Thursday, September 17, 2009

FBI Director Mueller, and remember Special Agent Sang Jun

Director Mueller gave a briefing to Congress yesterday that you can read here.

Director Mueller briefs Congress

Mueller outlined the work and challenges of the FBI in the areas of:


Counter Intelligence,

Cyber Attacks (including the National Investigative Joint Task Force)

White Collar (including Public Corruption, Mortgage Fraud, Health Care Fraud, Corporate Fraud)

Violent Crime (including Criminal Gangs, Border Violence, and Crimes Against Children)

If you aren't familiar with the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, there's a pretty decent article describing it from Internet Business Law Services. As they point out, the NCIJTF was in a line item in the DOJ 2009 budget that read like this, although we can't tell how much of it was for the NCIJTF alone:

15. Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative
The FBI requests 211 positions (35 Agents and 113 Intelligence Analysts) and $38,648,000 in personnel and non-personnel funding in support of investigative, intelligence, and technical requirements of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. Included in this request are resources for counterintelligence/computer intrusions investigatory requirements, National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) infrastructure requirements, cyber training, intelligence/information sharing and analysis resource requirements, equipment funding for the continued operations and maintenance costs of its Consolidated Collection CALEA Cell Site Server and Carrier Records Digital Interfacing efforts. FY 2009 Current Services for this program are 89 positions (33 agents), 89 FTE, and $36,000,000.

There's also an interesting chart from the White House showing How the NCIJTF links to other Federal Cyber Centers. Despite that chart, the NCIJTF is a real item and moving forward. The FY10 Intelligence Appropriations bill authorizes a greater involvement in the JTF from the Intelligence community, and I believe this year we will see even greater accomplishments, although its possible we'll never learn about their best work, as is true in so much of the activities of the FBI and others as they defend our nation from attack.

Fallen Agents

At the end of Mueller's remarks, he shared the fact that since his last annual address to Congress, the FBI lost three agents, and he asked that they be remembered:

Special Agent Sam Hicks, "a decorated Baltimore police officer who was part of the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force";

Special Agent Sang Jun, "a top-notch cyber agent who served in the El Paso Division";

Special Agent Paul Sorce, "a lifelong street agent who worked on the Detroit Violent Crimes Task Force"


I wanted to mention Sang Jun, because he actually re-arrested my very first cyber-criminal, Robert Lyttle, when he got out the first time and hacked NASA, which gave me a tiny connection to him.

Here's a picture of Sang Jun (right) with Sung-ki Lim, who also went "from geek to g-man":

Sang Jun was a cybercrimes agent who was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005, along with his co-worker Sung-ki Lim, about his new job working in cyberterrorism investigations. At the time, Jun said he took a 25% cut in pay to walk away from a great computer job to join the FBI.

In that interview, it describes his decision making process like this (which I've added and re-ordered slightly):

Jun took a somewhat different route. A high school teacher persuaded him to join the computer club, and he took an advanced Pascal class "and fell in love with it."

In 1994, he graduated from Jacksonville University in his native Florida with a degree in computer science. He worked for three years as a systems analyst with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, then for a year in a similar job at Merrill Lynch. He then joined consulting giant Capgemini, traveling to many Fortune 500 firms.

During that time, he applied to the FBI, but ultimately rejected a job because the salary couldn't compete. He jumped from Capgemini to Andersen Consulting and kept up his glamorous high-flying career.

Until Sept. 11. "That hit me," he said. "I did a lot of traveling on the airlines. I said, 'That could have been me. I want to do something. I want to contribute.' "

He called the FBI again and was hired in 2003.

Both men loved the training. Jun dropped 35 pounds just getting in shape for the training.

Now that they're full-fledged special agents, they can't talk much about their jobs. In Jun's time on the computer intrusions squad, he helped bring down the "Deceptive Duo," a case in which Robert Lyttle, 21, of Pleasant Hill pleaded guilty in March to hacking into computer systems at NASA Ames Research Center and other government sites.

Now Jun works on cyberterrorism, which is the FBI computer unit's top priority. Although cyberterrorism can be defined in many ways, the FBI is particularly concerned with terrorists who might use computer systems to compromise real world infrastructure, such as dams or the power grid.

Much of Jun's work in that arena is pro-active, meaning it involves securing those systems before an attack, rather than waiting until they've been hit.

Now, as a special agent assigned to combating cyberterrorism, Jun said, "You can't beat this. There, I was making a difference on a small scale. Here, I'm protecting the country. ... At the end of the day, all in all, I feel like I accomplished something."

Citizens like Sang Jun deserve our highest respect, and should challenge us to ask ourselves what we are doing to protect the country we love. When Jun thought about September 11th, he walked away from his ten years in a comfortable job at Accenture/Anderson to serve our country in a greater mission. How will you help your country?

Sang died in El Paso on October 22, 2008. His friends and family made a memorial page for him. His best friend, Mel, remembers teasing him about driving to Quantico in his convertible BMW. His sister remembers playing together at their home in Korea and the long plane ride to the US when they were children, and his other sister says because of his inspiration she finished college.

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