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Louis J. Freeh

What Happened Next . . .

On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists, all members of al Qaeda, a terrorist organization based in Afghanistan, hijacked four fully fueled U.S. airliners. Two were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the fourth, presumably heading for Washington, D.C., crashed in Pennsylvania. A total of 3,047 people died and the issue of national security immediately went to the "front burner" as the nation's number one priority.

Cooperation between law enforcement agencies, private businesses, and Americans in general became crucial. Just as Freeh predicted, computers had become vital to terrorists and criminals as communication and planning tools. Computer systems themselves became the target of criminal activity when terrorists made efforts to disrupt key communication networks, or extract sensitive information from company or military files. Since cyber crimes are carried out over worldwide computer linkages, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies had to work together, ignoring traditional jurisdictional boundaries.

In 2004 the FBI and Computer Criminal Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), both within the U.S. Department of Justice, were the lead law enforcement agencies dealing with cyber crime. The FBI Investigative Programs, Cyber Investigations Unit has the responsibility of protecting the nation from cyber crime, from both terrorist activities and cyber criminals such as sexual predators or those stealing from U.S. businesses. All information about terrorist threats goes to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) in Northern Virginia. Representatives of all U.S. counterterrorist agencies work together at the TTIC.

The CCIPS employs a team of about forty lawyers to prosecute cyber criminal cases. CCIPS also oversees the National Cybercrime Training Partnership (NCTP) that provides education to local state and federal agencies in the latest law enforcement techniques for fighting cyber crime.

There are forty-nine FBI Legal Attachéor Legats offices in the world. The FBI special agents assigned to Legats work side by side with other countries to prevent terrorism.

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