Prior to FBI Director Robert Mueller's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Patrick Leahy gave opening remarks in which he discussed the importance of oversight of the FBI and areas in which the Congress can work to help the FBI.

Oversight is one of Congress's most important responsibilities, and one that this Committee will continue to fulfill, Leahy said.

He said oversight was important to ensure the FBI carries out its responsibilities while maintaining the freedoms and values that define us as Americans.

During this hearing, Leahy added, we will discuss the good and the bad: How the FBI worked to clear the backlog in name checks for immigration and voting purposes; how the FBI has improved its crime lab testing; and how problems remain.

Leahy also noted that there were many issues that the Congress would have to work with the FBI on, including mortgage fraud cases.

These cases are straining the FBI's resources, Leahy said, noting that the number of mortgage fraud cases the FBI is handling has more than doubled in the past three years.

Meuller, in his testimony, confirmed that the fraud cases were straining the FBI's resources.

Indeed, Meuller said, we have had to shift resources from other criminal programs to address the current financial crisis.

According to Meuller, the FBI is currently investigating 2,500 pending public corruption cases, up over 50 percent since 2003.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com