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Dateline: 05/29/02

FBI Director Robert Mueller today announced a major reorganization that will change the Bureau's 94-year old main mission from investigation, pursuit and prosecution of criminals to protecting Americans from terrorist attacks.

During weeks of harsh criticism, the FBI has been accused of overlooking or failing to act on information that could foiled the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Under the reorganization plan announced today the FBI will move 480 agents from drug enforcement, and investigation of white-collar and violent crime to terrorism prevention. Overall, the Bureau will increase from 2,178 to 3,718 the number of agents dedicated to terrorism prevention nationwide.

Priorities of the newly reorganized FBI will be:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack 
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage 
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes 
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels 
  5. Protect civil rights 
  6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises 
  7. Combat major white-collar crime 
  8. Combat significant violent crime 
  9. Support federal, state, local and international partners 
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI’s mission 

Specifically to fight terrorism, the FBI will:

  1. Restructure Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters
    - Redefine relationship between HQ and Field Agents
    - Shift from reactive to proactive orientation
  2. Establish “Flying Squads” to coordinate national and international investigations
  3. Establish national Joint Terrorism Task Force
  4. Substantially enhance analytical capabilities with personnel and technology
    - Expand use of data mining, financial record analysis, and communications analysis to combat terrorism
    - Establish the Office of Intelligence
  5. Build a national terrorism response capability that is more mobile, agile, and flexible, e.g., use of “flying squads” and regional assets
  6. Permanently shift additional resources to Counterterrorism
  7. Augment overseas capabilities and partnerships
  8. Target recruitment to acquire agents, analysts, translators and others with specialized skills and backgrounds
  9. Enhance Counterterrorism training for FBI and law enforcement partners
    [Source: FBI presentation]

The Office of Intelligence, a first-ever cooperative effort between the FBI and CIA, will be staffed by FBI agents and 25 CIA agents with counter terrorism experience.

To bolster its new terror prevention role, the FBI will be hiring more than 900 new agents to fill positions requiring relevant language skills, as well as high-technology experience and data analysis skills.

"We need a different approach that puts prevention above all others," stated FBI Director Mueller in announcing the Bureau's plans. "We need to change and we indeed are changing." 

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