Home News Testimony Chicago Division Counterterrorism Initiatives
  • Patrick J. Daly
  • Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Washington, DC
  • July 02, 2002

Good morning Chairman Horn and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the FBI's efforts within the Northern Illinois region to work with our law enforcement and first responder partners in addressing the threats of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), specifically chemical, biological or nuclear threats.

Introduction

The mission of the FBI's counterterrorism program is to detect, deter, prevent, and swiftly respond to terrorist actions that threaten the United States national interests at home or abroad, and to coordinate those efforts with local, state, federal, and foreign entities as appropriate. The counterterrorism responsibilities of the FBI include the investigation of domestic and international terrorism, both of which represent threats within the borders of the United States. In reaction to these threats, Director Robert S. Mueller, III, recently identified the first priority of the FBI as protecting the United States from terrorist attack.

Presidential Decision Directives (PDD) 39, 62, and 63 define the FBI's role of crisis management, investigation, and intelligence support for terrorism prevention in the coverage of National Special Security Events (NSSE), and in response to an actual terrorism event. At the federal level, the FBI's lead crisis management and investigative responsibilities exist in a partnership alongside FEMA's consequence management role for response to a WMD attack. PPD 62 creates a three-way partnership in connection with NSSEs, adding the United States Secret Service (USSS) role of security management.

The FBI nationally, and the Chicago Division locally, have developed an enhanced capacity to detect, prevent, and respond to acts of terrorism. This has been accomplished by increasing the number of FBI and task force personnel dedicated to the FBI's Counterterrorism Program; the establishment of partnerships with law enforcement, first responders, and the public health communities to combat WMD threats; and improved information sharing with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as with the private sector.

There are 56 Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) established. One in every FBI field division around the nation. The JTTF represents a most effective tool for the prevention and swift response to terrorist incidents in that it combines the national and international resources of the FBI and other member federal agencies, along with territorial expertise of the local, county and state law enforcement agencies. The cooperative efforts of the JTTFs have resulted in vital information sharing, crucial to successful terrorism investigations as well as the avoidance of duplication of investigative efforts by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The New York Division formed the first JTTF in 1980 and Chicago soon followed in 1981. The Department of Justice is working with the FBI to ensure that the JTTFs coordinate their efforts with the recently formed United States Attorneys' Anti-Terrorism Task Forces, especially in the areas of information sharing and training.

The Chicago Division of the FBI

The Chicago Division covers the northern portion of the State of Illinois, which is the nation's fifth largest state, with 12.4 million inhabitants (2000 figures). Illinois covers 56,400 square miles and is the 24th largest state. The state has 102 counties, 18 of which are covered by the Chicago Division. More than 71 % of the state's population resides in the Chicago Division territory. The City of Chicago, with roughly 2.9 million inhabitants, is the state's largest city and the third largest in the country. Almost an additional eight million people reside in the Chicago metropolitan area. There are 358 local police departments in the Chicago Division's territory. The other federal law enforcement agencies have a significant representation in the Chicago area.

The Chicago Division's headquarters office is located in City of Chicago. There are resident agencies (RAs) in Rolling Meadows, Tinley Park, Lisle, and Rockford, Illinois. There are approximately 434 Special Agents assigned to the Division, and the professional support staff complement is 282.

Counterterrorism Preparedness

Counterterrorism Preparedness includes the use of field and table top exercises, testing the capabilities of the agencies who would respond to an attack involving chemical, biological, or nuclear agents. These exercises have proved valuable to the Chicago Division, not only for assessing the FBI's ability to respond to a WMD event, but also providing all other responders with an accurate view of their own abilities, as well as a means for agency responders to get to know each another and improve coordination.

The Chicago Division has had an extremely active WMD Program and has placed an emphasis on strong liaison with state and local agencies involved in response to WMD. Chicago participated in several working groups and task forces consisting of local, state, and federal agencies, to include: The Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Chicago Fire Department, the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), the Illinois National Guard, the Illinois State Police Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspector. Private academic and research facilities, such as the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute were also represented. Through this liaison, the Chicago FBI was able to collect information regarding potential threats and quickly respond when appropriate. Chicago maintained one of eight regional enhanced Hazardous Materials Response Teams (HMRTs) attached to the Chicago FBI's Evidence Response Tem (ERT). The HMRT has received extensive training in responding to a potential WMD incident and regularly trained with other HAZMAT teams in the Chicago area. The ERT HMRT is composed of FBI Special Agents trained to gather evidence in a crime scene, contaminated by either biological or chemical materials, utilizing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) up to Level A. The cross-trained bomb technicians wear both PPE and a bomb suit, and they are able to "render safe" an explosive device designed to disperse chemical or biological materials.

Counterterrorism Preparedness issues were addressed for various special events that occurred in Northern Illinois. These events included the annual Jewish Federation Conference, which then Prime Minister Barak and current Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attended, and the National Abortion Federation Annual Conference.

