Home News Testimony Milwaukee Division Counterterrorism Initiatives
  • Jeffrey J. Berkin
  • Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Milwaukee Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Washington, DC
  • July 10, 2002

Good morning Chairman Horn, Members of the Subcommittee and distinguished Members of the Wisconsin Delegation. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you and discuss terrorism preparedness, including threats involving biological, chemical and nuclear agents. I will also describe measures taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and our law enforcement partners to address these threats in the State of Wisconsin.


The mission of the FBI's counterterrorism program is to detect, deter, prevent, and rapidly respond to terrorist actions that threaten U.S. national interests at home or abroad, and to coordinate those efforts with local, state, federal and foreign entities as deemed appropriate. The counterterrorism responsibilities of the FBI include the prevention and investigation of domestic and international terrorism. As events of the recent past have indicated, both domestic and international terrorist organizations represent threats within U.S. borders.


The Milwaukee Division of the FBI has responsibility for the State of Wisconsin which comprises both the Eastern and Western Federal Judicial Districts. The State of Wisconsin has 72 counties. The headquarters office for the Division is located in Milwaukee with satellite offices (Resident Agencies) located in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, and Wausau.

The State of Wisconsin shares its northern border with Canada, eastern border with Lake Michigan, western border with the Mississippi River, and southern border with the State of Illinois. Within the state are four nuclear power plants: the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant, Kewaunee; the Point Beach Nuclear Plant, Two Rivers; the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor (LACBWR), Genoa; and the University of Wisconsin Nuclear Reactor Facility, Madison. The LACBWR plant is in a safe storage status with spent nuclear fuel on site. The University of Wisconsin Nuclear Reactor Facility is a small research reactor located at the University of Wisconsin.

Also, the Zion Nuclear Power Plant in Zion, Illinois (covered by the FBI's Chicago Division) could impact Milwaukee Division operations. The Zion plant is an active operating nuclear power facility located approximately 50 miles south of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Division has a contingency plan in place in the event of a nuclear threat.

Wisconsin's largest military base is Ft. McCoy, located in Monroe County, on the western border. Camp Douglas/Volk Field Air National Guard Base is also located in the western portion of the state. Other military bases include the 440th Airlift Wing and 128th Air Refueling Wing, both located in proximity to the state's largest airport, General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.


Elements of the Wisconsin Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) began operating immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the JTTF was officially established in January 2002. The top priority of the JTTF, as well as the entire Milwaukee Division, is prevention, through efforts to identify and neutralize terrorists before they attack the persons, property, or interests of the United States.

The Milwaukee Division JTTF, which was formed specifically to address this priority, is comprised of Federal, State, and Local agencies to include the FBI, U.S. Marshal's Service, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Milwaukee Police Department, and Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. In the Madison Resident Agency, participants include DCI, University of Wisconsin Police Department, Dane County Sheriff's Office and Madison Police Department.

Each of the agencies participating in the JTTF have committed resources to the investigation and prosecution of terrorism related matters. This has ensured maximum availability of the various expertises necessary to pursue these investigations. The JTTF also focuses on domestic terrorism issues such as the recent anthrax threats and concerns posed by hate groups such as the Aryan Nations and the World Church of the Creator. The JTTF closely coordinates terrorism matters with the United States Attorney's Offices in Milwaukee and Madison and their Anti Terrorism Task Forces.


Each field division has a designated WMD coordinator whose primary responsibility is to establish and maintain liaison with local, state, and federal crisis and consequence management personnel. Coordination with all entities involved in WMD matters will enable the FBI to identify and successfully prosecute international and domestic terrorists.

The Milwaukee Division has developed and maintains a field office crisis response plan together with a WMD Incident Contingency Plan which is reviewed periodically and updated as necessary.

The Milwaukee Division has taken a very active role in its WMD program. Liaison with our federal regional counterparts to include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is strong. The Milwaukee Division also enjoys a solid working relationship with its local and state partners in the WMD arena to include Wisconsin Emergency Management personnel, local health department officials, fire, hazmat, and local law enforcement.

