FBI director warns of threats to U.S. economy
Date: October 17, 2003
Detroit — FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday said the U.S. economy is threatened by terrorism, corporate crime, Internet attacks and organized crime.
“It is no longer possible to separate our country's economic well-being from national security,” Mr. Mueller told a luncheon crowd at the Detroit Economic Club.
Mr. Mueller, who was appointed a week before the Sept. 11 attacks, said terrorists want to destroy the United States by disrupting its economy. He said the FBI's mission has expanded from domestic crime fighting to more global crimes.
“Our global presence has created a world of targets,” he said.
He said the FBI requires more cooperation now with not only the CIA, but with foreign intelligence agencies.
In addition to terrorism, Mr. Mueller pointed out that organized crime is conducted by U.S. and foreign criminals.
“Organized crime has diversified into telecommunications fraud, stock manipulation and cyber crimes,” Mr. Mueller said. “Criminal enterprises from countries like China, Japan, Hungary and Russia are in the United States siphoning billions of dollars from companies.”
And Mr. Mueller mentioned how Internet attacks, such as last year's “Love Bug” virus, had caused between $8-billion and $10-billion in damages worldwide.
Mr. Mueller also referenced corporate crimes, including the WorldCom collapse, as the most “insidious” threat to the economy.
To address these threats, Mr. Mueller said the FBI is improving its technology, recruiting more computer “wizards” and adding former intelligence agents to its staff.
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