Good afternoon, Chairman Stevens,
Chairman Warner, Chairman Shelby, Chairman Gregg and Senator
Hollings, Chairman Roberts, and other members of the Committees.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today
to discuss the threat of terrorism to the United States. It is
a privilege to join with Director of Central Intelligence George
Tenet for this panel. Over the past few years, the Central Intelligence
Agency has become one of the FBI's strongest partners in preventing
acts of terrorism and in bringing to justice international terrorists
who commit acts of violence against U.S. citizens and interests.
Many of our successes are their successes.
At the outset, I would like to
recognize the Committees for undertaking this comprehensive series
of hearings. Through these hearings, you have brought together
the many agencies in the U.S. Government that are partners in
dealing with both the response to acts of terrorism so that we
might identify, apprehend, and prosecute those responsible for
such acts, and with the consequences of terrorist acts so that
we might mitigate the impact of these acts on individual victims,
communities, and the Nation.
To help establish a framework
for today's discussion, I would like to start by providing an
assessment of the current international and domestic terrorist
threat, a brief discussion of recent trends in terrorism, and
a description of the FBI's Counterterrorism strategy being implemented
under the leadership of Assistant Director Dale Watson, who heads
our Counterterrorism Division. Finally, I would like to describe
the Counterterrorism Initiative proposed in our 2002 budget request
The threat of terrorism to the
United States remains a concern. Over the past five years, the
level of acts committed in the United States have increased steadily.
There were two known or suspected terrorist acts recorded in
the United States in 1995, three in 1996, four in 1997, five
in 1998, and 12 in 1999. The 12 known or suspected acts in 1999
included two separate acts committed by lone domestic extremists
in California and Indiana/Illinois, eight acts attributed to
animal rights and environmental extremists, one bombing incident
believed carried out by separatists in Puerto Rico, and one arson
incident possibly committed by animal rights extremists or anarchists
in Washington State. In addition to the 12 known or suspected
terrorist acts in 1999, seven planned acts of terrorism were
prevented in the United States during the year.
The FBI is currently investigating
several criminal acts committed in the United States during 2000
and 2001 for possible designation as acts of terrorism.
The International Terrorist
International terrorism involves
violent acts, or acts dangerous to human life, that are a violation
of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that
would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction
of the United States or any state, and which are intended to
intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the police
of a government, or affect the conduct of a government. Acts
of international terrorism transcend national boundaries in terms
of the means by which they are accomplished, the intended persons
they appear to intimidate, or the locale in which the perpetrators
The United States continues to
face a formidable challenge from international terrorism. The
prevention of planned terrorist plots in the United States, Jordan,
and Pakistan in December 1999 and the bombing of the U.S. S.
Cole in Yemen in October 2000 underscore the range of threats
to U.S. citizens and interests posed by international terrorists.
In general terms, the international terrorist threat can be divided
into three categories: loosely affiliated extremists operating
under the radical international jihad movement, formal terrorist
organizations, and state sponsors of terrorism. Each of these
categories represents a threat to U.S. citizens and interests,
both abroad and at home.
Loosely affiliated extremists. Loosely affiliated extremists, motivated
by political or religious beliefs, may pose the most urgent threat
to the United States. Within this category, Sunni Islamic extremists,
such as Usama bin Laden and individuals affiliated with his Al-Qaeda
organization, have demonstrated a willingness and capability
to carry out attacks resulting in large-scale casualties and
destruction against U.S. citizens, facilities, and interests,
as demonstrated by the August 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies
in East Africa. Al-Qaeda is a well organized and financed criminal
network comprised of structured, hierarchical cells in numerous
countries around the world. However, the threat from Al-Qaeda
is only part of the overall threat from the radical international
jihad movement. This movement is comprised of individuals from
varying nationalities, ethnic groups, tribes, races, and terrorist
group members who work together in support of extremist Sunni
goals. One of the primary Sunni goals is the removal of U.S.
military forces from the Persian Gulf area, most notably Saudi
Arabia. The single common element among these diverse individuals
is their commitment to the radial international jihad movement,
which includes a radicalized ideology and agenda for promoting
the use of violence against the "enemies of Islam"
in order to overthrow all governments which are not ruled by
Sharia, or conservative Islamic law. A primary tactical objective
of this movement is the planning and carrying out of large-scale,
high-profile, high-casualty terrorist attacks against U.S. interests
and citizens and those of our allies, worldwide.
