as best we can.
Nobody's going to intimidate me with respect to how I fairly investigate a caseI was asked questions about that yesterday. I can promise youand I think you've known me long enoughas long as I'm Director, no matter in the FBI is going to be looked at in terms of a political investigative interest or not. We don't do our work that way; I've never prosecuted a case or adjudicated a case with that in mind, and you have my promise and commitment that nobody will intimidate us improperly with respect to who and how we investigate allegations.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Conyers and Mr. Freeh.
Mr. Coble, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Director, let me first revisit my opening statement. When I spoke about the apparent perception on the part of the public about the diminished credibility and accountability of the Bureau, and I said I was not pointing an accusatory finger at you. What I meant to say was that I was not pointing an accusatory finger at you personally, but you are the Director, and as we sailors say when matters occur on the watch, ''If it happened on my watch, then I mustI become the beneficiary of accusations.''
The gentleman from Michigan just talked about these hatecrime groups. I have no problem with an FBI agent coming to my property. I mean, my gosh, we live in a land of laws. What bothers me is, when they come to the property, I want to be sure that they don't take advantage of the climate that radically changes. When an IRS agent or an FBI agent comes aboard, the climate shifts in his favor, and all of a sudden the person being questioned assumes a very defensive role; that's the part that I was trying to make clear in my opening statement to you.
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We continue to refocus upon Atlanta, so let me go back to the Jewell matter. Some allegations have been made in the media, Mr. Director, that there has been a lack of cooperation between various agents in investigating the case, turf battle I guess you could call it; namely, a lack of cooperation between the FBI on the one hand and the ATF on the other.
Let me put a three-pronged question to you, Mr. Freeh. One, has this been the case? Two, has the ATF participated in the collecting and examining of explosive evidence? Three, is there any credence of truth to the reports that the explosives residue collected from that crime scene was not delivered to the FBI Lab until weeks after the explosion?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. I'll answer all those questions. Let me just begin by saying that I hope nothing that I've said, and I certainly didn't intend anything I said, to try to relieve or absolve me from any responsibility. I take responsibility for everything that's happened not just in the last three-a-half years, but many, many years behind that.
Mr. COBLE. Oh, no. I didn't mean to imply that you had. That was not my charge at all.
Mr. FREEH. With respect to the Atlanta case, those reports are not accurate. There is a very high and positive degree of cooperation particularly between the FBI and the ATF. We have approximately 125 investigators and support people working on the case. Although an FBI agent is in charge of that, as his deputies he has an ATF ASAC, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation ASAC, and another FBI ASAC. They're co-located; they're working very, very, well together. The evidence, when it was taken, went very, very immediately, almost within 24 to 48 hours, to the FBI Laboratory. There was no dispute about it; there was a prior agreement that it would go to the FBI Laboratory. All of the additional forensic examinations, whether they be crime scenes or searches, are going to be done through the Atlanta ATF lab. That's going to be the leading lab with respect to the forensic future of this case, and FBI examiners and ATF examiners are working hand in hand.
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I used that ATF laboratory myself when I was prosecuting the bombing case in Atlanta. It's a fine laboratory, and I am happy to report that the coordination between us going back to the initial time has been very positive.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Director, to shift gears to another very sad involvement, and that's the TWA flight 800 investigation. Do you all at the FBI still consider this a criminal investigation?
Mr. FREEH. We do not have a criminal investigation either officially or otherwise. The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency; we're assisting them. We have not, as I said recently, and I'm happy to say again, we have not found any evidence of a criminal act either by forensic derivation, high explosives residue, metallurgical damage, or by information. There are a lot of circumstances, including some eyewitness reports, which have still forced us to keep that theory on the table. We are looking at a possible criminal act in the form of an on-board device or perhaps a missile. As I mentioned, though, the evidence, as far as I knowand I know it very well in this case; it's another one of the cases that I've spent particular time onthe evidence is certainly not consistent with a criminal act. In fact, it is moving in the direction of a non-criminal act. Hopefully by the end of the summer, the Safety Board, which has the jurisdiction, together with the FBI, will be able to make some findings, and we very much want to do that for a lot of reasons.
Mr. COBLE. And I assume that with the Safety Board and you all, that's been a harmonious exchange, working together?
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. Yes. I mean, we've argued and disagreed about forensics and things, but administratively and cooperatively it's been a very good relationship.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Freeh. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
Mr. Gekas, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. GEKAS. I noted with interest your special emphasis on efforts that you're mounting on behalf of children, and that blends into my original commentary on parental kidnapping. Rather than waste more time on that issue, I would like to say to you that I would submit to you a letter of request on bringing me up to date on how that's working, and how you're enforcing the parental kidnapping, because we still have problems with extradition, the world court jurisdiction, however it gets involved in all of that, and we still have so many outstanding cases of American citizens waiting for their children to be returned. So, I'll ask you on my separate
Mr. FREEH. I'll be happy to do so.
Mr. GEKAS. Thank you. On the question of independent counsel, I am confused a little bit on how the process works. We, the Judiciary Committee, request the Attorney General to conduct an investigation or to trigger the process for the eventual adoption of independent counsel. When that reaches the Attorney General's desk, does the FBI come into it right away or does the Attorney General call in the FBI to participate in the investigation of allegations?
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Mr. FREEH. Let me just give you the background of it. We have been working the investigation as a criminal matter, a very broad-based criminal matter, since last fall. The FBI opened up a case based on not just the public allegations, but other materials, and have been working a very, very large and very expansive case.
The letter which this committee sent to the Attorney General in tandem with the Senate Judiciary Committee letter triggers a separate provision in the independent counsel's statute, which requires the Attorney General to review and respond to you with respect to the referral issue.
Since the beginning of this investigation, both the lawyers and FBI agents on our side and the Department of Justice lawyers on the other side have continuously worked the case together, talked about it, and exchanged ideas. The Attorney General did ask me for my opinion and my input with respect to the referral issue. Statutorily, I have no say in that whatsoever; it is strictly a decision made by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General, however, did ask me what my recommendation was; I gave it to her, and as you indicated in your question and as I said yesterday to your colleagues in the Senate, I treat that as a confidential recommendation. I can tell you that she is open-minded about the referral issue and is continuously looking and reviewing and discussing matters which could affect her decision. But, she has made the decision now, and she is the only one under the statute authorized to do so, not to refer the matter.
Mr. GEKAS. I understand that, but if indeed her final decision not to seek independent counsel was based partly on your recommendation not to seek independent counsel, it meant that your investigationdid it notdetermined that the targets that are called for in the statute were not reached, or that the conflict of interest which triggers independent counsel was not reached. Isn't that correct?
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Mr. FREEH. On that hypothesis, yes, you could draw that conclusion if what you say is correct.
Mr. GEKAS. All right, and if indeed you did find that there were proper targets for the formation of an independent counsel and/or that there was a conflict of interest or an apparent conflict of interest, and you recommended that an independent counsel be appointed, she in effectJanet Renorejected that recommendation. We can draw that conclusion, can't we? That one and one makes two?
Mr. FREEH. Unfortunately, the process and the determinations contemplated by the statute are not really scientific or mathematical. Indeed, the discretionary portion of the referral relies solely on the Attorney General's recommendations and findings and conclusions.
