THE HONORABLE DEBORAH J. DANIELS
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS
NATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATION
NATIONAL FORUM 2002
"SECURITY AND JUSTICE IN TIMES OF TERRORISM -
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S NEW CHALLENGE"
MONDAY, JULY 29, 2002
Good afternoon. I'm very pleased to be here. As many of you know, NCJA and the Office of Justice Programs have a long history of working in partnership to address crime and emerging criminal justice issues and to improve criminal justice operations in this nation. Today, American criminal justice faces perhaps its greatest challenge ever - domestic terrorism.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, introduced a new era in criminal justice in this country - and around the world. Today, every criminal justice official - whether at the federal, state, or local level - must be prepared to deal with terrorism and its various manifestations in domestic crime.
I want to talk to you today about some of the terrorism-related challenges now facing criminal justice planners, policymakers, and practitioners, and how we can work together to effectively meet those challenges.
It's clear that every part of the criminal justice system is affected by terrorism in some way. To begin with, in many criminal justice agencies, employees have been called away from their regular jobs to serve on active military duty in our nation's war on terrorism.
Police departments struggle with deployment when officers must be pulled off their beats to bolster security at airports, reservoirs, power plants, bridges, and other critical structures. And each new anthrax incident or terrorist warning brings an increase in calls for service to investigate reports of spilled powder or suspicious packages or persons.
With the FBI's increased focus on counterterrorism, local police and prosecutors will likely be called upon to take a more prominent role in investigating and prosecuting bank robberies, white-collar crime, and other incidents that traditionally have been within the domain of federal law enforcement.
Law enforcement also must be more alert to the link between terrorism and crimes such as drug trafficking, cybercrime, and identity theft. We know that terrorists have turned to crimes such as these to finance and support their activities.
For example, al Quaeda received significant financial support from the opium trade in Afghanistan. Much in the manner that other organized crime operations have funded their other illegal activities and made huge profits through illegal drug distribution, so too do terrorist networks finance their deadly schemes in this way.
In calling for increased enforcement and demand reduction efforts, President Bush has said, "It is important for Americans to know that the traffic in drugs finances the work of terror, sustaining terrorists, that terrorists use drug profits to fund their cells to commit acts of terror." This is no exaggeration - it is real.
Computers also have become tools-of-the-trade for terrorists. Law enforcement officials have found evidence that al Quaeda planned cybercrime attacks on defense system computers, banking networks, and other critical infrastructures.
The September 11 hijackers also stole the identities of innocent individuals, and fraudulently opened charge and bank accounts in their new names to hide their terrorist activities. After the September 11 attacks, it was several days before federal investigators learned the real identities of a number of the terrorists who had assumed the names of innocent U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, and citizens of other countries.
Criminal justice officials must become more alert to links between such "traditional" crimes and terrorist activity.
Corrections officials also must increase their vigilance against terrorism. It's believed that at least two al Quaeda operatives were introduced to radical Islam while in prison or as a result of ties forged in prison. Richard Reid, the alleged "shoe bomber," converted to Islam in the 1990s while serving a sentence in a British prison for street muggings. Investigators believe that he became involved with al Quaeda soon after his release, upon meeting Zacarias Moussaoui, the suspected 20th hijacker, at a mosque in Britain.
And Jose Padilla, who was captured by federal agents while trying to re-enter the United States with plans to explode a radiological dispersion device, a so-called "dirty bomb," became involved in radical Islam after serving time in a Florida prison. Some criminal justice experts point to these cases as evidence that prisons are a fertile ground for terrorist groups. We must work to ensure that, while we rightfully encourage religious worship by inmates in our prisons, in the religion of their choice, our prisons do not become recruiting centers for terrorism.
At the federal level, we have made the prevention of domestic terrorism a top priority - representing a significant, dramatic shift in the traditional law enforcement paradigm. The President has called for the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security to consolidate federal counterterrorism initiatives.
This new department will establish a single point of contact for state and local law enforcement, to provide one-stop shopping for training, equipment, emergency planning, and other critical needs for emergency response, replacing the hodgepodge of federal bureaucracies you've encountered in the past. For example, OJP's Office for Domestic Preparedness will be incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security, joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency to form one branch of the Department. The formerly separate entities will merge their responsibilities and combine their respective expertise, in order better to serve the needs of first responders throughout the country.