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis alliance between government and the private sector that provides formal and informal channels for the exchange of information about infrastructure threats and vulnerabilities. The FBI started the alliance as a pilot project in 1996, and the Chicago Division initiated an InfraGard chapter in 2000. The members conduct regular meetings to discuss awareness of computer issues and operate an anti-intrusion system. Additionally, in conjunction with InfraGard, the Chicago Division participated in a terrorism threat assessment team consisting of representatives from the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and the Illinois State Police. This threat assessment team identified key infrastructure components throughout the City of Chicago. Information pertinent to the specific venue, i.e., ingress, egress, utility information, key personnel, storage of hazardous material, and other information vital to first responder safety, was obtained and entered into a database at the City of Chicago Emergency Communications Center. In the event of a terrorist incident or threat, this information can be retrieved by the first responder.

The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) was created in 1998. The NIPC is an interagency center that serves as the focal point for the government's effort to warn of and respond to cyber intrusions, both domestic and international. Through a 24-hour watch and other initiatives, the NIPC has developed processes to ensure that it receives information in real-time or near real-time from relevant sources, including the United States intelligence community, FBI criminal investigations, other federal agencies, the private sector, emerging intrusion detection systems, and open sources. This information is quickly evaluated to determine if a broad-scale attack is imminent or underway.

Because warning is critical to the prevention of terrorist acts, the FBI also uses the expanded National Threat Warning System (NTWS). Information is received via secure teletype through this system. The messages are transmitted to all FBI field offices and legal attaches. If threat information requires nationwide unclassified dissemination to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI transmits messages via the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS). In addition, the FBI disseminates threat information to security managers of thousands of U.S. commercial interests through the Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) Program.

After September 11th, a tool was needed to provide real-time information and a facility to share information. The Chicago Division recently began an information-sharing project with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies using the Law Enforcement On-Line (LEO) web page. LEO is an unclassified Internet-based service for law enforcement managed at FBI Headquarters by the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. The information provided to law enforcement agencies, as well as appropriate private entities, will be approved by FBI Headquarters, the Program Assistant Special Agent in Charge, and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

This information sharing project is a result of a task force on terrorism initiated by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Chicago FBI after the September 11 attacks. Several subcommittees were established to address problem areas such as information-sharing, mutual aid, and task forcing. This effort has been very successful. As stated above, the LEO system will facilitate communication regarding terrorist matters, not only between law enforcement agencies, but also with other appropriate agencies in the public and private sectors. Federal and local law enforcement agencies have joined to determine the capabilities and resources of each agency that could be utilized in a WMD incident or in other types of emergencies. Efforts have been made to change legislation within the state of Illinois to enable law enforcement agencies to have police powers outside their jurisdictions. Memoranda of understanding are also being proposed to cover questions such as liability, salaries, overtime, command structure and other issues which would arise as a result of a mutual aid call out. It is interesting to note that fire departments in Illinois are far ahead of law enforcement in preparing for mutual response to major incidents as well as developing WMD response capabilities. As a result, the IACP Terrorism Task Force in cooperation with the FBI has sought out the participation of fire department executives in forming mutual aid response plans. The fire departments' MABAS mutual aid system is being used as a model for designing law enforcement response to WMD or other major incidents that would exhaust the resources of an individual law enforcement agency. This effort is a positive one in developing an effective law enforcement WMD response, but local law enforcement is looking to the federal government for funding for personal protection equipment and training in its use. In addition, local law enforcement agencies are seeking additional WMD training for the first responder.

Chicago Terrorist Task Force (CTTF)

The mission of the CTTF is to prevent, detect, deter and investigate attacks carried out by domestic and international terrorists in the Northern District of Illinois, including the Chicagoland area. Additionally, the CTTF investigates all criminal activities perpetrated by such terrorist individuals and groups to include the acquisition of funds used to provide material support to terrorist groups. Other criminal terrorist acts include illegal possession of weapons, explosives, false identifications, immigration violations and seditious conspiracy. The CTTF works with local, state and federal agencies, as well as the private sector, to establish appropriate responses to terrorist attacks.

The CTTF was founded in 1981 by members of the Chicago Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the Illinois State Police, for the purpose of conducting a joint investigation of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), a Puerto Rican terrorist group, which sought the independence of Puerto Rico through violence. In 1983, the member agencies expanded the mandates of the CTTF to include responsibilities for the investigation of all domestic terrorism in northern Illinois. Eventually, the member agencies have expanded the CTTF's jurisdiction to include responsibilities for all international terrorism investigations as well. The successes of

