The Norman Transcript

October 12, 2012

Former FBI director speaks

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Military Officers Association of America in Norman had a special guest speaker during their monthly meeting Thursday night.

John Otto Sr., former acting director of the FBI, spoke about several things the FBI is doing in conjunction with the Department of Defense. Otto said many of the actions the FBI is doing now, they would have been prosecuted for while he was working there.

“It was totally constrained,” Otto said. “(The FBI) had no authority to operate outside of the United States.”

There are four main aspects to the partnership.

First, tactical forces include going into combat, following military forces, immediately interviewing any prisoners, collecting and searching for evidence and sending it back to the Department of Defense. Otto said this has helped the war on terrorism and America’s defense efforts and helps give the element of surprise.

“We did none of this,” Otto said, of when he was working for the FBI. “What a help.”

Second, FBI and military collaborate on explosives training. One of the main problems in explosives are roadside bombs. To help with this, FBI members work on-site trying to identify and detect explosives in advance, he said.

“So many arms and legs and lives that have been given to these things,” Otto said. “They are a huge problem.”

Third, the FBI is now handling all threats in the U.S. regarding weapons of mass destruction. This includes chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weaponry. The FBI is responsible for response, mitigation and disarming of any weapon of mass destruction.

Fourth is transportation. Otto said the FBI has received critical support from the military when necessary.

He cited the best example as a San Juan field office’s executing the largest single takedown in FBI history in 2010.

“Over 1,000 FBI personnel, including the entire FBI hostage rescue team and 35 separate FBI SWAT teams, were deployed to Puerto Rico to arrest over 130 subjects, the majority of which were law enforcement officers,” Otto said.

The FBI was allowed to receive the assistance because of the drug connection with the takedown he said.

About Otto: He joined the service as an FBI Special Agent in 1964 and served in Newark, Dallas, Portland and FBI headquarters. He became the acting director of the FBI in 1987. His son, John Otto Jr., attended school at OU and currently has a veterinarian practice in Norman.

About the Military Officers Association of America: MOAA is a group of military officers who meet on a monthly basis to help represent the interests of military officers. There are more than 370,000 members nationwide, including active duty, retired, former officers and their families. For more information, visit www.moaa.org.

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