|For Immediate Release
May 9, 2012
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Full Committee Oversight Hearing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Chairman Smith: When Director Mueller was last in front of this Committee just over a year ago, we all believed that it would be his last hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as FBI Director because his ten-year term was set to expire on September 4, 2011.
But because of the changes of leadership at the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, the President requested and Congress passed a law to allow him to be re-nominated and serve an additional two years.
Director Mueller received this vote of confidence because he has led the FBI with integrity and skill through some of the most difficult and important years in America’s history.
Director Mueller became FBI Director only days before the September 11th terrorist attacks. As the first FBI Director of the post-September 11th era, Director Mueller led a historic transformation of the agency. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the FBI’s counterterrorism division and still continued its traditional focus on investigating federal crimes.
Under his leadership, the FBI has successfully stopped dozens of terrorist plots and remained vigilant against the threat of al Qaeda and like-minded groups.
This threat did not end with the death of Osama bin Laden. Just this week, we learned that al Qaeda leaders in Yemen planned to detonate a bomb on a U.S.-bound jet around the anniversary of bin Laden’s death. Fortunately, American intelligence in cooperation with foreign allies prevented this attack.
The FBI has also brought to justice insider traders, child pornographers, intellectual property thieves, doctors who defraud Medicare and countless other criminals.
A strong leader at the helm of the FBI is critical to our national security. So are strong laws that help investigators and intelligence officials keep our nation safe.
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 is scheduled to expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts to reauthorize it.
This law gives the intelligence community the tools it needs to determine who terrorists communicate with, what they say and what they may be planning. FISA strikes a balance as it allows the FBI to acquire intelligence information about foreign terrorists abroad while preserving and protecting the civil liberties of American citizens no matter where they are.
I hope to hear Director Mueller’s views on how FISA has furthered the FBI’s mission to protect Americans and whether Congress should do anything to strengthen or improve the law.
I would like to again thank Director Mueller for his tireless dedication to our nation’s security and the safety of the American people for ten and a half years. We look forward to your testimony today on these and other issues of importance to the FBI and the country.