Mr. GEKAS. I understand that, but answer me this, and this will be my last question. If the FBI Director felt that, indeed, the tenets of the statute were met, targets conflict of interest, and recommended to the Attorney General that, indeed, independent counsel should be appointed, but, nevertheless, the Attorney General rejected that advice, from then on isn't the Director of the FBI put into a conflict of his own? Because his opinion that indeed there should be an independent counsel, and there was conflict of interest, now puts you in a position of being in a situation where your boss, the Attorney General, is in conflict of interest under your files, but she has rejected it. What does that do to your investigating capacity?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. It doesn't do anything to our investigating capacity. We're investigating the case, whether it's now as it has been determined by the Attorney General to be within the Department of Justice. If the matter were to be referred, the FBI would probably detail the same agents who are working on it now if the independent counsel agreed to work on the matter. So it has no impact at all on the investigation.
The discretionary decision, as well as the covered person's portion of the decision, is the Attorney General's. She is the only person in the statute required to make a decision, and the conflict specified in the statute is one that the Attorney General has to determine.
Mr. GEKAS. I understand.
Can I have an additional 30 seconds?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, Mr. Gekas; please proceed.
Mr. GEKAS. Are we saying, though, that if you had recommended, ''Yes, there should be independent counsel,'' that you determined there was conflict, that from then on the FBI investigation is hampered, or is it not? You're saying it is not because there is no conflict if the Attorney General says there is no conflict?
Mr. FREEH. The finding of a conflict by the Attorney General does not, per se, hamper the investigation. I would not agree with that. If the Attorney General finds there's a conflict, the investigation as currently constituted would cease and desist only for the interim period until an independent counsel was appointed. Then, most likely, although it would up to the independent counsel, the FBI resources that are working on the case would just start again, but start again under a new prosecutor. So the finding of no conflict does not impede the investigation. Ironically, the finding of a conflict would shut down the investigation.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Gekas. Your time has expired.
Mr. GEKAS. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We are going to have a second round, and I will yield myself 5 minutes.
Director Freeh, in connection with the Chinese influence investigation with regard to fundraising and politics, according to the Washington Post and a piece by Senator
Mr. FREEH. Excuse me; I see Mr. Wexler leaving. There's one matter, if I could just complete my answer.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Certainly; please do.
Mr. WEXLER. I'm coming back.
Mr. FREEH. Okay, thanks.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. According to a Washington Post article by Senator Specter, in her testimony last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Reno stated that the FBI withheld national security information from the President because he is a potential subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. Was the Attorney General correct in this?
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Mr. FREEH. I'd have to see exactly her testimony. What I think she was addressing is an incident in February where material was requested by the White House with respect to, not that investigation, but matters which relate to that investigation.
My recommendation at the time to the Attorney General, which she accepted, was that the information in that form should not go to the White House because of the pendency of the criminal investigation. She agreed with that recommendation and sent to the White House, in my view, the same material, the same generally requested material, albeit in a different form, in the form of teletypes in matters which the White House had already received.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But is the President a potential subject of an ongoing FBI investigation?
Mr. FREEH. I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on that. I think that what the grand jury is doing, what they're focusing on, is now purely a grand jury matter, and we don't comment on those investigations.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Has anybody in the administration put pressure on the FBI to release information about the activities of foreign governments in connection with the 1996 campaign fundraising investigation? Has anybody down there done that?
Mr. FREEH. I'm sorry; I don't understand the question.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, has anybody in the administration at the White House put pressure on the FBI to release any information about this investigation regarding the 1996 fundraising that you've been doing?
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Mr. FREEH. No, not that I know of. The only request I know came, appropriately, from the White House counsel to the Attorney General. None have come separate and apart from that to the FBI, and I don't feel that we've received any pressure at all in that regard.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. In April 1996, the President signed into law the terrorism bill that you and I worked on quite extensively and we're very proud to have produced. At this point in time, it's my understanding that the State Department has yet to issue a list of terrorist organizations, which is necessary to trigger fundraising and alien deportation provisions, even though it's been more than a year. Is this frustrating to you?
Mr. FREEH. It's taking a long period of time. I note that in a parallel statute, the IEPA statute, with respect to the current statutory authority to attach financial monies going to the support of terrorist organizations, the Department of Treasury has an approved list, approved by the State Department with respect to terrorism organizations. I'm very hopeful that the same will be done promptly with respect to the counter-terrorism statute; it's very important that we have that to focus our resources.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. It's frustrating to me that they haven't done it. I just want you to know that. I think that they need to get on the ball and list those terrorist organizations. Over a year is just plain too long, and you may want to be more than judicious in saying itI understand thatbut it's just time for the State Department to do it.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With regard to the question of the inspector generalwe had quite a discussion of that in a hearing here a couple of days ago with respect to the issues regarding the crime labit's my understanding from exploring the issues of inspector generals, that over at the Treasury Department the inspector general has the power to go in without seeking special authority from the Secretary to investigate the ATF or any of the law enforcement agencies that are over there in the Treasury Department.
It's also reportedI don't know this for a factbut it's reported in USA Today, just in the past week or so, that Mr. Bromwich has indicated that he can go and investigate the U.S. Marshall Service and other agencies of the Justice Department besides the FBI without seeking special authority, but that he's prohibited from any investigation or any oversight to look for improper activities in the FBI unless the Attorney General explicitly gives him that special authority, which, of course, was sought and given in the case of the crime lab.
(A) Is that interpretation and my understanding of it correct? In fact, I've been told that it may even be an interpretation of law that the FBI is treated differently for the inspector general than maybe any other law enforcement agency. And, (B), is there a reason for that differentiation, or should we consider a more expansive role for the Inspector General in light of all the responsibilities there are? And I know OPR is there, but is OPR satisfactory to do all that needs to be done when you have such a big agency as yours?
Mr. FREEH. Well, we're not the only agency in that situation. DEA is also subject to the same November 1994 Attorney General order, which in my view does not foreclose the inspector general from interceding or requesting to intercede in any internal FBI or DEA matter.
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The November 1994 order, as I understand it, allows the inspector general to go to the Deputy Attorney General and ask that he or she and their resources look at any FBI matter, and I think that's very powerful and very broad authority.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So you don't think Mr. Bromwich's complaintand it is a complaint, a complaint he made to me here on the committee, a complaint he apparently made publicly to the FBIthat he's too restricted in this regard is accurate? You don't think that request is something that would be unlikely to be granted? He seems to imply that he doesn't think that he could investigate the FBI without some probable cause whereas other inspector generals don't have to demonstrate some previous information; they can just go in one day and do a cold review of your files somewhere to find out if there's something improper going on.
Mr. FREEH. Well, I disagree with the notion or the argument that the inspector general at the Department of Justice should replace the OPR authority which we have had and which we have used prudently for many, many years. It was the OPR FBI office in conjunction with the Department, who you will recall investigated one of my predecessors. There is a very strong and solid history of the FBI policing itself, from the Director all the way down the line.
I think there needs to be a recognition that what the FBI does is different from every other agency, not only in the Department, but in the Governmentlook at the politically sensitive corruption cases that we work on; you look at our counter-intelligence and national security functions. With respect to internal inquiries, particularly in national security matters and sensitive political corruption cases, there needs to be a different kind of internal mechanism, albeit available to an inspector general as it is now, to come in and look at any case that they want with the Attorney General's permission. We ask them to come in and look at some cases from time to time, but I think to replace OPR with the inspector general would be a huge mistake.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Let me understand this. Does OPR, without coming to you particularly, just have on a day-to-day basis the authority to sniff around without a particular case?
Do they go on their own looking to see if there's something that's gone wrong, to audit, in essence, the process, the procedures, to see if there's any criminal activity, without anybody having brought to their attention some particular problem? In other words, can they just go in, willy-nilly, and look wherever they want to look?
