When Robert S. Mueller III began his tenure leading the Federal Bureau of Investigations in September 2001, he did not know that within that first week his world – and the entire world – would be forever changed.

At a Thomson Reuters-hosted event at LegalTech New York last evening, the former director of the FBI described the evolution of the Bureau amid the continuing threats facing the United States.

Mueller described how the 9/11 tragedy, which occurred just blocks from where we gathered at the Thomson Reuters offices in 3 Times Square, changed the FBI forever.

The historic transformation that modernized the FBI under the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, guided by Mueller, reversed the course of the FBI from an investigator of crimes to a proactive organization which uses all legal means to anticipate and alter the course of terrorism, whether that threat is physical or cyber.

Mueller3Mueller shared his belief that security cannot be underestimated and should not be under-budgeted as the threats are both real and continuing. Since 2001, the number of FBI agents dedicated to counterterrorism has more than doubled and accounts for more than a quarter of all work done by field agents.

As we move forward in our technology-driven lives, the security threats continue to be physical but will also be much more cyber-driven. And cyber threats – whether to our privacy, our personal well being or to businesses – have the potential to be devastating.

Photo credit: Keith Bedford




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