U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently delivered the following statement at a subcommittee hearing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s budget request for fiscal year 2014:
“Thank you, Madame Chair.
“Director Mueller, thank you for joining us today to discuss the FBI’s 2014 budget request.
“I want to begin by thanking the men and women of the FBI who work every day to protect this Nation. We are all indebted to them for the sacrifices they make.
“Since the attacks of September 11th, the FBI has been tasked with additional national security responsibilities. Today, the FBI’s mission includes protecting the United States against acts of terror, foreign intelligence threats and cyber-crime while simultaneously maintaining focus on traditional criminal activities such as violent crime, public corruption, and white-collar crime.
“Criminals and terrorists are increasingly agile and sophisticated. The same is required of the FBI.
“The constantly changing landscape of criminal activity at home and abroad has challenged the Bureau’s ability to quickly respond to emerging threats. In recent years we have seen threats arise in the areas of home mortgages, financial fraud, cyber-security and, of course, terrorism. But it won’t stop there. I believe that new, unimagined threats will challenge the FBI in the future.
“To remain effective, it is imperative that the Bureau have the inherent capability to retool and refocus to address nascent threats. Without a plan to address these threats, the FBI will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.
“In the past, the Bureau has received additional resources from Congress precisely because it has not been agile enough to refocus its efforts internally. This is not an effective way to address such pressing issues.
“The FBI request for 2014 is $8.3 billion. Director Mueller, while the budget request targets a number of new initiatives and maintains core missions, it lacks any focus on how the Bureau will address future, unexpected threats that I just mentioned.
“Recognizing the world in which we live and the tough fiscal climate, I am concerned that the budget priorities reflected in this request do not ensure that the Bureau is efficient, effective and, more importantly, nimble for the foreseeable future.
“I am committed to working with you and the Chair to address, what I believe are deficiencies in the budget and to target limited resources in a manner that safeguards taxpayer dollars while preserving public safety.
“I look forward to hearing from you, Director Mueller, about the Bureau’s budget and its priorities. I am also interested in hearing about the FBI’s work both pre- and post- the Boston bombing.
“Finally, the recent acknowledgement by the Department of Justice that they have obtained the telephone records of Associated Press journalists has many of us concerned. While I appreciate this is an ongoing investigation, I hope that you will be as forthcoming as is possible in addressing the issue here today.
“Thank you Madame Chair.”