Mr. FREEH. Well, OPR doesn't do that, but our inspections division has. We are very different in this regard from many, many agencies. We have a separate division which is headed by an Assistant Director who does exactly what you describe. He goes into all of our field offices, and headquarters divisions, with an audit capacity with respect to everything that we're doing. they do that and have done it for many, many years.
In fact, that Inspection Division is recognized around the Government as a very efficient one, a very outstanding one, a very independent one. We supplement the OPR process, which responds to allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct, with an inspection process. In fact, it's the inspectors now who are looking at the other 32 units in our laboratory; they have gone out and hired scientists to come in. I am very confident that our current system of internal review, supplemented by the Department of Justice, OPR, the inspector general, and all our committees is very sufficient, and I would be
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, it may be at some point that you and I, and maybe Mr. Bromwich and the Deputy Attorney General, or whoever is appropriate, ought to just sit down and have a conversation about that. It is an important matter.
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Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I want to make sure we have the proper oversight. We're doing it here, but on a day-to-day basis, it's your internalyours and the Justice Department'soversight that's critical because the details are too great for all of us.
Mr. Meehan, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Freeh, this whole issue of the independent counsel, in determining whether there are specific and credible wrongdoings sufficient to trigger a preliminary investigation, isn't there a legal question as well as a factual question under the independent counsel's statute?
Mr. FREEH. There are both legal and factual determinations.
Mr. MEEHAN And isn't Janet Reno, and not the Director of the FBI, the right person under the statute to analyze that legal question, specifically the question of what the conduct that the campaign finance lawswhat that conduct permits or prohibits? Isn't that a legal decision the Attorney General would make?
Mr. FREEH. It's one that the statute requires her, and her only, to make.
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Mr. MEEHAN Director Freeh, you have expressedon a different subject that you had mentioned in your opening statementyou have expressed opposition to legislation recently reported out of this Judiciary Committee that would undo existing limits on the export of high-powered encryption technology without a license. And as I understand it, your concern is that the spread of strong encryption without key recovery features will undermine law enforcement and national security capabilities, and obviously you have raised an important issue, and many of us in Congress, including myself, have delayed support of this legislation because we want to work with you to address the concerns of law enforcement and national security agencies.
Still, I want to direct your attention to two newspaper stories that I've recently read describing what is happening under the administration's current encryption policy. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported on May 19, 1997 that Sun Microsystems intends to send a 128-bit encryption software from a Russian supplier to overseas customers. Now Sun insists that this is legal under the current export control laws because the products will be shipped from Sun distributors in third countries.
The New York Times ran a story of April 3, 1997 discussing how a German software-maker had developed and marketed a set of computer programs that work to upgrade the 40-bit encryption capability of Internet browsers to 128 bits, which is extremely difficult to crack.
Whatever you may think about the key escrow features or how, otherwise, to balance the needs of strong encryption with effective law enforcement, don't these two stories at least expose flaws in the administration's current encryption policy and might it be time to go back to the drawing board to come up with an encryption policy that not only protects law enforcement, but deals with the issues that have been dealt with on at least these two specific news stories?
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Mr. FREEH. I think that you're correct with respect to both of those matters and many others, the export controls standing alone are not the answer to our solution. First of all, they would adversely affect American industry and competitiveness, which now has the lead on this technology around the world. And, secondly, it would not advance long-term national security interests or do anything at all for us, I might add, domestically, which is the FBI's main concern.
We do believe, however, in export controls in tandem with cooperation by the industry to provide for key recovery systems. The administration's approach is designed as a voluntary approach. We're not ever, nor have we been asking for mandatory key recovery. That's not feasible, and we've never mentioned that.
What we are seeking to do is, with the cooperation of industryand we've worked and continue to work with them very hardto come up with a unique solution for a very extraordinarily difficult problem. Domestically, we want to encourage companies, which is the incentive plan, to have trusted third party agents so people who want to voluntarily use public keys will be required to put the keys with some trusted third party. This party will not be a Government agency, per se, but some place where, if you go to a district court judge and you have probable cause that somebody is using a encrypted channel or using encrypted records which meet the probable cause standard, you can get access to the key.
We're hoping that companies, particularly financial institutions and other large corporations, take advantage of a voluntary policy because they have an interest in having a key somewhere, too, if there's a dishonest employee or an economic espionage matter. It's a voluntary approach, but we don't rely completely on export controls, so I agree with the premise of your question.
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Mr. MEEHAN I look forward to working with you on that.
Finally, to follow up on a manner that Mr. Conyers spoke to, you noted in your written testimony that there were nearly 8,000 hate crimes reported to the FBI in 1995. However, as I'm sure you also know, law enforcement authorities covering more than 40 percent of the U.S. population did not participate in Federal hate crimes-reporting in 1995, and the vast majority of participating agencies affirmatively reported no hate crimes.
It's clear to me that we need better reporting, and indeed studies have demonstrated that victims are more likely to report hate crimes if they know a special reporting system is in place. What, if anything, is the FBI doing to improve hate crimes-reporting? And is it training local and State law enforcement officials so that the police know a hate crime when they see it? And do you have any recommendations for the Congress that could provide incentives for better reporting of hate crimes?
Mr. FREEH. That's a very good question. I don't really have any specific recommendations now; I may if you give me the opportunity to do so. But that is exactly the key.
Under the crime statistics statuteand the authority lapsed there if you remember for some timeit is really a voluntary reporting requirement which is very difficult to enforce. As part of our presentations and discussions with all of our State and local partnersnot just on the hate-crime statistics, but even on the uniform crime statistics and the national incident-based reporting statisticswe encourage them to participate, so somewhere, some place, there can be some knowledge and some basis for you to make policy decisions and statutory decisions.
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Let me see if I can come up with some specific recommendations.
Mr. MEEHAN Yes, I can tell you as one member that this committeeI'm looking for recommendations from not only the law enforcement and the Justice Department to try to figure out how to deal with this and provide incentives for better reporting. I think that's an area where we need to make dramatic improvement.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Meehan.
Mr. Chabot, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. Freeh, there were allegations last year prior to the election that the INS was accelerating the naturalization process with the assumption that a lot of these new citizens, new voters, would vote Democratic. And, in fact, thousands of people with felony convictions were nevertheless granted U.S. citizenship and therefore allowed to vote in the last election who very well may not have been eligible and shouldn't have been admitted as citizens to begin with.
When did the FBI first learn that this was going on, and what, if anything, was done in response to that knowledge?
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Mr. FREEH. I believe the first indication we had is when, certainly, some of the public allegations surfaced, and then when a committee of this House requested the FBI to go back and research and match each one of the over 1 million applications for naturalization for 1996 that the INS sent to the FBI. We began that process. It was a very long-term and complicated process.
We determined, among other things, that as to 180,000 of those submissions from the INSfingerprint submissionswe couldn't account for records, either because of the quality of the submissions or the matching of the INS master tapes with the FBI tapes that check the fingerprint cards. So we became aware, approximately at that time, that there were issues with respect to people being naturalized who were not either properly checked for criminal indices or who were not checked at all because the fingerprint submissions were not readable or legible.
Mr. CHABOT. Is it your understanding or your belief that there may well have been Federal statutes or laws violated as a result of any of the information that you've acquired at this time?
Mr. FREEH. I don't know that at this time. In fact, the inspector general in the Department of Justice is conducting this Citizenship USA investigation; the FBI is not.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay, let me shift gears. Relative to wiretaps, I and a number of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have considerable concerns about privacy issues, and I know that recently one of the things which the FBI was attempting to do was to increase the number of phones through various technology means that could be tapped. And I believe that under one of the proposals, it would have been one in every 100 phones would be susceptible to tapping electronically.
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And I know you don't sharewell, I'm not going to put words in your mouth. What are your thoughts relative to privacy issues? And, further, it's also my understanding that this administration has a record use of wiretaps, more than any other previous administration, I believe, if that information is accurate. Would you comment on this?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, I'd be happy to. Having been a prosecutor and a judge, there is no more intrusive or sensitive technique than, quote, ''authorized electronic surveillance,'' whether it's a phone or a microphone, which is why in 1968 the Congress wrote probably the most stringent set of requirements for the application and the conducting of wiretaps.
In 1996, I think we only conducted, both Federal and State and local-wide, a little over 1,000 wiretaps. That's all the microphones and all the telephone surveillances pursuant to court order. That's a tiny, tiny number when you not only look at the number of phones in places where people talk, obviously, but the thousands of cases that not just the FBI does, but the State and local authorities do.
Half of those wiretaps, approximately half for 1996and there's only 1,000 and something, and I'll get you the exact numberhalf of them are done by State and local authorities, not by the Federal authorities. Seventy-one percent of them are in drug cases, and I think that we would all agree that in drug cases it's a very powerful technique and a very critical one.
I don't think there's any significant increase of electronic surveillance in anybody's contemplated expectation, even with the changes in the multi-point wiretap that we're requesting. First of all, they're too expensive and time-consuming to do. They're all monitored, as you know, real-time, by many, many people. We don't have the resources or the equipment to do a lot more than the numbers, which are very low.
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Your point as to changes we've requested to surveil one out of 100 phones, it did get a lot of publicity. There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about that. What that was addressed to was the capacity, particularly in certain large cities, that not only the Federal Government, but the State and local authorities will need, going into the next century, to do wiretaps, traps and traces. There's a very large and complex explanation, all of which I don't understand, by the way, but which I'll be happy to provide to you as to that 100 number.
But the bottom line is that we do a tiny, tiny number of these things, and 71 percent of them are for State, local, and Federal drug cases. I don't think that's a lot to ask in terms of enforcement.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I would ask for unanimous consent for one additional minute for one final question.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Please proceed, without objection.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
I understand that Title 5, the section of the U.S. Code that establishes the organization of the U.S. Government, holds the FBI to certain individual pay levels, while other intelligence agencies, like the CIA and the National Security Agency, are exempted from those provisions.
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Do you believe that the FBI is at a disadvantage in the area of personnel recruitment because it lacks this exemption? And, if so, do you believe the Bureau could have avoided perhaps some of the problems that we have been talking about today if it had been exempt from those relevant provisions of Title 5 as the other security agencies are?
Mr. FREEH. I certainly agree that the FBI would function much more efficiently and given the new technologies and jurisdictions, much more effectively, by being out of Title 5. The FAA, by the way, is also out of title 5.
We have very dynamic responsibilities in counter-intelligence, as well as counter-terrorism. In New York City, for instance, we cannot hire the linguists that we need because of the pay scales and the position classifications. To move people in the FBI from assignment to assignmentin other words, if we have the TWA crash and we have to put x-amount of specialized resources in thatengineers, metallurgistsour job requirements are boxed in these position classifications, which makes it hard to transfer people, promote people, and compensate people.
On the outside it makes it harder to get the kinds of scientists and technicians we need to work in the 21st century. So I would think we would be much better off out of title 5.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chabot.
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Mr. Wexler, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. WEXLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, not that you need me to tell you this, but I find your testimony and demeanor here today very encouraging. I have full confidence that as you endeavor in your process that you will right whatever wrong comes to your attention.
In that spirit, I'd like to share with you some of the cause of my suspicion that was created two weeks ago. And it all comes, or most of it comes, from the documents submitted by the FBI employees that testified before this committee, and I'll share with you by quote what was saidthe FBI response, I supposeto this Congress:
''There is no information to support allegations that evidence was fabricated or tampered with by laboratory employees. The FBI does not believe that any lab examiner perjured himself. The FBI is aware of no instance in which an FBI employee failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. The FBI does not believe any examiner has intentionally slanted lab reports to favor the prosecution.''
Those are the FBI words, the FBI response to this Congress. Mr. Director, before today I was planning on asking you if you stood by each and every one of those comments. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to assume that should you ever find that those are not to be the truth that you will do what is appropriate.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, I would like to share with you what I think seems to be an imbalance of moral equivalents. Dr. Whitehurst on the one hand, if he is to be faulted, it seems to me would be faulted for being overzealous in trying to tell or uncover the truth. Mr. Malone, on the one hand, at a minimum has been over-zealous in trying to conceal the truth. And yet Dr. Whitehurst was removed from the FBI, and Mr. Malone is still with the FBI.
For all of those thousands of honest FBI agents that endanger their lives every day, if I was one of those honest FBI agents, I would really question or wonder what I should do if I uncovered something wrong at the FBI. And I am just simply going to trust that you are going to do whatever you can do and will handle the issue of Mr. Malone in an appropriate fashion so that people like myself and Americans all over this country give credibility to each and every FBI agent as they so just deserve.
Mr. FREEH. I appreciate very much your remarks, and I promise you, I commit to you, that I will do exactly that. I don't stop with the inspector general's report. I'm not comfortable with any of those findings, and I don't rely to the exclusion of new facts and common sense that it may have found everything in terms of what the problems may be, both individually and systemically. Consequently, I'm going to go through the other 32 units with a fine-toothed comb. I would not tolerate and never have tolerated any impropriety or illegality or criminal activity by any one of our employees.
When I became Director, I announced what I call my bright line test, a very simple test. It said that if people lie, cheat or steal, they not only will be fired, but they'll be prosecuted. That was not always the case in the past. In the past we had instances where people would be found to have done something wrong, misrepresented something, done something in court with evidence which was misleading, or worse, and we had an institutional history of censuring them but not firing them. My view is they should be, in those circumstances, after we've completed the inquiry, not only fired, but prosecuted.
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All of the allegations which you mention are of the most seriousness for me. I will assure you that they'll all be run down, and the chips will fall where they may. Nobody is going to get a free ride or an easy ride at the expense of honesty or truthfulness.
If I may add to your prior questionI was given a note by one of my individualsMr. Malone, about whom you inquired, received a transfer out of FBI headquarters under a program where I allowed peoplethis is going back to 1993to leave headquarters when I was trying to reduce the number of agents there. He took advantage of that and left headquarters along with about 300 other supervisors, because I wanted to put more agents in the field.
His current supervisor is aware of the issues that we've discussed. He has been monitoring it, and we are very carefully looking at any assignments that he may undertake during the pendency of this matter. So we are doing more than I said, and I apologize. I didn't know at the time, but those are the facts.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. WEXLER. May I have 30 seconds?
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection.
Mr. WEXLER. With respect to your response and with respect to Mr. Malone, I have only read the newspaper articles and some of court testimony. Based on that information, it appears to me that Mr. Malone liedjust point-blank lied to a court of the United Statesand in one instance, in a case in Pennsylvania, had he not been caught a woman may have been executed.
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The response you cite seems to me more appropriate for someone that may have had some problems in an office in dealing with someone on a personality level, or this and that. I hope you will take the time, I know you will take the time to find out if, in fact, the allegations in the Wall Street Journal and the New Republic and the allegations made by Mr. McDonald's counselors are accurate, then it would seem to me, and I'm sure you would agree, that that response is wholly inappropriate for the actions that have allegedly been practiced by Mr. Malone.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, I agree.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay, the gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Barr is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. WEXLER. May I just put the articles I referred to in the record, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection.