Formal terrorist organizations. The second category of international
terrorist threat is made up of formal terrorist organizations.
Typically, these autonomous, generally
transnational organizations have their own infrastructures, personnel,
financial arrangements, and training facilities. These organizations
are capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns on an
international basis. A number of these organizations maintain
operations and support networks in the United States. For example,
extremist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, the Irish Republican
Army, the Egyptian Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya, and the Lebanese Hizballah
have a presence in the United States whose members are primarily
engaged in fund-raising, recruiting, and low-level intelligence
gathering. In July 2000, an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation
led to the arrests of 23 individuals alleged to be supporters
of Hizballah in Charlotte, Concord, and Lexington, North Carolina.
These individuals were charged with a variety of offenses, including
providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization,
immigration and visa fraud, bribery of government officials,
and money laundering.
Hizballah is responsible for
the deaths of more Americans than any other terrorist group,
including the terrorist network of Usama bin Laden. Among the
notorious acts committed by this group are the 1983 truck bombings
of the United States Embassy and United States Marine Corps barracks
in Lebanon, the 1984 bombing of the United States Embassy Annex
in Beirut, and the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which
United States Navy diver Robert Stehem, a passenger on the flight,
was murdered by the hijackers. To date, however, Hizballah has
not carried out a terrorist act in the United States.
State sponsors of terrorism. The third category of the international
terrorist threat is comprised of state sponsors of terrorism,
or countries that view terrorism as a tool of foreign policy.
Presently, the Department of State lists seven countries as state
sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Cuba,
and North Korea. Of these, Iran represents the greatest terrorist
threat to the United States. Despite a moderation in its public
anti-U.S. rhetoric since the election of Mohammed Khatemi as
president, the Government of Iran remains controlled by conservative
clerics opposed to reform and normalization of relations with
Western countries. The Government of Iran continues to target
dissidents living outside the country and supports financially
and logistically anti-Western acts of terrorism by others. Syria
has not been directly involved in conducting terrorist activities
for a number of years; however, the country still provides safe
haven to international terrorist groups and rogue extremists.
Cuba and North Korea appear to have significantly reduced their
direct involvement with terrorism due to the rapidly diminishing
capacity of their economies to support such activities.
The Domestic Terrorism
Domestic terrorist groups represent
interests that span the full spectrum of political and economic
viewpoints, as well as social issues and concerns. It is important
to understand, however, that FBI investigations of domestic terrorist
groups or individuals are not predicated upon social or political
beliefs; rather, FBI investigations are based upon information
regarding planned or actual criminal activity. The FBI views
domestic terrorism as the unlawful use, or threatened use, of
violence by a group or individual that is based and operating
entirely within the United States or its territories without
foreign direction and which is committed against persons or property
with the intent of intimidating or coercing a government or its
population in furtherance of political or social objectives.
The current domestic terrorist threat primarily comes from right-wing
extremist groups, left-wing and Puerto Rican extremist groups,
and special interest extremists.
Right-wing extremist groups. Fight-wing terrorist groups often adhere
to the principles of racial supremacy and embrace antigovernment,
antiregulatory beliefs. Generally, extremist right-wing groups
engage in activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees
of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved
when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful
On the national level, formal
right-wing hate groups, such as World Church of the Creator (WCOTC)
and the Aryan Nations, represent a continuing terrorist threat.
Although efforts have been made by some extremist groups to reduce
openly racist rhetoric in order to appeal to a broader segment
of the population and to focus increased attention on anti-government
sentiment, racism-based hatred remains an integral component
of these groups, core orientations.
