Remarks Prepared for Director Robert S. Mueller, III
News Conference, FBI HQ, Washington, D.C.
This summer and fall our nation will celebrate a number of events that serve as powerful symbols of our free and democratic society. These include 4th of July celebrations, the Democratic and Republic National Conventions, and the November presidential election, among others.
Unfortunately, the same events that fill most of us with hope and pride are seen by terrorists as prime vehicles for sowing fear and chaos. So today I want to talk briefly about three things: first, the threat, second, our response, and third, what you can do to help.
Over the next few months, we have reason to believe that there will be a heightened threat to U.S. interests around the world. Unfortunately, we currently do not know what form that threat may take. That is why it is so important that we locate these individuals and interview them. While we do not have any reason at this time to believe that they are working in concert, we will not take any chances. And in light of the March terrorist bombings in Madrid, we must be prepared for any plans to launch attacks before America's elections this fall.
In re-issuing these BOLOs ["Be On the Lookout" announcements], we want to emphasize the need for vigilance against our terrorist enemies, particularly al Qaeda. The FBI and the entire intelligence community continue to seek information on the whereabouts and activities of Adnan El Shukrijumah, Abderraouf Jdey, Aafia Siddiqui, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Amer El-Maati, and Adam Gadahn in connection to possible terrorist threats against the United States.
At the FBI, we have 24/7 operations ongoing to prevent terrorist attacks. While I can't discuss the specifics of our response, I can say that we are working harder than ever to increase our collection of human intelligence, identify gaps in our knowledge, and develop sources to provide needed information. We believe our best defense against this threat is information.
To that end, we are combing through every piece of data we gained from previous investigations to determine if there is anything more that we can learn.
We are combining our resources with our partners in the intelligence community and state and local law enforcement in a world-wide effort to gather relevant information. We have also distributed new intelligence collection requirements to our 84 Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country to assist them in the development of additional sources.
We have further mobilized our own forces. Last week I talked with the Special Agents in Charge of every FBI Field Office to discuss our counterterrorism efforts, the current heightened threat, and the importance of devoting the time and resources necessary to our increased intelligence collection and investigative efforts. As part of that effort, our field offices are reaching out to private industry and their local communities to identify possible threats.
We also need the support of the American people.
First, we ask for your cooperation as we launch a nationwide series of interviews to gather information and intelligence on potential threats. We will be asking to talk to Americans and immigrants of various backgrounds – no one group will be singled out. I want to thank everyone who is contacted in advance for their cooperation in helping us meet this threat.
Second, we need the public to be on the lookout for these seven individuals. Have you seen them in your communities? Have you heard that someone might be helping them to hide? Do you have any idea where they might be? If so, we need you to come forward.
And, finally, we ask you to simply be aware of your surroundings. On the train or subway, be on the lookout for suspicious activities or unattended bags and packages. As we have learned, even one terrorist can be deadly. Those who handle hazardous materials, or work in industries that might be targeted by terrorists, should be especially on alert. If you observe anything suspicious, please contact your local police department or the nearest FBI field office.
Thank you for your continued support. And rest assured that there are thousands of FBI and other law enforcement officials who will be working day and night over the coming months to ensure America's continued safety.
Thank you, and God bless.