Mr. WEXLER. Thank you.
[See Part III, Appendix A.]
Mr. BARR. Director Freeh, yesterday in your testimony before the Senate, I know there was some discussion of locking devices on firearms, on handgunsso-called trigger locks. I'm sure you and I are in agreement that these are maybe a good device for certain people, and if people want to use them, they certainly ought to be free to do so.
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The question becomes one of mandating, either their sale, their having to be maintained in inventory by stores, or making it criminal for an individual citizen to have a firearm without such a device. I'm just wondering, other than as a parent, as a citizen, we probably share a concern that if people want to use trigger locks they certainly should feel free to do so, and in some instances that may be good.
Why is it of concern to the FBI, that the FBI ought to be concerning itself with whether trigger locks ought to be mandated or not? What's the jurisdictional link here?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. We have an Executive Order which requires FBI agents, including all other Federal law enforcements agents, I believe, to have and use trigger locks.
Mr. BARR. Is that mandatory for Federal agents?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, yes; I believe that it is.
Mr. BARR. Currently.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, I think it's currently mandatory.
Mr. BARR. So, in other words, when an agent comes home at the end of his or her day, they are mandated to place a trigger lock on any handgun?
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Mr. FREEH. I believe under the new Executive Order, that's the case; not just with us, but with all the other agencies. As to whether or not
Mr. BARR. Is this notwithstanding the warnings that for certain types of handgunsrevolvers, for exampletrigger locks are not to be placed on loaded firearms, so that would require the agent to disarm their firearm?
Mr. FREEH. I don't know the answer to that question.
Mr. BARR. I have somewhat of a concern, now that you've mentioned this, that our FBI agents may be placing themselves in danger in their home place by this mandatory policy.
Mr. FREEH. Well, that's a separate question that I'd be happy to discuss with you.
Mr. BARR. Please.
Mr. FREEH. I do believe there is a governmental-wide Executive Order now that that be required. As to whether it should be done outside the Government or the FBI, I don't have any opinion one way or the other on that.
Mr. BARR. Okay, I appreciate that.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. Excuse me; what I was responding to yesterday was actually the FBI requirement.
Mr. BARR. Okay, well I'm glad to hear that. Were you consulted before this Executive Order was promulgated?
Mr. FREEH. I'm sorry, sir?
Mr. BARR. Were you consulted before the Executive Order was promulgated?
Mr. FREEH. No, I wasn't personally. I don't know whether institutionally we were.
Mr. BARR. Was the Bureau?
Mr. FREEH. I'll have to find out for you.
Mr. BARR. It seems to meit seems odd that you don't know the answer to that when you were testifying on it yesterday. You really don't know if somebody at the Bureau was or was not consulted by the President or DOJ?
Mr. FREEH. I'll get you an answer for that. I don't have it right now. I'm sorry.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARR. Okay, but again, turning to the second part of my question with regard to agents. Is it now mandated that no FBI agent can have in his or her home a handgun without a locking device on it?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. As to the effective date of the Order, I think it's going to be imposed by related regulations. But the Order as it's been issued, at least my understanding is, is that's the requirement.
Mr. BARR. And does this cause you some concern for the safety of your agents in their homes? It does me. I mean, it's a very serious question. A handgun with a trigger lock on it is not something that can be used instantaneously. You have agents that are in very serious situations. Their lives and their families' lives may be at stake if word gets out that they're operating on certain cases or not, and their lives could be threatened. Now, apparently, you're saying that the rest of the world, including bad guys out there, know that no agent can have a firearm in their homeplace without a locking device on it. Does that cause you some concern?
Mr. FREEH. It's an issue that we certainly need to be aware of and concerned about, but as I said, there is the Order. I'd be happy to give you the background for that as I can find it out for you.
Mr. BARR. Well, I'd appreciate knowing if the result is going to be as I've described it. I mean, are there penalties for agents' failure to do this? Is this going to become a problem for the Bureau to monitor this?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. I couldn't answer that at this time. We'd have to see what the regulations look like and specify them.
Mr. BARR. What about agents overseas? Are they going to be subject to this policy, or does it apply just domestically?
Mr. FREEH. I'll get you the answer to that, too.
Mr. BARR. Okay. With regard to another matter, Director Freeh, and that is the Commission on the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement, the provisions for the establishment of which were contained in the Anti-Terrorism Act last year, which the President signed.
There's been some discussion, at least in media reports, that the Attorney General may recommend to the President that he veto the supplemental appropriations bill because it contains the funding for that Commission, funding for which had been provided last year in House-passed legislation to which the administration did not object. It was not included in the final wrap-up appropriations bill in the Senate at the very end of the session, therefore the $2 million funding for it did not go forward.
Notwithstanding the fact that the time is running on the Commission and that some members of the Commission have already been appointedfor example, the Speaker's appointeeis there any problem that you have with the scope of the Commission? Do you have a problem with the Commission looking at whether or not our Federal law enforcement agencies are coordinating well, are maintaining proper standards, are coordinating with State and local agencies, whether any changes to the law may be needed to improve the matter?
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Frankly, I find nothing objectionable in that, and I didn't think the President did since he signed it into law, but I'm a little bit concerned and mystified now by what I read in the press about the Attorney General objecting to having a commission study these issues. Do you have any problem with this?
Mr. FREEH. I don't know because I haven't discussed it with her, whether or not the
Mr. BARR. Not with those press reports, but withI mean, do you have any problem with having a bipartisan commission looking into these issues? And if there are recommendations, that maybe those that are very beneficial to the FBI being made to the Congress?
Mr. FREEH. As I recall the mandate of the Commissionand I'd have to go back and review itI did have some concern, and I think some of the other law enforcement agencies had concerns, about whether or not the scope of that authority would allow, for instance, inquiry and access to pending investigations, sensitive matters, or those types of things. Except for that very narrow category, as I remember the mandate, I thought it was quite appropriate.
Mr. BARR. Okay. I appreciate that, and it's my understanding that it was not Congress's intent to have the Commission get into to sensitive, ongoing investigations, but simply to look at the broad range of issues, many of which we're talking about here today in terms of accountability, training, coordination, funding, jurisdiction, and so forth. So as far as that is the scope of the Commission, you have no problem with that?
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Mr. FREEH. No, sir.
Mr. BARR. Thank you, Mr. Director.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Barr.
I believe we have only one or two more questioners, but we've been here nearly three hours. Do you need a break for any reason?
Mr. FREEH. I'm fine, Mr. Chairman; thank you for asking.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Your welcome.
Ms. Jackson Lee, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and Director Freeh, let me follow up on some points that have already been made and I that I have additional concern about.
Let me take a moment of personal privilege and acknowledge the FBI Director in my region, Don Clark, and thank you for his service. And I'll follow up with some questioning on moral opportunities for individuals such as Mr. Clark, who happens to be a career FBI agent, but he represents a very good breath of fresh air in our community.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me just ask a question. Have you determined, or is there any evidence of any FBI injuries that have come to your attention because of the trigger lock policy occurring?
Mr. FREEH. No, I don't know of any.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Do you have a positionlet me not put it in the pointed direction, but do you support the legislation, the assault weapons ban?
Mr. FREEH. I've never taken a position on that legislation or any other piece of legislation, except the very narrow technical areas of encryption and CALEA. My view has been for three-and-a-half years that it's not appropriate for the Director to take those positions.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well, the ban is in place. Are you able and your agents able to enforce it, and has it been an effective ban? The law is in place now, so I think I'm asking the question as an oversight and your managing the legislation.