Since the latter part of 2000 to the present, the Milwaukee Division has hosted six regional WMD awareness/preparedness conferences throughout the State of Wisconsin. In each conference, experienced guest speakers provided presentations concerning the threat of WMD and the FBI's role as they relate to WMD matters. Conference attendees included the first responder community, mayors, city managers, sheriffs, county supervisors, police and fire chiefs, hazmat, emergency management personnel, and representatives from our federal counterparts. Most of the conferences concluded with a tabletop exercise in the afternoon.

FBI agents who are assigned WMD matters frequently speak and provide instruction about the FBI's role in WMD matters to such groups as the Northwest Wisconsin Sheriffs' Association, the Camp Douglas Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Class, the UW-Madison microbiology class, the Milwaukee County paramedics continuing education program, Dairy plant representatives, railroad and water works representatives, and the American Society for Industrial Security.

The Milwaukee Division has actively participated in state and county terrorism workings groups, WMD threat assessments, public health bioterrorism preparedness meetings, terrorism tabletops and full-field exercises. Most recently, the Milwaukee Division participated in full scale WMD exercises conducted in Dane, Racine, and Outagamie Counties.

The Milwaukee Division is presently planning for a tabletop exercise in July followed by a full scale exercise in September 2002, which will incorporate scenarios involving improvised explosive devices, an industrial chemical release, and the detection of radiological material.

The Milwaukee Division has established liaison with the local Milwaukee Health Department and has recently requested the necessary background investigation for a "top secret" clearance for the health commissioner and health department manager in an effort to share information vital to the WMD program.


The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) was created in 1998 as a means to detect, deter, assess, warn, prevent, respond and investigate attacks on the nation's critical infrastructures. The NIPC is an interagency, public-private partnership comprised of representatives from the FBI, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, other federal departments and agencies, state and local law enforcement and private industry.

The Milwaukee Division has contributed intelligence information to the NIPC's 24/7 Watch, relative to intrusion and threat information received by the Milwaukee Division. The community outreach efforts initiated by the Milwaukee Division have been successful in raising the public's awareness of infrastructure protection and computer intrusion issues. FBI presence at public forums has helped to earn public trust in reporting matters that traditionally were not reported to law enforcement. The information, provided by the public is immediately forwarded to the NIPC, which currently provides analysis as to whether a pattern is beginning and allows threat warning information to be disseminated in order to prevent the problem, or attack, from being spread. However, the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will merge under one roof the capabilities to integrate threat analysis with vulnerability analysis, issue appropriate warnings, and organize the right preventive and protective response. As a result, the NIPC (other than the Computer Investigation and Operations Section) will be transferred to DHS.

Additionally, the Milwaukee Division is a participant in the Wisconsin Association of Computer Crime Investigators (WACCI), which is an organization comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, as well as private sector computer crime investigators, dedicated to continuous technical training and the exchange of information that will assist in investigating computer crimes, Internet Fraud, Child Pornography, and computer intrusions.


Other initiatives that the Milwaukee Division has undertaken include the InfraGard and Key Asset Programs, which are both under the direction of the NIPC. The Milwaukee Division has two InfraGard Chapters within its territory, serving the eastern and western halves of the State of Wisconsin. The Milwaukee InfraGard Chapter (serving the eastern half of Wisconsin) meets every other month, while the Madison InfraGard Chapter (serving the western portion of Wisconsin) meets quarterly. The meetings allow InfraGard participants to become acquainted with their counterparts, who are physical and/or information security professionals, working toward maintaining the security of their respective facilities and systems. These meetings also feature speakers, who provide educational presentations on security related topics.

On May 14 and 15 of this year, the two Wisconsin InfraGard Chapters held a Tri-State Regional Conference, in conjunction with the Minneapolis and Chicago InfraGard Chapters, at Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. InfraGard Participants are invited and encouraged to progress to a higher level, by completing a formal Secure Access Membership Agreement, which allows a member (company/representative) to have access to the Secure InfraGard Website which provides additional information on threat warnings, recent intrusions, and research related to infrastructure protection.

The Milwaukee Division's Key Asset Program is also part of the NIPC. The Key Assets are categorized into eight critical infrastructures, to include transportation, telecommunications, banking and finance, energies (electric and nuclear), water, oil and gas storage and transportation, emergency services and continuity of government. The Milwaukee Division is responsible for identifying Key Assets within its territory, as well as the individuals who are points of contact for the Key Asset. This and other Key Asset information are forwarded and maintained in the FBI's National Key Asset Database. The Milwaukee Division is in the process of concluding a project, whereby all Emergency Management Directors in the 72 Wisconsin Counties, were (or will be) contacted to ensure that the Key Assets in their respective counties have been identified.