There are a variety of federal and state statutes that make many clandestine activities performed by terrorists groups, illegal. Virtually any violent attack, such as bombings, arsons, assaults, kidnapings, extortions, murders, poisoning, etc., committed by a terrorist organization, will violate such statutes. Additionally, Title 18 U.S. Code Sections 2339 (a) and (b) make it an offense to "provide material support" to terrorists and "designated foreign terrorist organizations." Further, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 2332 (a) makes it a federal offense to use, or threaten to use, a destructive device such as a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological bomb. A recent example in Chicago where an individual was charged with the Possession of a Weapon of Mass Destruction occurred on March 9, 2002, when Daniel Konopka was arrested for trespassing in the steam tunnels of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Konopka was also wanted by the FBI on an Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution Warrant out of our Milwaukee Field Division. At the time of his arrest, Konopka had a vial containing a white powdered substance which was later determined to be cyanide. Through a cooperative effort by the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department, the CTTF, and the Milwaukee FBI, an additional 1.25 lbs. of cyanide was discovered, hidden by Konopka in the Chicago Transit Authority subway system. Approximately 200 jars of laboratory chemicals and numerous barrels containing unknown chemicals were recovered in an abandoned warehouse in Chicago. This had been the source of Konopka's cyanide, found on his person at the time of arrest and hidden by him in the subway. This matter is pending prosecution in Illinois.

Since October 2001, the FBI nationwide responded to more than 16,000 reports of actual or the threatened use of anthrax and other hazardous materials. Chicago, like all other field offices, is participating in the investigation of the actual anthrax cases in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The CTTF's WMD program maintained an aggressive posture regarding responses to alleged threats of anthrax releases. To date, more than 1800 samples have been sent and tested at the Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois, for the presence of anthrax. All of these samples were negative for the presence of anthrax. Additionally, the CTTF responded to or handled approximately 3700 telephone inquiries regarding the alleged threats of an anthrax release. Twenty investigations were initiated, involving hoax threat to release a WMD. In the case of threats received via the U.S. Mail, the investigation is coordinated with the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The CTTF continues to be deeply involved in planning, training and liaison activities concerning WMD matters. The City of Chicago has been selected to host a multi-agency WMD exercise in 2003. The CTTF is a main participant in the State of Illinois Terrorism Task Force. This task force, consisting of major agencies within Illinois, having responsibilities for WMD Terrorism related incidents. It is chaired by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and includes those agencies such as the FBI, Illinois State Police, and other agencies which would logically respond to a WMD event. Through this liaison, the Chicago Division was able to quickly identify and respond to events of a WMD nature.

The Chicago Division has had a very good relationship with the United States Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois. The present United States Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, is recognized for his extensive knowledge of terrorist groups and his ability to successfully prosecute them. He has put together a team of senior prosecutors to address terrorism investigations in an aggressive manner. The CTTF works hand-in-hand with the United States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism Task Force to share intelligence and capabilities of the member agencies, coordinate prosecutions with the local State's Attorneys, and to provide information to law enforcement and public safety agencies as well as to interested community groups.

Conclusion

Terrorism and the investigation of terrorist acts are certainly not new to the FBI and to the CTTF. However, the complexity and scope of terrorist investigations have certainly increased over the past four decades. What began in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s as domestic left-wing terrorist acts directed against the United States policy in Vietnam and for the independence of Puerto Rico, and right-wing militia and hate group disputes with United States regarding taxation, governmental authority and racial hatred, have changed. Terrorism today includes international terrorist threats, requiring a global law enforcement and military response to achieve our mission of detection, deterrence, prevention, and effective response to terrorist acts.

In the past, we taught our agents and local law enforcement personnel that the favorite weapons of the terrorist were pipe bombs and firearms. Over time, these weapons have evolved to include car and truck bombs, where the vehicle no longer was the target of the bomber, but became the container of the bomb itself. Terrorist weapons have changed; no longer are they limited to a metal pipe containing black powder and a pocket watch timer. The terrorist device can be a rental van containing explosive urea nitrate that detonates in the level 2 parking area of the World Trade Center on February 26,1993, causing six deaths, 1,042 injuries as well as significant economic loss. The device can be a rental truck full of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil that explodes in front of a building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 babies, children, adults, injuring 518 and causing the destruction of Murrah Federal Building and surrounding structures. The terrorist device can be letters containing anthrax, mailed to unsuspecting victims and delivered by dedicated postal employees in September and October 2001. The terrorist device has become hijacked airliners which were deliberately crashed into buildings on September 11, 2001, causing thousands of deaths and shocking the nation and the world.

Life has changed for all of us in the United States as well as throughout the world. Major acts of terrorism are no longer confined to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. The terrorists have struck hard within our borders and have brought the violence to our neighborhoods, to our citizens, to our families, to all of us. We are threatened by a man in a cave, thousands of miles away, and by a former Chicago resident named Padilla, who returned to his city and his nation, seeking to carry out a plan of mass destruction. We are improving our WMD capabilities, our intelligence sharing, and our willingness to dedicate personnel and resources to this fight. We, by we I mean the FBI, the CTTF, the public safety community, the public health community, the military, the intelligence agencies, and our allied countries are joined in a battle that may last years, but the alternative of not entering the fight is unacceptable.

Chairman Horn, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would like to express my thanks for the opportunity to speak to this subcommittee and for your interest in the state of Counterterrorism Preparedness in Northern Illinois. I am pleased to respond to any questions that you or your members may have.

 
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