Mr. FREEH. We don't do the enforcement of that. That's done by the Treasury agencies.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. You don't have any sort of nexus with the Treasury in terms ofI mean, if you find assault weapons in the course of a committing of a crime, you have an additional action.
Mr. FREEH. Absolutely. We would work and have the jurisdictional case or referral case in that matter. We do that very well with the ATF, but we don't have the enforcement jurisdiction for that.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. And has that cooperative process been working well?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, it's been working very well.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Do you think less assault weapons on the streets are helpful to law enforcement?
Mr. FREEH. They sure are.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. The question of the church arson task force that I think is a combination of agenciesis the FBI part of that?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, ma'am; we are.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And how has that been functioning? And have you made cases? And are you completed in your cases, or are you still working on that? I think you may be aware of some incidents that occurred in Texas, and, in fact, one of the churches was the former home, former church home, of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Where are we with completing those cases?
Mr. FREEH. We have worked very effectively and, I think, very successfully, not just with the ATF, but with many of the State and local agencies. There are about 429 separate incidents which have been the subject of those task forces because they're in different States, as you know. They've made about 199 arrests, and there are many convictions which have flowed
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. How many arrests? I'm sorry.
Mr. FREEH. One hundred and ninety-nine, I think, is the number.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. One hundred and ninety-nine arrests?
Mr. FREEH. So we look at the project certainly as not complete, because even one unsolved is worthy of great and continued hard work. But, we are pleased with the progress of both the ATF and the FBI with respect to the number of cases we have successfully investigated, and we are also pleased that it's well known that this is a major initiative and a top priority with everybody.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I hope that the fact that it's not in the spotlightand I started it off with you in some earlier questionsthat it is still intensely being followed and you are attempting to make cases and bring individuals to prosecution, obviously, if the facts prevail on that issue. Is that my understanding, that this is still ongoing?
Mr. FREEH. Yes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. You don't have the numbers of cases that have been brought to prosecution. You have 199 arrests, but out of these?
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. I can get those for you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would appreciate it; I would appreciate it, and I would probably like an update on my initial inquiry some time ago about the incidents in my area, and I think they were made before.
Let me follow upand this will be a joint questionto pursue further and get you to answer for me the good 'ole boy camp or round-up that occurred a year or two ago, to try to give me a sense. I asked you the question about FBI morale, and I didn't pursue it because I had a series of questions. But around that unfortunate incident, what has been done internally to really clear that up, to carve that out?
I obviously appreciate the right of free association, but that is an image-breaker for the FBI. And so my question is, what really has occurred in that instance to say that it is inappropriate behavior? Secondarily, I mentioned Don Clark, and obviously we know one of the diverse factors that he brings to the position, but what have we done from the grassroots level of recruitment of FBI agents from minority populations and those at the levelyou've appointed some deputies, and I appreciate thatof these regional offices, where they're out on the ground and people see a new look for the FBI?
And then, lastly, I'm not sure that I got a full enough answerand I apologize if you gave it to me and I missed iton where we stand with the investigation of militia involved in the Atlanta bombings and whether or not that is still under investigation and whether or not there is closure, or we're still looking into it, because as I've said, I've never heard sort of a ''end of the sentence period'' on not only speculation, but as I understand it, there was certainly viable evidence that there might have been some involvement in those series of bombings.
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So if you could start with the good 'ole boy issue, and how much we're doing to diversify the lower ranks with minority applicants and Hispanics and African-Americans and women in this instance.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. I think we're doing very well, and I'm very proud of that. We've hired, as I mentioned in my opening statement, about 2,500 new agents since July of 1994. Thirty-two to thirty-four percent of those are minorities or women, which is extraordinary and very important institutionally for us. We'revery, very proud of that.
With respect to the upper management, in the field offices, which are sort of the captain-of-the-ship equivalent for the FBI, I have appointed among all of our qualified leaders out there seven African-American SACs, five Hispanic-American SACs, and three women. I have also appointed women, Hispanics, and African-Americans in our Assistant Director level, which is the headquarters level. And, actually, most of them would like to be out in the field if they had their own choice, even though it's a higher rank.
Looking down the road, based on the numbers in our new agents ranks, we're doing exactly what we should be doing without any kind of preferences, whatsoever, in getting the finest young men and women in the FBI. We're very proud of that.
With respect to your good 'ole boys question. Of course we severely disciplined an FBI employee for participation in that. We have a mandated ethics program which begins the second day of training, and agents and employees in the field are required to receive this trainingevery year. It's based on, among other things, notions of fairness and non-discrimination and all of the things which promote what we want to be in the FBI.
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With respect to the Atlanta case, I can't give you much detail about the nature of the investigation because it's an ongoing case. We do not have a suspect in mind or a group of suspects in mind at this time, although the task force, which is very good, is working literally day and night to get to that point. We've not been able to identify or focus on a particular suspect or suspects. We certainly keep on the table all possibilities, including militia involvement, and if that's the case and we get the evidence, that will be the result of the investigation.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. So no lead is left out and no group has been at this point specifically eliminated from your following or from seeking leads or determining the final answer to that series of bombings?
Mr. FREEH. Exactly. They are all still on the table.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And thank you very much. Thank you, Director Freeh; thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Conyers, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr CONYERS. Thank you, Chairman McCollum.
Director Freeh, you're staying power this morning is incredible. We appreciate the fact that we started here at 9:30 and you've never left your seat, and I'm very admiring of the fact that you can hang in here with us.
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How many cases may have been compromised by the lab screw-ups in the FBI?
Mr. FREEH. I don't know of any case at this point that has been compromised. As a result of the inspector general's report, I know several weeks ago we sent out in 55 separate cases information derived from the inspector general's report which could adversely affect or compromise a conviction or an ongoing case. In 25 of those instances, the prosecutorsthe Government prosecutorsturned the information over to defense lawyers. Twenty-five of those cases, which then went to a court or to a motion, were dismissed; at least that's my understanding.
We were concerned, and we remain very concerned, about the impact of not only the 13 employees who were criticized in the report, but really the whole operation of the laboratory and how that might adversely affect any case. Of course there was concern, as you know, about the prosecution in Denver with respect to those matters, but I don't know at this point of any case which has been compromised.
I certainly don't rule out that possibility. It's going to be up to judges and maybe juries, otherwise. Our goal now is to get every single piece, scrap, and suggestion of impropriety or Brady material as it exists, both found by the report and found subsequently by our continuing review, to the prosecutors and then the defendants and judges that need to see them.
Mr CONYERS. If Congressman Alcee Hastings were to ask you or was to seek a new trial or a review of the proceeding which he was subject to, based not only on false evidence, but perjury committed by somebody in the laboratory, would you support such a petition if the facts justified that?
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Mr. FREEH. If I was a judge or if I was the FBI Director and I found any evidence of those mattersabsolutely. I would be required to do so and would do it immediately.
Mr CONYERS. Now in terms of our ongoing review, I have to find out somewhere along the line in our relationship whether the things that you know about the history of the FBI comports with the things that I think I know about the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
And so part of the discussion that I hope to be having with you will go to the history of the FBI, not just a few years back before you came, but its whole history in terms of its contribution and the problems that it has raised relative to law enforcement in America, and I would look forward to such a review and discussion with you about that.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir; I'm happy to do that. If I could just add to my previous answer. I've just received a note which clarifies it and corrects it in part. In the 25 cases where disclosures were madethese are disclosures to the defendantsthe outcomes of those disclosures were favorable to the Government in 14 cases that have been submitted to the judge or jury to date. They were not all dismissed. Of the 25 cases, 14 which have been submitted to the judge or the jury have been favorable to the Government, and we're continuing to monitor it.