Plans for the new department are currently being debated in Congress, and President Bush has called on House and Senate leaders to pass legislation authorizing the new Department of Homeland Security by the end of the current Congressional session.
To support this effort, the President has requested a significant increase in funding for homeland security. His FY 2003 budget directs $37.7 billion to these efforts, up from $19.5 billion in 2002. This includes $3.5 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance the homeland security response capabilities of America's first responders - a greater than 10-fold increase in federal resources. FEMA will use these funds to provide the state and local first responder community with much-needed funds to conduct important planning and exercises, purchase equipment, and train their personnel.
We anticipate that this function will be shifted, intact, to the new Department of Homeland Security upon its creation. In the meantime, OJP just received $150 million in additional funding in the Counterterrorism Supplemental Appropriations bill that passed about a week ago, to increase training and equipment grants in this fiscal year.
On the intelligence front, the Attorney General and FBI Director Mueller have promised full cooperation with state and local authorities in intelligence gathering and information sharing. To those of you who have raised this time-honored concern with me this week - we ask for your patience. This, too, is a major paradigm shift. But the Attorney General and Director Mueller realize that every lead is important to unraveling the divergent strands of potential terrorist networks. And they recognize that there's no federal substitute for local intelligence.
As Baltimore City Police Commissioner Ed Norris put it: "We're the ones on the street. We know what's happening in every block on every day. People need to reach out and get that information."
To help better share information, we at OJP are working to expand access to RISS - the Regional Information Sharing System - and LEO - the FBI's Law Enforcement Online system - and to coordinate the operations of these two systems. Through RISS, we're working to network a number of different federal and state law enforcement information sharing systems. Our goal is to create a coordinated, secure network that can share information among law enforcement at all levels of government.
To help state and local law enforcement upgrade their own capabilities in this area, the President's 2003 budget requests $50 million for a new COPS InfoTech program. This program will provide much-needed assistance to state and local enforcement to upgrade existing information systems, improve their intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities, and work together to electronically share information.
The Justice Department also is working to address the problems you encounter in communicating with each other when various departments respond to a crime scene. The Advanced Generation of Interoperability for Law Enforcement- or AGILE - initiative underway in our National Institute of Justice is finding solutions to this problem. We're currently working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other partners, to develop standards for voice, data, image, and video communication systems that can be adopted by industry.
In the recent Counterterrorism Supplemental Appropriations enactment, DOJ also received $50 million for radio interoperability grants, which we can use this fiscal year. We will ensure that the distribution of these funds is closely coordinated with NIJ's scientific advances, to make sure that local law enforcement is getting the greatest possible use of the available funds in this very critical area.
NIJ also is working to identify and adapt other technology for use by criminal justice practitioners. Although such new technologies as face recognition, weapons detection, and penetrating portable radar are still not yet at the point of practical deployment, getting these dual-use systems on the street is an agency priority.
We've also been meeting with major criminal justice organizations to discuss how we can be a better information broker on "what works" in preventing crime and improving justice operations. We're working to determine what information exists on best practices in criminal justice, hoping to take the creative work that's going on across the country and broker it so that everyone can take advantage of approaches that work. We think this is particularly important now that it has become necessary for the Justice Department to shift its primary law enforcement focus to terrorism - we need to do everything we can to help local law enforcement pick up any slack that may result. And we're continuing to support research to help state and local criminal justice planners, policymakers, and practitioners make wise investments of limited public dollars. Last week, I spoke to researchers at our National Research and Evaluation Conference. And I encouraged them to focus on research of practical use to the field - to make it relevant to practitioners, and to make their research reports readable -- in today's lexicon, "user-friendly". My goal is to improve the usefulness of our research to those on the front lines - and we will be seeking new ways to obtain input from practitioners at the front end of the process, regarding the research they feel would be most useful to them.
OJP staff will provide more information about these and other OJP domestic preparedness resources in the workshops today and tomorrow.
But in addition to this support, I encourage you to look for ways to better utilize existing resources to meet the needs of the criminal justice agencies in your states in responding to traditional crime and terrorism.