Right-wing extremists continue
to represent a serious terrorist threat. Two of the seven planned
acts of terrorism prevented in 1999 were potentially large-scale,
high-casualty attacks being planned by organized right-wing extremists.
In December 1999, individuals associated with an anti-government
group and who were planning to attack a large propane storage
facility in Elk Grove, California, were arrested by the Sacramento
Joint Terrorism Task Force. When arrested, these individuals
were in possession of detonation cord, blasting caps, grenade
hulls, weapons, and various chemicals, including ammonium nitrate.
Also in 1999, the FBI interrupted plans by members of the Southeastern
States Alliance -- an umbrella organization of militias in Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and other southern states -
to steal weapons from national guard armories in Central Florida,
attack power lines in several states, and ambush federal law
enforcement officers. The goal of this group was to create social
and political chaos, thereby forcing the U.S. Government to declare
martial law, an act the group believed would lead to a violent
overthrow of the Government by the American people.
Left-wing and Puerto Rican
extremist groups. The
second category of domestic terrorists, left-wing groups, generally
profess a revolutionary socialist doctrine and view themselves
as protectors of the people against the "dehumanizing effects"
of capitalism and imperialism. They aim to bring about change
in the United States through revolution rather than through the
established political process. From the 1960s to the 1980s, leftist-oriented
extremist groups posed the most serious domestic terrorist threat
to the United States. In the 1980s, however, the fortunes of
the leftist movement changed dramatically as law enforcement
dismantled the infrastructure of many of these groups and the
fall of communism in Eastern Europe deprived the movement of
its ideological foundation and patronage.
Terrorist groups seeking to secure
full Puerto Rican independence from the United
Anarchists and extremist socialist
groups -- many of which, such as the Workers' World Party, Reclaim
the Streets, and Carnival Against Capitalism -- have an international
presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in
the United States. For example, anarchists, operating individually
and in groups, caused much of the damage during the 1999 World
Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.
Special interest extremists. Special interest terrorism differs
from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist
special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather
than effect more widespread political change. Special interest
extremists continue to conduct acts of politically motivated
violence to force segments of society, including, the general
public, to change attitudes about issues considered important
to their causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal
rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other political
and social movements. Some special interest extremists -- most
notably within the animal rights and environmental movements
-- have turned increasingly toward vandalism and terrorist activity
in attempts to further their causes.
States through violent means represent one of the remaining active
vestiges of left-wing
terrorism. While these groups believe that bombings alone will
not result in change, they view these acts of terrorism as a
means by which to draw attention to their desire for independence.
During the 1970s and 1980s numerous leftist groups, including
extremist Puerto Rican separatist groups such as the Armed Forces
for Puerto Rican National Liberation (FALN Fuerzas Armadas
de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena), carried out bombings
on the U.S. mainland, primarily in and around New York City.
However, just as the leftist threat in general declined dramatically
throughout the 1990s, the threat posed by Puerto Rican extremist
groups to mainland U.S. communities decreased during the past
Acts of terrorism continue to be perpetrated, however, by violent
separatists in Puerto Rico. Three acts of terrorism and one suspected
act of terrorism have taken place in various Puerto Rican locales
during the past three years. These acts, including the March
1998 bombing of a super-aqueduct project in Arecibo, the bombings
of bank offices in Rio Piedras and Santa Isabel in June 1998,
and the bombing of a highway in Hato Rey, remain under investigation.
The extremist Puerto Rican separatist group Los Macheteros is
suspected in each of these attacks.
In recent years, the Animal Liberation
Front (ALF) -- an extremist animal rights movement -- has become
one of the most active extremist elements in the United States.
Despite the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational
philosophy discourages acts that harm "any animal, human
and nonhuman." Animal rights groups in the United States,
including ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate. A distinct
but related group, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), claimed
responsibility for the arson fires set at a Vail, Colorado, ski
resort in October 1998 that destroyed eight separate structures
and caused $12 million dollars in damages. In a communique issued
after the fires, ELF claimed that the fires were in retaliation
for the resort's planned expansion that would destroy the last
remaining habitat in Colorado for the lynx. Eight of the terrorist
incidents occurring in the United States during 1999 have been
attributed to either ALF or ELF. Several additional acts committed
during 2000 and 2001 are currently being reviewed for possible
designation as terrorist incidents.
