Entries in Robert Mueller (3)


FBI Investigates Media Leaks in Yemen Bomb Plot

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI director Robert S. Mueller III Wednesday disclosed that the FBI is investigating leaks to the news media about the recently disrupted plot by al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate to smuggle a bomb designed to be concealed in underwear onto a U.S.-bound jet.

A day after the plot was first reported, it was revealed that the individual at the center of the plot was a double agent working for Britain’s MI-6 secret intelligence service and the CIA along with Saudi Arabian intelligence assets.

“We have initiated an investigation into this leak,” Mueller testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.  “Leaks such as this threaten ongoing operations, puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources, and damages our relationships with our foreign partners.”

“Leaks such as this have a -- I don’t want to overuse the word ‘devastating’ -- but have a huge impact on our ability to do our business, not just on a particular source and the threat to the particular source, but your ability to recruit sources is severely hampered,” Mueller said, describing the implications of the leak of sensitive national security information.

Mueller continued, “In cases such as this, your -- the relationship with your counterparts overseas are damaged [sic] which means that an inhibition in the willingness of others to share information with us where they don’t think that information will remain secure.  So it also has some long-term effects, which is why it is so important to make certain that the persons who are responsible for the leak are brought to justice.”

The investigation is likely being run by the Justice Department’s counterespionage section and agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Justice Department officials and an FBI spokesman declined to comment on the nature of the investigation. The CIA also declined comment.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is also conducting a review with the DNI’s general counsel to see if the leaks originated in any of the 16 agencies that DNI director James Clapper oversees.

Earlier in the day Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, addressed the issue of media leaks relating to the plot and called it “devastating.”

“Leaks do endanger people’s lives...that is not an exaggeration,” Olsen said, speaking before the American Bar Association’s standing Committee on Law and National Security, in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Muslim Training Material ‘Inappropriate’ and ‘Offensive’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(QUANTICO, Va.) -- Controversial training material about Islam provided to a small pool of FBI agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. were inappropriate and offensive, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Thursday.

The briefing documents, first revealed by Wired’s Danger Room blog, emphasized that mainstream Muslims are violent, and included a graphic that shows that Muslims who are, “Pious and Devout” have tended to be more violent historically than Christians or Jews.  The briefing slides noted, “Jihad is motivated by the strategic themes and drivers in Islam,” while another described the prophet Mohammad as a “Cult Leader.”

The FBI has previously said that the use of such training materials was quickly halted.  But Mueller expressed his concern about the training materials Thursday, appearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Questioned by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., about the training materials, Mueller said, “I think that’s a very valid concern.  And as I have pointed out, I think this is an unusual, very unusual occasion.  And this particular instance the individual who gave the training -- reports of what had been in that training came to -- came up from the students and we took action to assure that that inappropriate, offensive content was not provided to others."

“I think these are isolated incidents, and in the course of that review we’ve had outreach to academicians and others to assist us in reviewing the materials and assuring that that offensive -- that offensive content does not appear,” Mueller said.  “We have 34,000 employees and we do a great deal of training.  We understand the sensitivity and the importance of assuring that that training that we give to our persons are appropriate...I  believe these were unusual circumstances, but we are doing everything we can to do a top-to-bottom review of that training to assure we eliminate any of it.”

Mueller said that the FBI needed diverse training for FBI agents to identify future threats.

“It should not be based on religion; it should not be based on religious characteristics.  But, nonetheless, we have an obligation to identify those particular characteristics that might give us a warning as to a person who will undertake an attack against the United States," he said.

“It’s not necessarily the international terrorism side alone,” Mueller said of the range of threats the FBI faces.  “We have militants within the United States...and there’s a certain amount of investigation that has to be done to enable us to identify those persons who would undertake the attacks against the United States.  But we want to assure, and I assure you that we want to do it in such a way that is consistent with our values."

“Our outreach over the years has been very successful, I think, in bridging the relationships with the Muslim-American community.  And this is, I think something that’s unfortunate, and we’ve addressed it,” Mueller said in defense of the FBI’s outreach to Muslim-Americans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Directors Warns of Al Qaeda Operatives in US

Photo Courtesy - Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a new warning Thursday about the threat of terror in the country, saying that dozens of sleeper agents -- al Qaeda operatives from Iraq -- may be living in the U.S.

Speaking before a House intelligence committee, Mueller said, "we are closely monitoring threats from al Qaeda in Iraq.  Individuals who may have been resettled here in the United States that have had some association with al Qaeda in Iraq."

On Wednesday, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, also raised concerns about the same emerging threat.

"We are concerned that al Qaeda in Iraq remains committed to conducting external operations, to include the U.S. Homeland," said Leiter.

A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that intelligence developed in Iraq and a study of travel patterns from that country points to "dozens" of persons of interest in the United States.  An intelligence source said investigations and surveillance of some individuals are now underway. 

Mueller's concerns came a day after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that this may be the most dangerous time since 9/11.

"In some ways, the threat today may be at its most heightened state since the attacks nearly 10 years ago," Napolitano said Wednesday.

Authorities point to threats from homegrown radicals fueled by the Internet and threats from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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