For example, you should be working with your colleagues who administer other federal funding streams from HHS, HUD, and other agencies to pool federal dollars for maximum impact. And you should approach criminal justice planning by looking at all your resources - federal, state, and local - all across the spectrum, to determine how these resources can work together to solve specific problems.
You should also be working closely with officials at the State Emergency Management Agency, and with your state's Homeland Security Administrator. Almost every state has now developed a comprehensive statewide strategy for meeting domestic preparedness needs within the state, for planning use of funding and other resources, and for coordinating among state and local officials.
Criminal justice practitioners should be part of this process. And governors should be responsible for ensuring that this kind of coordination is ongoing.
And while you are making your voices heard with those forums, I also urge you to make sure that you're listening to local officials about their needs as you're planning criminal justice initiatives and the allocation of resources. When I meet with local officials, that's a consistent complaint I hear. It's critical that states have a real and robust process for receiving, and heeding, input from local jurisdictions - urban, rural, and those in between.
I know that the various states engage to differing degrees in strategically planning the use of limited public funds. Instead of the merely reactive way that many state administering boards operate - simply reviewing grant applications that come in and deciding what will be funded, I ask that you encourage your boards to engage in strategic planning: creating a strategic, state-wide anti-crime plan, publishing that plan, and only then considering applications for funding, in light of the state-wide strategy you have created. I know that some of your boards already operate this way, but I ask that the rest of you begin to approach grant-making in this proactive way, as well.
This is what we'll be doing at OJP, too, moving forward - in addition to measuring outcomes of our programs and funding only what demonstrably works, whether it's to reduce violent crime, reduce illegal drug use, prevent delinquency, or empower victims - and I strongly encourage you to do the same, with the formula dollars you receive, as well as the funding made available from other sources.
In addition to collaboration to use existing resources more creatively, I also encourage you to use another resource that's readily available - citizen volunteers.
Following the terrible events of September 11th, the White House received messages from citizens from all across the country who wanted to be of service to their country and their community. In response, the President established the USA Freedom Corps, setting up a network of volunteer organizations under the rubric of the Citizen Corps, that will marshal the skills and knowledge of the American people to help law enforcement respond to terrorism and other crime.
You'll hear more about this initiative at some of the workshops. But I encourage you to look for ways that citizen volunteers can be utilized throughout the criminal justice system.
And let me take two more minutes, just to debunk some inaccurate rumors that have recently spread as uncontrollably as those terrible Colorado fires, regarding one of the Citizen Corps initiatives: Operation TIPS.
After September 11, we were approached by organizations of public sector workers, such as truckers, whose long-standing and successful "Highway Watch" program has helped to solve and even prevent crimes around the country. Similar programs in existence include Coast Watch, which includes ship captains and lobstermen who cruise our eastern shores daily, and even "Fertilizer Watch" - which may help to prevent future Oklahoma City-style bombings. These responsible members of respected organizations told us that they, in the course of their daily routines, are in the best position to notice anomalies, things that are out of place. If a trucker sees someone driving an 18-wheeler which is loaded with hazardous material, and sees that person try to fill his tank with regular fuel instead of diesel fuel, he knows that load could be stolen.
These public-minded citizens requested a uniform method of reporting publicly observable, suspicious activity to law enforcement. Our response was to suggest that we would set up "Operation TIPS": an 800 number to be provided to these industry groups, from which we would route their reports directly to both the FBI and local law enforcement. At that point, the law enforcement professionals will take over, doing what they would do with any citizen report that came in: analyzing it, determining whether to follow up and investigate, determining whether an emergency may exist, and acting accordingly.
We want to encourage these public-spirited industry workers by making it easy for them to report publicly observable, suspicious activity to the police. We regret that the legitimate privacy concerns we all share and hold dear have led some to fear an invasion of their privacy. I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth, and I hope you will reassure others in your respective states about this initiative.
In closing, I want to emphasize the Justice Department's strong commitment to supporting state and local criminal justice and to working with you to control crime, improve criminal justice operations, and meet the challenges of terrorism.
Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson recently summarized the challenge terrorism poses to American criminal justice: "In waging our nation's war on terrorism, we must not retreat in our war on crime. We must strike a balance between national security and neighborhood safety. We must find ways to maximize our resources so that we can continue to make advances on both fronts." I look forward to working with you to meet this challenge. Thank you very much.