Current Trends in Terrorism
In addition to the activities
of individuals and groups, two other factors, the growing interest
in the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists
and other groups and the potential use of the Internet and cyberspace
to commit acts of terrorism, are factors that contribute to the
current terrorist threat to the United States.
Weapons of mass destruction. The trend toward high-profile, high-impact
attacks comes at a time when interest is growing among both international
and domestic terrorist groups in acquiring weapons of mass destruction
(WMD ). Currently, there is no credible information that a terrorist
group has acquired, developed, or is planning to use chemical,
biological, or radiological agents in the United States. However,
there has been an increase in the number of cases or incidents
involving use or threatened use of such agents in the United
States. Between 1997 and 2000, the FBI investigated 779 WMD-related
reports, generally involving individuals or small groups. The
vast majority of these cases were found to be false or fabricated
reports. The biological toxin ricin and the bacterial agent anthrax
are emerging as the most prevalent agents involved in investigations.
In 2000, 90 of II 5 biological threats investigated by the FBI
involved threatened use of anthrax. While actual ricin toxin
has been involved in a limited number of cases, anthrax agents
have not been uncovered in any law enforcement investigation
in the United States to date. Given the potential for inflicting
large-scale injury or death, the efforts of international and
domestic terrorists to acquire WMD remains a significant concern
and priority of the FBI.
Terrorist use of emerging
groups are increasingly using new information technology and
the Internet to formulate plans, recruit members, communicate
between cells and members, raise funds, and spread propaganda.
Last year, in his statement on the Worldwide Threat in 2000,
DCI Tenet testified before Congress that terrorist groups, "including
Hizballah, Hamas, the Abu Nidal Organization, and bin Laden's
Al-Queda Organization are using computerized files, e-mail, and
encryption to support their operations." While these terrorist
groups have not employed cyber-tools as a weapon to use against
critical infrastructures, the reliance, accessibility, and expertise
of these groups with computer and information technology networks
and systems represents a clear warning sign.
Other terrorist groups, such
as the Internet Black Tigers, who are reportedly affiliated with
the Tamil Tigers, have engaged in attacks on foreign government
web-sites and e-mail servers. During the unrest on the West Bank
in the Fall of 2000, Israeli Government sites were subjected
to e-mail flooding and "ping" attacks. These attacks
allegedly originated with Islamic elements and were an attempt
to inundate the systems with e-mail messages and degrade or deny
The FBI believes cyber-terrorism,
the use of cyber-tools to shut down, degrade, or deny critical
national infrastructures, such as energy, transportation, communications,
or government services, for the purpose of coercing or intimidating
a government or civilian population, is clearly an emerging threat
for which its must develop prevention, deterrence, and response
Jurisdiction and Role
The FBI is the lead federal agency
for investigating terrorism. Under statutory authority granted
by Title 28, United States Code, Section 533, the Attorney General
has specifically assigned the FBI "lead agency responsibilities
in investigating all crimes for which it has primary or concurrent
jurisdiction and which involve terrorist activities or acts in
preparation of terrorist activities within the statutory jurisdiction
of the United States". In the United States, this would
include the collection, coordination, analysis, management and
dissemination of intelligence and criminal information as appropriate.
If another federal agency identifies an individual who is engaged
in terrorist activities or acts in preparation of terrorist activities,
that agency is requested to promptly notify the FBI.
In addition, the FBI's role as
a lead agency for investigating terrorism matters is supported
by various Presidential Decision Directives (PDD). For example:
- PDD-3 9 sets forth the U.S.
counterterrorism policy and outlines the FBI's jurisdictional
responsibilities in relation to terrorism: "unless otherwise
specified by the Attorney General, the FBI shall have lead responsibility
for operational response to terrorist incidents that take place
within U.S. territory or that occur in international waters and
do not involve the flag vessel of a foreign country. Within this
role, the FBI functions as the on-scene manager for the U.S.
