FBI Response to Testimony Before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
FBI Assistant Director John Miller issued the following statement:
“While we appreciate any employee’s views on the state and direction of the FBI, those assessments may be very limited in scope. A clearer view of the big picture may be more helpful in drawing conclusions. Over the nearly seven years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the FBI has made great and steady strides to build a domestically focused national security organization with the added value and responsibility of law enforcement powers. In that time, the FBI’s priorities were dramatically shifted to make prevention of another terrorist attack our top priority. This shift in emphasis, as well as resources, has proven successful to date in that we have now gone several years without a successful terrorist attack by al-Qaeda or its affiliates on U.S. soil. During those years, by combining our intelligence-gathering capabilities with our law enforcement experience and authority, as well as our state and local partners, we have disrupted several terrorist plots across the country. Working with our intelligence community partners we have helped to disrupt more plots across the world.
“As the men and women of the FBI have accomplished these goals, the threat picture as well as the capability of our adversaries has constantly shifted. We have had to continually develop and shift our strategies to meet those changes. We do not expect that to change. It is cynical to write off the work of so many dedicated FBI employees or the accomplishments of the Bureau by suggesting that these efforts are failing, especially when they are not. We have worked hard to staff positions at FBI Headquarters while at the same time being careful not to do so at the expense of the field offices. We have worked diligently through our community outreach and recruitment efforts to attract and hire more Arabic speaking agents as well those with other critical language and cultural backgrounds. In doing so, we face the challenges of competition for these qualities from the rest of the intelligence community and the private sector.
“Since 9/11, but particularly over the past year, the FBI has been addressing staffing concerns, career path issues and how we can better leverage a strategic, intelligence-based view, across all of our investigative programs. We are doing this through the work of over one hundred FBI employees, more than half from the field offices, to bring together the most informed thinking and best practices. We are standardizing these best practices across the field, region by region, over the next several months. One of the key initiatives relates to establishing career paths for FBI employees. Employees will select career paths in an area of expertise, such as counterterrorism, counterespionage or criminal investigation and stay with that discipline over their career.
“In the FBI, like any other government agency, resources will be an issue. We operate within the limits of those resources, but over the last one hundred years, our greatest resource has always been our people. They make up the difference every day, because they are dedicated to the mission of protecting the American people from threats near and far.”