FBI Director Robert Mueller, in town Wednesday to visit the employees of the Salt Lake City Division, said he would expect most of the American public would view such a person as someone who belongs behind bars.
Jeffs, president and prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is wanted on sex crime charges in Utah and Arizona for his alleged role in arranging marriages of under-age girls to older men. On May 6, the FBI placed him on its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
“Always in a situation like this, it takes time,” Mueller said during a news conference with Utah news media. “My expectation is, we will catch him. He is a fugitive . . . and an important fugitive, which is why he’s on the 10 most wanted list.”
During his remarks to the media, Mueller also touched on a couple of Utah-connected cases.
Mueller commented on the case of late journalist Jack Anderson, whose files the FBI wants to search. The FBI chief said the agency had information that classified documents relating to national security were among the papers.
Mueller said the FBI’s sole interest has been “to identify what those documents might be before they’re publicized to determine whether or not there would be an adverse impact on national security if they were made public.”
When asked about the claims of a Salt Lake City attorney who said the FBI wants to conceal its failure to stop the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Mueller said, “That’s been thoroughly investigated, and in my mind put to rest.”
The FBI head also praised the Salt Lake City Division, which covers the states of Utah, Idaho and Montana, for its work in the Innocent Images National Initiative, a program to combat child pornography and child sexual exploitation on the Internet.
“This division has consistently lead the country in arrests and convictions of individuals who prey on children via the Internet, as well as those who trade in child pornography,” Mueller said.
Many of the questions thrown at Mueller regarded Jeffs.
The publicity generated by the most wanted list often leads very quickly – and sometimes not as quickly – to an arrest, Mueller said. There have been persons on the list for 24 hours, others for 10 years, he said.
The FBI is using all resources to try to find him in addition to the resources of the rest of federal government and state and local law enforcement, the FBI director said.
“We are looking for Mr. Jeffs on a nationwide basis,” Mueller said. “Identifying, locating and arresting those who are predators, child predators, is among the top priorities of the bureau.”
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