November 1, 2001

Mayors Back Bipartisan Legislation on FBI Information Sharing with Local Officials

Washington, DC -- The nation's mayors have endorsed bi-partisan legislation to be filed today that would enable the F.B.I. and other federal agencies to share more information and intelligence about terrorism with local officials and local law enforcement.

"America is under attack, and our nation's police forces must be fully integrated into our national homeland defense effort," said New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in a letter sent to all Senators today. "Mayors and local law enforcement must have access to the best intelligence information available to do the best possible job of ensuring safety and security in America's cities."

Recently enacted anti-terrorism legislation allows federal authorities to share confidential information from sources such as wiretaps and grand juries with other federal agents. The newly proposed bill would permit federal officials to share that information with state and local police as well.

Mayors have been calling for more cooperation between federal and local law enforcement since the September 11 attack. During the recent Mayors Emergency, Safety and Security Summit in Washington, many of the nearly 100 participating mayors expressed concern regarding the lack of intelligence sharing by the federal government with mayors and the nation's 650,000 local law enforcement professionals. Mayors raised the issue in a public meeting with Gov. Tom Ridge and in private and public meetings with FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The Conference of Mayors' Federal-Local Law Enforcement Task Force, led by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Gary Mayor Scott King, and Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin, developed detailed recommendations for a new protocol governing the coordination of federal and local law enforcement, including the provision of more detailed intelligence to local officials.

The new legislation was to be filed by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the Committee's ranking Republican member; and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766
Lina Garcia (202) 861-6719


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors