tv [untitled] September 4, 2013 10:00am-10:31am PDT
>> good afternoon and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know. i am currently a director of the california clean energy fund, also a long serving member of the commonwealth club. please turn off all your noise- making devices. we will get under way in just a
moment, but first, i want to tell you a bit about a couple of upcoming programs. next monday, november 21, tom brokaw, nbc news correspondent and author, will discuss the current mood of america. this will be a program starting at 1:00 p.m. at the santa clara convention center. on tuesday, november 29, paula kerger, who is president of pbs, and the president of kqed will discuss the challenges facing public broadcasting and how the challenges impact our program choices. this will be a 6:00 p.m. program here in san francisco at the commonwealth club. it is my pleasure to extend a
special welcome to any new members of the commonwealth club who are here today. we know you are going to enjoy your membership and look forward to seeing you often. if you are not a member yet, today is a great time to join. if you have questions, the staff will be available to answer them after the program. there are question cards at your table for director muller, and these will, of course, the collected during the program. the commonwealth club, as you know, is a nonpartisan organization. we do ask that our speakers be allowed to make their remarks without interruption.
we encourage the writing of your questions and submitting them to us. i also want to say that we are very pleased to have with us to moderate the program for the question period, mariono florentino professor at stanford university law school and co- director at stanford center for international security and cooperation. from early 2009 through the summer of 2010, he served as special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy at the white house. now, we are going to pause just for a moment while we begin -- before beginning our radio, tv,
and internet programs for a much wider audience. good afternoon and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know. you can find us on the internet at commonwealthclub that board -- commonwealthclub.org. now it is my distinct honor and also a personal pleasure for me to introduce robert s. muller, the sixth director of the federal bureau of investigation. nominated by president george w. bush, he was sworn in to lead
the fbi on september 4, 2001, just one week before the al qaeda attacks on 9/11. under his leadership, the fbi has since played the leading role in preventing further terrorist attacks inside america. all americans should be happy that congress recently approved an extension of his tenure -- his 10-year term for an additional two years. i have known bob since 1970, which was his first year as a law student at university of virginia where i was on the law school faculty. he was a returning veteran from the vietnam war, having led a rifle platoon in the third marine division, receiving a bronze star, purple heart, and
vietnamese cross of gallantry. i was always on the lookout for incoming students who played squash. bob more than filled that bill. he improve my game, although i never, never beat the man. i did, however, get to know him very well. he was a prince. bob also was smart, smart enough for me to offer him a job as my research assistant and dumb enough to accept. he was a delight to work with, and together, we produced an article -- the energy environment conflict: fighting electric power facilities -- which was published in 1972. when bob graduated from uva he
left a real hole in my life, but i knew for sure he was going to accomplish great things. we kept in touch as his career progressed until fbi swallowed him in 2001. bob's legal career has been mainly in public service with interruptions for private practice. all of his focus on criminal law, financial fraud, public corruption, narcotics, conspiracies, money laundering, terrorists. he first became known in san francisco where he served in the u.s. attorney's office, rising to be chief of the criminal division. thereafter, he moved to boston as assistant u.s. attorney and then to the u.s. justice department in washington where he led the criminal division.
in 1998, bob returned to san francisco as united states attorney. please join me in welcoming my good friend and one of america's most distinguished public servants, robert muller. [applause] >> let me start off by thanking mason for that kind introduction. i will say -- you often wonder when a former professor is going to introduce you. you do not know what is going to come out. but, thank you. you were there to kick start my career when it needed kick starting. let me thank the commonwealth club for having me back.