Government." Moreover, "the FBI shall have lead responsibility
for investigating terrorist acts planned or carried out by foreign
or domestic terrorist groups in the U.S. or which are directed
at U.S. citizens or institutions abroad."
- PDD-62 grants the Department
of Justice, acting through the FBI, lead agency or operational
response authority to a incident.
- PDD-63 directs that the National
Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) serve as a national critical
infrastructure threat assessment, warning, vulnerability, and
law enforcement investigation and response entity and that its
mission "will include providing timely warnings of intentional
threats, comprehensive analyses and law enforcement investigation
and response." Under the directive, the Department of Justice/FBI
have been given the responsibility for the Emergency Law Enforcement
Services Sector. Helping assure the security of law enforcement
agencies across the United States greatly increases preparedness
to deal with terrorist incidents.
- PDD-77 set forth requirements
for returning suspected terrorists to stand trial in the United
Various statutes give the FBI
authority to investigate terrorist crimes committed overseas.
Chief among these are the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of
1984, which created a new section in the U.S. Criminal Code for
Hostage Taking, and the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Anti-terrorism
Act of 1986, which established a new statute pertaining to terrorist
acts conducted abroad against U.S. nationals and/or its interests
(Extraterritorial Terrorism Statute).
The strategic goal of the FBI's
Counterterrorism Program is to identify, prevent, deter, and
respond to acts of terrorism. In the area of responding to terrorist
incidents after they occur, the FBI, with the support of the
Congress and the Administration, has greatly improved its crisis
response capabilities since the World Trade Center bombing in
1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. One can look to such
investigative successes, as the indictment of 22 individuals
in connection with the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania in 1998 to understand the FBI's far reaching capability
to respond to terrorist incidents abroad as well as at home.
Even though the FBI has realized
successes in responding to acts of terrorism, the FBI recognizes
that the underlying political/religious/social movements which
produced recent acts of terrorism are beyond its control- therefore,
the FBI will never be able to prevent all acts of terrorism.
International terrorists have demonstrated their willingness
and ability to strike against citizens and facilities of the
United States not only in foreign lands, but also here at home.
Fast-paced global changes, such as the widespread growth in international
trade and commerce; greater international openness and exchange
of ideas brought about by improvements in communications and
the Internet; shifts in the balance of political/social/economic
forces in developing and established countries; and a growing
international financial dependence, among others, continue to
present the FBI with new challenges in the area of terrorism
In an effort to keep pace with
the changing terrorist threat to the United States, the FBI is
implementing a new management and operational initiative to further
strengthen its ability to combat terrorism. This initiative,
referred to as MAXCAP05, has as its goal the
achievement by Fiscal Year 2005 of five core competencies or
capacities for its Counterterrorism Program: investigative, intelligence,
communications, liaison, and program management.
- Investigative Capacity is the extent to which each FBI Field
Office is appropriately staffed, trained, equipped, and managed
to prevent and effectively respond to acts of terrorism based
on the known terrorist threat in that field office.
- Intelligence Capacity is the ability to produce, use, and
appropriately disseminate on a timely basis strategic, operational,
and tactical Counterterrorism intelligence products.
- Communications Capacity is the capability to fully utilize and
integrate FBI resources throughout the Bureau in support of Counterterrorism
programs and initiatives through the use of appropriate information
- Liaison Capacity is the capacity to prioritize, establish,
and maintain sound and productive relationships with external
counterparts in the intelligence community, law enforcement communities,
other federal agencies, defense establishments, foreign services,
private industry and non-governmental organizations, State and
local agencies, legislative and executive bodies, the media,
and academia to obtain maximum information and support.
- Program Management Capacity is the capacity to effectively direct,
measure, and manage the Counterterrorism Program's progress toward
identifying and achieving its core competencies.
