Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

USA: Louis J. Freeh (FBI) on Crypto

7 February 1999 Source:

Jump to comments on encryption.

The Threat to the United States Posed by Terrorists

Statement for the Record of Louis J. Freeh, Director Federal Bureau of Investigation

Before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies

February 4, 1999

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to have this opportunity to join Attorney General Reno and Secretary of State Albright in discussing the threat to the United States posed by terrorists both abroad and at home.


Most encryption products manufactured today for use by the general public are non-recoverable. This means they do not include features that provide for timely law enforcement access to the plain text of encrypted communications and computer files that are lawfully seized. Law enforcement remains in unanimous agreement that the continued widespread availability and increasing use of strong, non-recoverable encryption products will soon nullify our effective use of court authorized electronic surveillance and the execution of lawful search and seizure warrants. The loss of these capabilities will devastate our capabilities for fighting crime, preventing acts of terrorism, and protecting the national security. Recently, discussions with industry have indicated a willingness to work with law enforcement in meeting our concerns and assisting in developing a law enforcement counterencryption capability. I strongly urge the Congress to adopt a balanced public policy on encryption, one that carefully balances the legitimate needs of law enforcement to protect our Nation's citizens and preserve the national security with the needs of individuals.

The demand for accessing, examining, and analyzing computers and computer storage media for evidentiary purposes is becoming increasingly critical to our ability to investigate terrorism, child pornography, computer-facilitated crimes, and other cases. In the past, the Subcommittee has supported FBI efforts to establish a data forensics capability through our Computer Analysis Response Teams. There is a need to further expand this capability to address a growing workload. Indeed, our limited capability has created a backlog that impacts on both investigations and prosecutions. For 2000, the FBI is requesting 20 positions and $13,835,000 for our cryptanalysis and network data interception programs and 79 positions and $9,861,000 to expand our Computer Analysis Response Team capabilities.