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Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the local law enforcement interests in information sharing between federal and local law enforcement.
Hundreds of our own were murdered on September 11, 2001, along with thousands of citizens we were sworn to protect. The law enforcement community has been the subject of an ever increasing dialogue surrounding such issues as to whether everything was done to prevent these attacks and what if any number of possible reforms might be made to increase the capacity of all law enforcement to prevent such attacks from occurring in our homeland.
We, all of us, welcome this healthy process of discussion and potential helpful legislation. As the designated symbol of legal force in our society, we stand for those who value a society of order and peace. It has always been a fact of life with us, in law enforcement, that people will kill others to accomplish their particular goals. Unfortunately it took a tragedy of immense proportions to bring these points of needed discussion to the surface of public consciousness and dialogue.
A significant discovery that came as a result of this tragedy was that many agencies, federal, state, and local, had in their possession information which may have provided clues that the terrorist attack of September 11th was imminent and what the overall direction of that attack may be or take. In our world people do things based on motives (the real and the imaginary) to murder others. When we can, we try to use intelligence as a big part of our operational process so we can calculate what may happen by knowing our enemies. For example there were law enforcement agencies alerted to suspicious activities surrounding flight schools. There were also "watch lists" of U.S. Immigration officials naming these same terrorists involved in the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, no one government agency possessed enough precursors in this terrorist formula to put together all the relevant ingredients and predict the attack. None of the individual ingredients, standing alone, was sufficient to alert our agencies that this event was about to take place.
Several lessons have been learned from this experience. The first is that we must do a better job of information sharing among all law enforcement agencies. We too often hold information close to our sources and do not share it with others. Sometimes this happens to the extent of actual refusal to help others when requests are made. The second is that we must do this without sacrificing or compromising legal restrictions that have been put in place. This is not to say there aren't good reasons for secrecy when it puts lives at risk or may cause innocent people to have their images tarnished by hasty criminal investigations, but there is enormous potential for saving the lives of innocent people if we can recognize our potential through information sharing. I suggest learning these lessons; Criminals, Terrorists and Evildoers spread their propaganda falsehoods in two ways. The first is to convince us that evil does not exist so that we continue to become lambs led to slaughter or we just march forward as naive victims. The second is that evil is so prevalent that we need to destroy our basic individual freedoms to survive. Evil or criminals are not everywhere, quite the contrary, they are the minority of the population law enforcement deals with every day.
A few months ago the U.S. Congress reviewed many of the legal barriers to efficient flow of information within various agencies inside the federal government and where appropriate lowered some barriers. These adjustments will help bring many resources to bear on reducing the possibility of future terrorist attacks. However, a significant component of this information sharing was left out. That is the sharing of information with state and local law enforcement counterparts. The F.B.I., which is the lead federal agency regarding terrorism, has but 12,000 agents. The City of New York for instance has more than three times that number of sworn officers alone. Nationally there are more than 650,000 sworn police officers. Think of it as a spider web that catches the insects of terrorism as they fly through. The web needs to be complete to work, otherwise, the main pieces of the web provided by federal law enforcement have gapping holes for insects to utilize.
I think the American public is asking our legislators if they are serious about the domestic war on terrorism and if they are why shouldn't we employ all of the resources at our disposal to win the battles? Federal law enforcement resources are quite frankly dwarfed by existing resources in state and local jurisdictions. While searching out and disrupting international terrorism remains a primary function of federal law enforcement it is essential we take advantage of state and local assets.
On October 29, 2001 FBI Director Robert Mueller reminded the International Chiefs of Police Organization in Toronto, Canada that there is no one institution with enough resources or expertise to defeat terrorism. He has been quoted as saying "It must be a joint effort across agencies, across jurisdictions, and across borders. State and local law enforcement are playing a critical role collecting information, running down leads and providing the kind of expertise critical to an effort of this magnitude and of this importance."
Senate Bill 1615, the Federal-Local Information Sharing Partnership Act of 2001 would foster better joint efforts by the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the war on terrorism. This bill would address the oversight in previous legislation, recently, of the information sharing provisions of that legislation. It helps us all, federal, state and local law enforcement if we can operate on a two-way road with a give and take relationship. This legislation is essential to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies are able to work hand-in-hand with federal law enforcement agencies, such as the F.B.I., in the war on terrorism.
On a personal note let me give you some examples of over twenty five years of relationships my local law enforcement agency has had with federal officers. Early in my career a local drug rip off of a dealer ended with a federal wire tap and significant forfeitures involving DEA, FBI, IRS, U.S. Marshals and yes an Ogden police officer. Today, because of that experience, I have personnel assigned to a multi county drug strike force with federal DEA representation. I also have personnel assigned to a FBI Multi Jurisdictional Criminal Apprehension Team, a FBI Joint Terrorism Strike Force and locally a multi jurisdiction gang task force and SWAT team. These same relationships are the reason two counties and twelve law enforcement in Northern Utah have gotten together to combine law enforcement records into a singular Records Management system in one software and one location. This is the same software being used by the largest city and county in the State of Utah, a future collaboration being currently in the works. So why has Ogden done this? Our enemies, our criminals do not recognize any boundaries we put in place. Together, as a team, we can do great things for our citizens, individually we usually are only the sum of our strongest parts and resources.
Another example, if I might, is the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command of 20 agencies which I have the privilege to sit on. The make-up of the command is federal, state, and local law enforcement for the most part. For the last three years we have worked together with many other agencies in government and private partnerships to prepare the State of Utah to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. The terrorism legislation passed recently serves as a barrier to our work and may compromise the citizens of Utah and our guests from around the world. We need to have the relevant information and it's source that comes as a result of federal grand jury information, wiretapping information, visa information and one that may have been looked over in this endeavor is educational records of students studying in this country. In just the last 60 days, in my community, we have stopped citizens from former cold war world countries taking pictures of housing and Olympic Venues. We have talked with four Middle Eastern students who have rented a condominium, put one mattress in it, and are ordering up a fast modem InterNet service. We have talked with a reclusive Middle Eastern gentleman in a transient apartment complex whose neighbors claim he has been seen in the middle of the night meeting with other Middle Eastern gentleman in remote areas of the apartment complex. These are the fine strands of the spider web that would normally be written of as suspicious circumstances if the partnership my agency has with federal and state officers did not exist. We treat every one of these situations as a potential problem, with less than 60 days to go until the Olympics we cannot afford to do otherwise. After the Olympics the war on terrorism will still be going on and we all need to work at contributing whatever information and resources we might have to the total effort.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today and I will answer any questions you may have.
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