The ANSIR Program is the FBI's National Security Awareness Program. It is the "public voice" of the FBI for espionage, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, economic espionage, cyber and physical infrastructure protection and all national security issues. The program is designed to provide unclassified national security threat and warning information via e-mail to U.S. corporate physical and information security directors and executives, law enforcement, and other government agencies. ANSIR advisories are event driven and, therefore, are not disseminated on a regular basis; rather, they are sent as events dictate.


The Milwaukee Division has played a significant role in recent investigations which received national attention. The Milwaukee Division was instrumental in the arrest of Luke Helder, the individual who placed pipe bombs in mailboxes throughout the Midwest, Colorado and Texas. A search was conducted at Helder's apartment in Menominee, Wisconsin, which yielded valuable evidence and identified Helder as the bomber. As the day unfolded, Helder was tracked through "real time" cell phone information to his location on the highway. Once his location and direction of travel were determined, FBI agents in the Reno, Nevada, Resident Agency were notified. They were then able to coordinate Helder's arrest with local and state law enforcement officers.

On May 7, 2002, Joseph Daniel Konopka, also known as "Dr. Chaos," was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Milwaukee on 13 counts covering 53 Wisconsin crimes. From 1998 through 2002, Konopka wreaked havoc in 13 counties by disrupting power and causing $800,000 in damages. He is also accused of setting fires, disrupting radio and television broadcasts, disabling an air traffic control system, selling counterfeit software and damaging the computer system of an internet service provider. Konopka remains in custody in Chicago, where he was arrested in March after being caught with cyanide, a potentially deadly chemical, near the Chicago subway system. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

In September 2000, Mickey Sauer pled guilty and was sentenced to prison for mailing an anthrax threat to a high school principal. Between January 5 and 18, 2000, Sauer sent 17 letters to women's reproductive centers in Racine and Milwaukee, adoption centers in Manitowoc and Milwaukee, two schools and a grocery store in Kenosha and other agencies. All but one of the letters contained an anthrax threat.

During the 2001 anthrax incidents and until April 2002, the Milwaukee Division maintained a database to track all reported calls of suspicious packages and letters. Information was shared and investigations were coordinated with the Milwaukee Fire Department and other fire departments and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.


The Milwaukee Division has been very active recently with respect to two major events occurring in Wisconsin. The 2002 U.S. Conference of Mayors was held in Madison in June. The 2002 All-Star Baseball Game and festivities in Milwaukee will begin later this week. Preparations for these two special events demonstrate the coordinated efforts of our local, state, and federal partners in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors was attended by the mayors of numerous cities to include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge was one of the notable individuals who addressed the conference. The Milwaukee Division coordinated security efforts with the Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin and Minnesota Army National Guard Civil Support Teams (CST) and other local law enforcement agencies. The Division also provided FBI bomb disposal technicians, equipment, (robots, x-ray, bomb suits, etc.) and training for the Dane County Bomb Squad. These efforts were coordinated with and supported the BATF canine explosive detection teams.


Terrorism represents a continuing threat to the U.S. and a formidable challenge to the FBI. In response to this threat, the Milwaukee Division of the FBI has developed, and is expanding, its broad-based counterterrorism program, which is integrated into the state and local law enforcement and first responder network. The Milwaukee Division intends to disrupt terrorist activities by continuing to support and use the JTTF, and by continually expanding interagency cooperation. While this approach has yielded successes, the dynamic nature of the terrorist threat demands that our capabilities continually be refined and adapted to continue to provide the most effective response.

Within the Milwaukee Division, all of the FBI's aforementioned investigative responsibilities are conducted jointly with other law enforcement agencies represented on the Milwaukee JTTF, and at times, with additional agencies from the intelligence community, emergency response community and medical agencies. It is impossible for the FBI to conduct investigations and obtain intelligence without working in concert with the Wisconsin federal, state and local agencies. Communication and coordination are outstanding and the Milwaukee Division consistently strives to maintain and improve that cooperation.

Chairman Horn, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would like to again express my appreciation for this subcommittee's concentration on the issue of terrorism preparedness and I look forward to responding to any questions.

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