FBI Director Visits Houston

The FBI is a different organization now than it was before nine-eleven. The head of the FBI was in Houston and took time out to address the Houston Forum. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports

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Globalization is changing crime and terrorism says FBI Director Robert Mueller. He says law enforcement's challenge is the greatest it's ever been.

"The FBI's challenge is to defend America against global terrorism and to protect Americans against global crime while at all times upholding our civil liberties."

Mueller says in the time of Bonnie and Clyde, the new technology for avoiding local law enforcement was the car.

"The nature of crime has changed dramatically since Bonnie and Clyde. Today we confront sophisticated spies, high-tech hackers and ruthless terrorists. We face corrupt corporations, violent gangs, international crime rings. And our enemies may be based anywhere in the world or anywhere on the world wide web."

But Mueller points out that the FBI has resources and the cooperation with local law enforcement to fight back. It includes state of the art information data bases for law enforcement to access and search. Mueller says before 9/11 35 joint terrorism task forces existed, now there are over 100. Mueller says the terrorist screening center which has the terrorist watch list has received 3,000 calls from Texas law enforcement with many resulting in matches. Mueller was asked about efforts to disrupt the financial resources of terrorist groups. He says financial institutions do currency and suspicious transactions reports.

"Those reports done by banks are tremendously important to us, tremendously important to us. If we are going to cut down on the monies going to narcotics trafficers, if we are going to cut down on the monies going to terrorists, we have to be able to identify those cash transactions which are the source of their funding. And we have made substantial strides working together with the agency, with the Treasury Department, with the banking community both here and overseas in cutting down on the funding to terrorist whether it be in the Unites States or in Columbia orin the Middle East. But the fact of the matter is to undertake a terrorist attack is not a tremendously expensive things to do."

The FBI was in New Orleans yesterday and met with police officials in Houston and Texas. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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