it is great to be back in san francisco but also to be back with you this afternoon. two months ago, we marked the 10th anniversary of the september 11 attacks. the horrific events of that day were the prelude to a decade of political, economic, and cultural transformation, and globalization and technology have accelerated these changes. consider now how different our world was in the summer of 2001. leaders of egypt, iraq, and libya were entrenched in power. barack obama was an illinois state senator, and arnold schwarzenegger was a movie actor. 10 years ago, most americans had never heard of a credit default swap or mortgage-backed securities. lehman brothers had celebrated its 150th anniversary and in 2001, mark zuckerberg was
captain of his high-school fencing team. borders bookstores had $3 billion in annual revenue and meanwhile, kindle something you did to a fire and nook was merely a small corner of the room. most americans knew little about osama bin laden or al qaeda. at the time, i was u.s. attorney in san francisco and i myself being out here paid little attention to those terrorist attacks that were occurring overseas. today, our world can change in the blink of an eye. the effects of that change are felt more rapidly and more broadly than ever before. consider the current economic climate. when companies fail to recognize and adapt to change, they can go out of business almost overnight. law enforcement and the
intelligence community face a similar challenge. if we in the fbi failed to recognize how the world is changing, the consequences can be devastating. lives can be lost. our national security can be threatened, and the balance of power can tip toward our adversaries. terrorism, espionage, and cyber attacks are now the fbi's top priorities. terrorists, spies, and hackers are always thinking of new ways to harm us. today, i want to discuss how these threats are evolving and what to share with you what the fbi is doing to stay one step ahead to keep our nation safe, prosperous, and free. let's begin with the terrorist threat. during the past decade, we have weakened al qaeda, due to the coordinated efforts of our military, the intelligence community, law enforcement, and our international partners. we have captured or killed many al qaeda leaders and operatives,
including osama bin laden. we have shut down terrorist training camps, frozen their finances, disrupted their communications and, most importantly, we have uncovered dozens of cells and prevented terrorist attacks. yet, core al qaeda, operating out of pakistan, remains committed to high-profile attacks against the west. we confirmed this with records seized from osama bin laden's compaq after his death. we saw this with the plot to bomb the new york subway system in 2009. meanwhile, al qaeda affiliate's have emerged as significant threats. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula operating in yemen has attended several attacks on the united states, including the failed christmas day airline bombing in 2009 and the attempted bombing of u.s.-bound cargo planes in october 2010.
most recently, we have a growing concern about the threat from homegrown violent extremists. these individuals have no typical profile. their experiences and motives are often distinct, but they are increasingly savvy and willing to act alone, which makes them difficult to find and stop. in 2009, smadi was a 19-year-old jordanian citizen living in texas, and although he espoused loyal to -- loyalty to al qaeda and some of the modern, he was not affiliated with any groups that would become terrorists. he had become radicalized on his own on the internet. when he expressed clear interest in attacking a dallas skyscraper, the fbi used undercover agents to set up a sting, and three agents who spoke arabic began talking with
him, first online and later in prison. he believed he had found an al qaeda sleeper sell to assist him. after months of planning, he parked what he believed was a truck bomb underneath a skyscraper and dialed a cell phone number he sought would detonate the bomb. the bomb was a fake supplied by our undercover agents, and the call signaled the agents to make the arrest. last year, he was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. intelligence led us to him and the combined efforts of our federal, state, and local partners help us stop him before he could do any harm. in the face of this threat, we and the bureau will continue to enhance our intelligence capabilities to get the right information to the right people at the right time, and we will continue to build strong partnerships, for these tools have been the foundation for our
success against terrorism over the past 10 years. we must keep adapting to these changing terrorist threats to stay one step ahead of those who would do was harm, and we must do all of this while respecting the role of law and the safeguards guaranteed by the constitution -- stay one step ahead of those who would do us harm. let us turn from terrorists to spies. many people assume the end of the cold war made the world of cloak and dagger obsolete, but unfortunately, a spinoff is still very much with us. nations will always try to learn one another's secrets to gain political, military, or economic advantage. the bar of intelligence presence operating in the united states is roughly the same as it was during the cold war. we still confront traditional espionage, such as spies working under diplomatic cover, or even posing as ordinary citizens.