Mr CONYERS. Now, crime in America has always been a sensitive subject for those of us in Government and citizens alike. And so we work together in terms of helping develop policies, procedures, laws, departments, and provide resources for law enforcement in America at all levels. And I would be interested in discussing with you your analysis, based on your legal and law enforcement experience, where we are with crime in America at this point in our national history.
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For example, the policies that undergird our criminal justice system come out of this very room and from the very members that are here with you today. And one thing that I've begun to take a closer look at is this notion that somehow by increasing the penalties, by mandatory minimums, by bringing the death penalty to innumerable crimes, by prison construction growth that now makes it one of the leading growth industries in our Nation, may be having the effect of compounding one bad idea with another.
In other words, at some point or the other, those of us who are not fanatical will have to say that going this path has not been productive or it doesn't look like it's working or there may be a better way. And this is the kind of discussion that I would like for us to enter into, not totally in your governmental executive capacity, but just as a knowing, concerned leader in the American legal system whose opinion and experience is highly valuable toward us moving in the right direction. And I would ask you to engage with me in that line of discussion.
Mr. FREEH. Yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Do you want him to respond at this point, Mr. Conyers, or are you asking for a private meeting?
Mr CONYERS. Well, I've already asked for the private meeting, but if there's any comments that he would care to make before you close us down, it would be welcome.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Please proceed.
Mr. FREEH. It's a subject of great importance, perhaps one of the most important subjects for our country, our Constitution, our children, and what we believe in. It's also a very complex matter. A lot of it is well beyond my expertise.
I think that there's a combination of different forces at work and different dynamics at work which is probably the reason why we've not been consistently successful, because there are competing things and values. I don't think it's a law enforcement solution. I don't think increasing penalties by themselves or proliferating death penalties, for the most part, have the long-range positive effect that we want.
I think the certainty of punishment under the Federal guidelines is, however, a factor. We see the violent crime rate in our last set of FBI statistics dropping 7 percent, overall homicide rates dropping 11 percenthistorical decreases since 1961. That's good news. On the other hand we know that drug arrests and drug usage are up, and we're going to have a much larger adolescent population a few years from now than we've ever had before.
I think that education, particularly drug treatment and drug education, are in the long-run much more important than the law enforcement mechanisms to get the kind of results and solutions that I want as an FBI Director and as a father of five children. I think there's more at stake and more at issue here than just how we, the police, do our job.
The example I use is we're treating a patient that has a 103 degree fever. That's what the FBI does; that's what your police colleagues do in Michigan. But that's not the cause of the disease or the sickness, and it's a much more complicated and valuable issue to discuss than that.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Conyers.
Mr CONYERS. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I'm going to use the prerogative of the Chair to do some wrap-up right now. We're not going to do another round. We really don't have the time, and I wouldn't want to take the Director's time to do that, but there are a few loose ends out here.
Director Freeh, in March of this year the subcommittee held a hearing on the new law that prohibits firearm ownership by individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.
And in that hearing, David Loesch who is the Deputy Assistant Director for the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI, informed the subcommittee that the so-called Lautenberg Amendment would not in any way interfere with the FBI's timely implementation of the national instant check system under the Brady bill which is set for a deadline date of November 1998. In other words, he assured us that we were going to get that system in place; everything was on go; it was 100 percent there, and so on.
I just want to know if you can reassure us and reassure this subcommittee that the FBI will be able to fully implement the national instant check system by November of 1998.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FREEH. Yes, Mr. Chairman. My current understanding is that pursuant to the statute we are expected and we're contemplating to have it in place in, I think, November of 1998.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. One question that begs to be asked is in the crime lab area. In the FBI's response to the draft inspector general report, there is a statement made that it should havethe FBI should havesought accreditation for the lab a decade ago. I think you may have even repeated that statement somewhere. Why was this not done?
Mr. FREEH. The way I've been able to reconstruct it is as follows: I started it in 1994 because I couldn't understand why a laboratory which had trained and had accredited indirectly other laboratories was not itself accredited. Part of it was the time and the labor required, which in my view in 1994 was totally worthwhile. Some of it was the cost. Some of it, I think, was just an attitude in the laboratory going back many years that since we had trained a lot of people and accredited a lot of people, we didn't need to subject ourself to that same rigorous procedure, which was a poor judgment in my view.
Part of it was being in the building. You know, you can't accredit a laboratory in a multi-story building. One of the greatest problems we have now with the accreditation is that it's in a multi-story building, and it's there because somebody wanted it on a tour route many years ago. It shouldn't be in a multi-story building. Contamination issues are one of the accreditation requirements.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Are you going to have to build a new building to get accredited, then?
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Mr. FREEH. Well, we are building a new building, thanks to the Congress and its appropriations for 3 years. We're starting construction in September of a brand new laboratory in Quantico.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So that will resolve that portion of the problem
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM [continuing]. That otherwise would be there for accreditation. Okay.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. May I just get back to Mr. Barr on one of his questions?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Sure.
Mr. FREEH. The Executive Orderthis is the trigger protection devices, and this note just came to methe Executive Order mandates the issuance of the trigger locks for every weapon used by Federal law enforcement. It does not mandate the use. It began in 1994, providing locks at that point to new agents as a safety issue. My note also says that the FBI was not consulted at that point. I'll get the additional answers for you that you requested.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARR. Okay. Could I have unanimous consent just to follow up very briefly on that?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Very briefly, you may.
Mr. BARR. If the trigger locks are simply made available to the agents, are there any instructions that they are to be used, or is there anything mandatory at all about their usage by the agents?
Mr. FREEH. I wish to get back to you on that, too. I just don't want to give you an incomplete answer.
Mr. BARR. Okay, I look forward to that; thank you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would ask unanimous consent to make a personal inquiry to clarify my understanding of Director Freeh's understanding of my question?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. It's all right; go ahead.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Director Freeh, first of all I want to make sure that we have understood each other that I would like to have the FBI get back with me on militia and hate groups information; I made that inquiry to you. And I also wanted to clarify my respect for free association.
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A gentleman by the name of Mr. McVeigh stands accused, now convicted, of an act of terrorism, and it's one person. And so I recognize that all militia groups are not necessarily engaged in violent activities, but my focus are going towards those who are actively involved in raising the point of the violent overthrow of this country. I think our hands will be full with just those individuals, so I want to make that very clear and that's the kind of information that I'd like to have. And I do want to note that it only takes one person to bomb a building and kill 168 people.
I thank the chairman for his indulgence.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You're welcome.
Just a couple of quick things. Nobody today has asked you about the Saudi bombing in Riyhad. Is there anything new you can tell us about that incident? Have we progressed any further in being able to interrogate this fellow that's been in Canada? Has the Saudi Government been more or less cooperative since you've last reported to us?
Mr. FREEH. Mr. Chairman, I would be happy, in perhaps an executive session, to bring you exactly up-to-date on that. I can report in the public session that we have made some progress. The Saudi authorities who were responsible for locating the individual in Canada did provide that very significant cooperation to us. The individual is still in Canada, subject to the Canadian judicial orders and applications. It is our desire to speak to him.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And perhaps if you would do me the courtesy of allowing me to report in an executive session, I can provide some more sensitive information.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Certainly, I'd be very glad to. I just thought we ought to put that on the record.