The FBI recently completed a
field-wide assessment of investigative capacity. This assessment
has been used to establish operational priorities. More importantly,
the baseline assessments can serve as a starting point upon which
progress towards achieving core competencies can be measured.
Field office assessments will be updated semiannually.
For FY 200 1, the FBI is requesting
increases totaling $32,059,000 and 42 positions (8 agents) to
improve and enhance existing counterterrorism capabilities and
2002 Winter Olympics Preparation. The 2002 Winter Olympic Games have
been designated a National Special Security Event. Consistent
with FBI lead-agency responsibilities for intelligence collection
and crisis management as contained in PDD-39 and PDD-62, the
FBI is working closely with the United State Secret Service and
other federal, state, and local law enforcement and consequence
management agencies to plan for security and public safety issues
for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games that will be hosted by Salt
Lake City, Utah.
For FY 2002, the FBI requests
increases totaling $12,302,000 for 2002 Winter Olympic Games
deployment. The funding requested will cover travel, per diem,
vehicle lease, utilities, telecommunications, and FBI overtime
costs for the planned deployment of over 800 FBI personnel for
the event period. The Salt Lake City games will be conducted
at 20 official Olympic venues spread over a 6,000 square mile
area. Olympic competition will take place simultaneously at 10
venues in 3 major cities and 6 remote mountain resort areas.
Recurring Security Services. The FBI is committed to implementing
the security standards contained in the June 1995 Department
of Justice report entitled,
"Vulnerability Assessment of Federal Facilities." For
FY 2002, the FBI requests an increase of $2,020,000 to acquire
contract guard services for six stand-alone field office facilities
where GSA does not provide such service ($1,600,000), replace
an outdated closed-circuit television (CCTV) security system
at FBI Headquarters ($320,000), and replace three guard booths
at FBI Headquarters to facilitate new visitor identification
Incident Response Readiness. Consistent with the provisions of PDD-62,
the FBI initiated a long-term program in FY 2000 to develop law
enforcement capabilities for the technical resolution of a weapons
of mass destruction incident involving chemical, biological,
or radiological threats or devices. Initial funding for this
effort was provided through an interagency agreement with the
Department of Defense. For FY 2002, the FBI requests 42 positions
(8 agents) and $17,737,000 to support ongoing efforts in the
areas of threat assessment, diagnostics, and advanced render
In addition to the FBI's Counterterrorism
initiative for FY 2002, there is funding proposed within another
Department of Justice program that is considered important to
the FBI's ongoing counterterrorism efforts.
State and Local Bomb Technician
Equipment. Within the
funding proposed for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), $
10,000,000 is included to continue an FBI Laboratorymanaged program
of training and equipping approximately 386 accredited State
and local bomb squads located in communities throughout the United
Continuation of funding for this
program will ensure State and local bomb squads are properly
trained and equipped for dealing with traditional improvised
and explosive devices, as well as the initial response to devices
that may be used by terrorists or others to release chemical
or biological agents. Through this program, the FBI has provided
State and local bomb squads with weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) protective search suits, real-time x-ray devices, multi-gas
monitoring systems, portable radiation detectors, and computers
to access the Chemical and Biological Organisms - Law Enforcement
database through the Law Enforcement On-line (LEO) program. This
initiative compliments the State and local bomb technician training
and accreditation program that the FBI Laboratory provides at
the Hazardous Devices School, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
Combating terrorism is a priority
of the FBI. Through the support of the Administration and the
Congress, the FBI has been able to greatly improve its crisis
response capabilities to respond to such acts when and wherever
they occur. The management and operational strategy that the
FBI is implementing will further improve its capacity to counter
terrorism. We believe this strategy will allow the FBI to continually
refine, adjust, and upgrade our response capacities in the face
of new threats and groups. Also, this strategy recognizes and
emphasizes the importance of the capacity for gathering and sharing
intelligence on a timely basis with other agencies involved in
countering terrorism. The strategy places a premium on the importance
of establishing and maintaining communications and liaison with
our federal, State, and local partners. Finally, the strategy
emphasizes the effective management and allocation of program
resources provided by the Congress.