consider the arrest last year of 10 agents of the russian foreign intelligence service. many of you may have seen tv news stories and videos covering the techniques we use in our investigation. it did feature the stuff from a john le carre novel. apart from the more traditional types of espionage, today's spies are just as often students, researchers, business people, or operators of front companies. they seek not only state secrets, but trade secrets from corporations and universities, such as research and development, intellectual property, and insider information. consider the recent case of a naturalized u.s. citizen from india. for 18 years, he was an engineer
at no. 0 grumman, the defense contractor that built the stealth bomber, one of our nation's most important strategic assets -- an engineer at no. full grumman -- nor folk -- norfolk grumman. he sold highly classified information about the stealth technology to several nations, including china, and also made six covert trips to china to assist them in development of stealth technology for their cruise missiles. partnerships again were essential in finding and stopping him before he could further damage national security. together with the air force, u.s. customs, irs, and other agencies will build a strong case against him, and this past january, he was sentenced to 32 years in prison. foreign spies know that military superiority is merely one factor that determines the world's balance of power.
just as important is the kind of economic innovation we find here in the bay area. so it is no surprise that spies also target the most valuable secrets of american companies. as well as universities. they hope that stealing the fruits of american innovation will give their nation's a shortcut to economic pre- eminence. an example of the cost of this type of espionage -- a former scientist for two of america's largest agricultural companies pled guilty to charges that he sent trade secrets to his native china. he became a research leader in biotechnology and the development of organic pesticides. although he had signed non- disclosure agreements, he transferred stolen trade secrets from both companies to persons in germany and china, and his
criminal conduct cost millions of dollars. these two cases illustrate the growing scope of what we call the insider threat where employers use their legitimate access to steal secrets for the benefit of another company or another country. so much sensitive data is now stored on computer networks. our adversaries often find it as effective or even more effective to steal secrets through several conclusions -- cyber intrusions. foreign spies had increased their skill at infiltrating our computer networks and once inside, they can take government secrets as well as valuable intellectual property, information that can improve the competitive advantage of state- owned companies. earlier this month, the intelligence community issued a report to congress, stating that cyber-based economic espionage is increasingly pervasive, and
their report confirms that several nations are using cyber capabilities to collect sensitive american technology as well as economic secrets. while state-sponsored cyber espionage is a growing problem, it is but one aspect of the threat. the number and sophistication of computer intrusions have increased dramatically in recent years. american companies are using billions of dollars -- losing billions of dollars worth of intellectual property, research and development, as well as trade secrets. outside attackers of borrow and to company networks, remain undiscovered for months or even years. it is much like having termites in your house. often by the time you discover them, the damage is done. now, activist groups are pioneering their own forms of digital anarchy. in the bay area, you witnessed
their work firsthand when individuals have the bark website and released personal data of customers -- and individuals -- when individuals hacked the bart website. the anonymity of the internet makes it difficult to discern the identity, motives, and locations of an intruder, and a proliferation of portable devices that connect to the internet only increases the opportunity to steal vital information. we in the fbi cannot merely react to computer intrusions. hackers will seek to exploit every vulnerability, and we must be able to anticipate their moves. i share one example which he appeared in april, the fbi brought down an international network of fibers-infected
computers controlled remotely by an attacker. the bureau took control of 5 servers the hackers had used to effect some 200 computers with malware, which allowed them to steal personal and financial information by recording user keystrokes. we not only shut down the servers, we took another unprecedented step. with court approval, the fbi responded to signals sent from infected computers in the united states. we sent those computers a command that stopped teh malw -- stopped the malware. you will see the surveying today's threats is somewhat like peering into a kaleidoscope with even the slightest rotation presents new patterns of color and light and just when it seems you understand a threat, the world turns and the threat has changed. as tom friedman has described in