There's one other thing that's been in the news lately. The Washington Post, I think, covered a story about a film, a documentary that has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival and may be released publicly shortly here in D.C. and maybe elsewhere, about Waco. Apparently that film contains footage in which the persons making the film believe or assert that it's showing that the FBI fired upon the compound in Waco during the assault and so on.
And that film, allegedly, has never been enhancedthe footage used in the documentaryto the degree that it could be by the Justice Department or the FBI so as to determine if actual shots had been fired, as asserted by certain authorities in the documentary. It's my understanding from the FBI testimony at our hearings on Waco that nobody fired a shotthe FBI officers didn't shoot at anybody there.
Have you been made aware of this film? Have you looked at the footage that might be involved in this documentary? Can you tell us whether or not there has been sufficient study and enhancement of this footage to come to any absolute conclusions with respect to what it shows or doesn't show?
Mr. FREEH. I'm aware of the film; I haven't seen it. My understanding and my firm belief is that as was demonstrated, I think, overwhelmingly by the hearings as well as all the scientific reports, nobody in the FBI or in law enforcement fired one, single shot during that siege outside the compound.
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I think if you look at Ed Dennis's report, which is an independent report, all the scientists that have looked at the FLIR tapes, the infrared tapes, just disagree with that. I think it's just wrong, and if there are some other analyses or reviews that need to be done, I'm certainly willing to do them. I'll support it, but all the experts that I have confidence in have completely rejected that idea.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And could you tell usjumping as I know am from subject to subject here at the endwith respect to the question of multi-point source wiretapping authorityexpecially as it relates to the drug warif we don't receive that authority in law enforcement, what is the significance going to be to you?
I mean, what is the bottom line? Is it going to mean that we aren't going to get the kind of prosecutions that you've been getting all along, or are we just not going to capture as many people as we otherwise would? Exactly how disruptive is it going to be?
Mr. FREEH. I think it's going to be extremely disruptive. I think if we want to have an effective and up-to-date counter-drug program, we have to have the 1968 authority meet the 21st century. I don't think that we're asking for new powers or huge powers. I think when large drug dealers, as they now do, go from clones to public phones to PCs to phone cards, it's not 1968 any more.
There are technologies that the drug dealers are using, and the people who have the responsibility of protecting the country can't deal with, and we're just asking for modernization of 1968 authority.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Lastly, I would like to address the encryption issue, which continues to trouble us. You've answered some questions about it today. The main concern raised by those who want to pass legislation that would abolish the restrictions on export controls on encryption technology is that European countries and others will continue to sell programs without key recovery systems.
They believe that there's nothing that is actually going to stop the practice despite the European union statements to the contrary; proponents of such legislation hold that the American business interest is simply going to fail. And because we can't afford to allow that and because the bad guys are going to get the technology anyway, why not let us lift the restrictions?
I just want to give you one last chance to respond to that.
Mr. FREEH. Yesexcuse me. When you testify for three-and-one-half hours you have some additional things you're going to ask the chairman for time to say in a moment.
With respect to the encryption issue, I think the argumentand you've just recounted it very ably; that the genie is out of the bottle, there's nothing we can do; I guess we just have to give up here folksis not a persuasive or realistic one.
First of all, there is robust encryption being manufactured in Russia, and in many, many other countries around the world. My advice to businessmen and corporations would be not to rely on that software for the kind of security that I think they want and are entitled to.
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We're also talking about inter-operability. If you and I are talking over an encrypted network and nobody else has the key, nobody is going to hear what we are saying. But if I have to leave that conversation, and I'm one of your deputies and we're committing a crime, I've got to delegate the tasks for what we're going to do to four different people. If two of them have encrypted channels, but two of them have non-encrypted channels where a district judge can order interception, then you don't have an inter-operable closed encryption system, and law enforcement and public safety still have a seat at the table.
I think the same arguments that are being made with respect to, ''The genie's out of the bottle; let's all go home,'' were made in 1994 when we talked about the CALER effort. The arguments were, ''It's too expensive; it can't be done; it's not economical, and it's going to be oppressive to the common carriers.'' None of those arguments have proved to be true.
The Congress and the Government, it seems to me, have to make a policy decision on whether the notions of public safety and national security are important enough, or as important as economic interests, to achieve, or at least try to achieve, some type of balanced encryption policy. The policy must endure that where American technology can continue to dominate, people's privacy will be protected, butGod forbidif somebody's child is taken and I need to find a trap and trace to go back to that child, I have some means regulated by a court to go and do that. We can't give up on that. I think that's been our position.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, I thank you; you did a very good job of summarizing what you've testified on a number of times before, but I thought that was needed since we've covered it so sparsely.
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You wanted to make a comment. I don't have any other questions for you, but you have something you want to follow up on?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, thank you very much. I just want to clarify two things. We are now, as you know and I think I alluded to, looking at all the past cases of the 13 individuals who were criticized in the Inspector General's report.
Each one of those cases is being examined for possible Brady material. We don't know, obviously, what we're going to find and how that may impact ultimately on decisions by judges. I just wanted to make clear there are a large number of cases that we are looking at, although I don't have any current knowledge that we have a case that's been compromised.
With respect to the FBI OPR, we are directly overseen by the Justice DepartmentOPR, as I mentioned. The oversight is indirect except for the cases that they actually supervise.
Also, the final point; I hope I didn't mean to suggest to you that the lab can't be accredited until it moves to Quantico. We're speeding up the accreditation process to try to get that in 1998. The lab down there won't be ready until the year 2000. I've met with the individuals who are actually going to do the accrediting, and the multi-story building with the lab can be accreditedit's a little bit more difficultand we're going to do that as quickly as we can.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I trust you think the lab needs to be separated entirely from the FBI's jurisdiction to have credibility in the sense of the broad public.
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Mr. FREEH. Absolutely not. I think it would be a mistake to do that in my view.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We have some questions in writing on the background checks on school bus drivers. There may be other questions in writing that will be submitted to you.
Mr. Barr, do you want to follow up on one last question?
Mr. BARR. Yes, and it doesn't require any response. I would just like to state for the record that I do disagree, to some extent, with the Director's characterization that there are no burdens that are placed on the telecommunications industry by CALEA. I think there are, and these are going to be the subject of further discussions.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Always subject to whatever; I know how that goes, Mr. Barr. Director Freeh, we've been here a long time with you today. You've given us three-and-one-half hours, and that's a very long hearing and I'm very appreciative of it.
I think we all understand what I said in my opening statement, at least those of us on this committee and you, that the importance of the FBI and its integrity is paramount and that, indeed, only in an oversight hearing like this can the public trust be maintained.
And so we've done, I think, our constitutional and statutory duty today with you. The committee will hold more hearings with respect to some of the specific issues, but I greatly appreciatewe greatly appreciateyour spending the time and the effort today, not just to wear your hat downtown to direct this very important agency, but to be here and to share with us the responses to the questions that the members have had.
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So, thank you again for coming, and please give our best to all of the men and women who serve under you. Thank you.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:02 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.]
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (PART II)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
JUNE 5, 1997
Serial No. 59
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
SONNY BONO, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRISTOPHER B. CANNON, Utah
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTH, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
PAUL J. MCNULTY, Chief Counsel
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGLENN R. SCHMITT, Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Counsel
NICOLE R. NASON, Counsel
DAVID YASSKY, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
June 5, 1997
McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
Freeh, Hon. Louis J., Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Freeh, Hon. Louis J., Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice: Prepared statement
Jackson Lee, Hon. Sheila, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas: Prepared statement