Excerpts from Congressional Testimony of FBI Director Louis Freeh ================================================================== Before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime March 30, 1995 Another issue looms on the horizon that ultimately could be as devastating to the fight against drugs by law enforcement as any other factor. If lost, the effect will be so profound that I believe law enforcement will be unable to recover. In 1968, Congress passed legislation giving law enforcement the court-authorized wiretap. It has become a technique crucial to the fight against drugs, terrorism, kidnapping and sophisticated white-collar crime. The ability to conduct court- authorized electronic surveillance is fundamental to our ability to protect both public safety and national security. Last year, after careful deliberation, Congress passed legislation to ensure continuing access to criminal conversations in the face of the incredible advance of telecommunications technology. Had Congress not done so, we would have lost the ability to access, pursuant to court order, criminal conversations. All that remains on the access issue is funding consistent with the authorization to ensure carrier compliance. I have been advised that the Administration will soon be sending legislation to address this funding issue. Even though access is all but assured, an even more difficult problem with court-authorized wiretaps looms. Powerful encryption is becoming commonplace. The drug cartels are buying sophisticated communications equipment. Unless the issue of encryption is resolved soon, criminal conversations over the telephone and other communications devices will become indecipherable by law enforcement. This, as much as any issue, jeopardizes the public safety and national security of this country. Drug cartels, terrorists, and kidnappers will use telephones and other communications media with impunity knowing that their conversations are immune from our most valued investigative technique. This is an extremely difficult issue. We are working hard to address adequately the important law enforcement, national security, commercial, and privacy concerns associated with this matter. I anticipate that as we proceed with solving this issue, we will be consulting with Congress. ================================================================== Before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on International Terrorism April 6, 1995 ... An even more difficult problem with respect to counterterrorism fighting has to do with encryption. Powerful drug cartels as well as terrorist organizations are aware of the hiding and concealing power of strong encryption and are making headway to develop that technology to defeat counterterrorism investigations. This will be an increasing technology problem, which we know the Congress is eager to take up. ================================================================== Before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism April 27, 1995 ... Just as important and perhaps more frightening and more destructive is terrorists communicating over the Internet in encrypted conversations, for which we will have no available means to read and understand unless that encryption problem is dealt with immediately. ================================================================== Before House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime May 3, 1995 With respect to the authorities that we have, as we testified in the Senate last week, the FBI is very comfortable with the attorney general guidelines. I feel very confident that, interpreted broadly, and certainly within the Constitution, those guidelines give me and my agents the authority we need to investigate and prevent, in many cases, what would be clear violations of criminal law and clear terrorist activity within the United States ... We need the authority to trace money, explosives, nuclear materials and terrorists. Pen registers and trap-and-trace devices are necessary in counterterrorism as well as counterintelligence cases. The threshold ought to be the same in a criminal case as in a terrorism case. It's critical that investigators have increased access, short of a full-blown grand jury investigation, to hotel, motel and common-carrier records. ... Encryption capabilities available to criminals and terrorists, both now and in days to come, must be dealt with promptly. We will not have an effective counterterrorism strategy if we do not solve the problem of encryption. It's not a problem unique, by the way, to terrorists. It's one which addresses itself to drug dealers and cartels and criminals at large. There are now no legally available means in some dangerously few cases to exclude and remove alien terrorists from the United States. Again, that's an issue that this committee has already taken up. These are tools. These are not new authorities. These are tools with which to use our current statutory authority, all, in my view, well within the Constitution. And the addition of those resources, which are people and technologies, will give us the ability to deal with these cases as well as prepare for and prevent other incidents such as the one we've seen recently.