his book, "the world is flat," advances in technology, travel, commerce, communication, and broken down barriers between nations and individuals, globalization has had a flattening effect, leveling the playing field for all of us. this hyper connectivity is in powering engaging people around the world, both friend and foe alike. how do we stay ahead of terrorists, spies, and hackers? intelligence will continue to drive our investigations. we must ask ourselves -- what do we know about these threats? what are the gaps in our intelligence? what human sources can we develop to cultivate to fill these gaps? each of us, government leaders and everyday citizens alike, must ask ourselves what vulnerabilities we may have overlooked. we must also place even greater emphasis on partnerships and
information sharing. no single agency, no single company, no single nation can defeat these complex global threats alone. in these days of tight budgets, working together is essential. it is the only way to work. finally, we need the right tools to address shifting threats. for example, the foreign language skills and advanced cyber capabilities we used. another critical tool is the fbi's ability to accept electronic communications. many social networking conduit's, in contrast to traditional communications carriers, are not able now to produce the electronic communications we seek in response to a court order. when investigators cannot collect communications pursuant to a court order in near real- time, they may not be able to act quickly enough to disrupt threats to protect public
safety. laws covering this area have not been updated since 1994, a lifetime ago in the internet age. we are working with congress, the courts, our law enforcement partners and the private sector to ensure that our ability to intercept communications is not eroded by advances in technology. one last but very important point -- the fbi has always adapted to meet new threats. we must continue to evolve because terrorists, spies, and hackers certainly will, but our values can nev change. regardless of emerging threats, the impact of globalization or changing technology, the rule of law will remain the fbi's guiding principle. in the end, we know we will be judged not only by our ability to keep americans safe but also by what we safeguard the
liberties for which we are fighting and maintain the trust of the american people. yes, our adversaries are persistent. they are clever. the pressures of globalization and technology are ever-present. change is a constant in today's world and we must prepare for it. yet, change is just one constant. the other is the american people's resolve. the same resolve drives the fbi every day, and together, we can and we will keep our country say from harm. thank you again for having me here today. i certainly will be happy to answer whatever questions you might have. [applause] >> thanks to director muller. i direct the stanford center for
international security and cooperation and i am a professor at stanford law school, and i am on it to be your to moderate our question and answer session. i am also very glad that i am not the one to have to answer the questions. director, i wonder if we could start with a pair of questions about 9/11. there were many questions from the audience about 9/11, and i will just pair these two together. "on the day itself, as you recall what you and your team went through, what did you learn about the fbi that you did not know before?" the second part is much more of a retrospective, asking, "looking back now, how do the at buy it -- fbi and cia relate to each other differently than before?" >> i had started, as mason pointed out, the week before. i could barely find my office on september 11. but the fbi has a history of
over 100 years, and it kicked in, as it always does in a disaster such as you saw on september 11, and i was along for the right, but they did a phenomenal job. the deputy ran the show. we were up and running within minutes, certainly hours of what happened on the morning of september 11. the operation, even though it was the most extensive in the history of the bureau, ran exceptionally smoothly. the key point came -- i did get a call from the president that day, as i recall, saying, "we cannot let this happen again." perhaps the most formative moment cave -- came days later when i was briefing the president for one of the first times and i started off the briefing by saying we have set up command centers at the
pentagon and in new york and we were tracking the individuals who were responsible for this. we had identified a number by the seats on the plates and i was about two minutes in and the president stopped me and said, "what you are telling me is what i expect the bureau to do. that is investigate after the fact. you have been doing it for 100 years. i expect you to accomplish that. what i want to know today is what you and the fbi are doing to prevent the next terror attacks. for us in the bureau who are used to being reactive and doing cases, myself as a prosecutor is used to getting a case, prosecuting, and putting people away. the mission to prevent a terrorist attack was something new, which gave rise to the development of an intelligence capacity, breaking down of the walls between ourselves and cia, nsa, and the intelligence community, but i think always in the back of our mind, everyone at the bureau knew we could not let this happen