afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here
symposium is the first of its kind. It
presents a unique opportunity for people
from diverse backgrounds to share information
and to find new ways to maximize our resources
in the pursuit of a common goal--protecting
innocent people from harm.
people from different federal, state,
and local agencies took part in planning
this conference, and I want to recognize
their efforts. This symposium is a crucial
first step toward creating solid, long-lasting
partnerships between the federal government,
law enforcement, science, academia, and
the people on the front lines--our partners
in the agriculture industry.
is an issue that is just starting to enter
our collective consciousness. Most people
do not equate terrorist attacks on people,
planes, and buildings with attacks on
plants and animals. But the threat is
real, and the impact could be devastating.
I want to talk about what the FBI is doing
to prevent, detect, and investigate threats
of agroterrorism. And I want to talk about
what each of us must do to prevent the
next terrorist attack.
I begin that discussion, though, I want
to talk about the changes we have made
in the FBI in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
our mission became the prevention of another
terrorist attack. Passage of the Patriot
Act removed the barriers preventing the
sharing of information between intelligence
and criminal investigations. And enhancing
our intelligence capabilities became key
to improving our ability to prevent attacks.
fact is, we are facing a new threat, on
a new level. Today, jet travel, cell phones,
and the Internet have given criminal and
terrorist threats an international dimension.
Like business, crime has gone global.
his new book, "The World is Flat,"
New York Times columnist and author Tom
Friedman argues that globalization has
leveled the playing field to the point
where it is flat. He asserts that advances
in technology, travel, and communication
have erased traditional boundaries and
have broken down walls between countries,
continents, and individuals. Now, anyone
can hop online, on board, or on the phone
and connect with the world.
advantage of this flat world is that we
are collaborating and connecting in ways
never before imagined. The disadvantage
is that Al Qaeda and other criminal organizations
are using this same technology and globalization
to wreak havoc around the world.
are creating a flat world within the FBI.
We are collaborating and connecting in
ways we could not have imagined four years
ago. We have broken down walls within
the Bureau and within the intelligence
and law enforcement communities.
have shifted our focus to terrorism, but
we continue to uphold our other responsibilities
to the American people. We have changed
the way we communicate within the FBI
and with other agencies. And, most importantly,
we are working together in new ways and
with new partners, like all of you here
today. These changes will be the linchpins
of our success in preventing, detecting,
and investigating all terrorist attacks.
highlighted some of the changes in the
Bureau in recent years. Now I would like
to tell you what we are doing to prevent
an agroterrorist attack.
have been fortunate so far--we have not
faced any direct attacks to our food supply.
Agroterrorist attacks in the United States
have been limited to those brought by
environmental extremists against laboratories
and universities conducting research on
genetically engineered food and plants
or by animal rights activists protesting
the use of animals for vaccine development.
the absence of any direct attack on our
food supply does not minimize the threat.
We know that members of Al Qaeda have
studied our agricultural industry. And
some animal rights activists and environmental
extremists have touted agroterrorism as
a potential means to an end of animal
testing, animal consumption, and genetic
thing is certain: given the nature of
the threat, our partnerships will go a
long way toward preventing the next terrorist
attack. Before 2001, law enforcement and
intelligence agencies had a tendency to
work alone, sharing information and collaborating
with other officials and agencies on a
September 11th attacks taught us all a
painful lesson--that we cannot defeat
our enemies standing alone. Today, we
are sharing information, technology, and
resources with our federal, state, and
is a matter of whistling in the jungle,
if you will.
is an old story about a man walking through
the jungle, whistling to himself. One
of his colleagues asks why he is whistling,
and he replies, "To scare away the
elephants." His colleague laughs,
and says, "Surely you don't believe
that works." And the man replies,
"You don't see any elephants, do
far, we have not seen any elephants. But
it is a safe bet that they are out there.
With so many animals, so many fields,
and so many people with open access, agriculture
is a soft target. But we stand a much
greater chance of preventing an attack
on our food supply working together.
of the ways we are working together is
through the Agricultural Intelligence
Group. Members of this group--including
the FBI, the CIA, the USDA, the FDA, the
Department of Homeland Security, and the
military--meet regularly to exchange information
and ideas about food security, and to
discuss ways in which we can best utilize
our combined skills, technology, and resources.
way we are working together is through
various Scientific Working Groups, or
"Swigs." Our FBI scientists
are working with their counterparts around
the country. One group, which includes
scientists from the CDC, key laboratories
around the country, the CIA, and the Department
of Homeland Security, analyzes animal
and plant pathogens--down to the DNA level--to
distinguish between pathogens that occur
in nature and those that are intentionally
distinction is important. If a car bomb
explodes outside of a building, we know
the attack was intentional. But if a cow
contracts Foot and Mouth Disease or a
soybean plant exhibits rust, it can be
difficult, if not impossible, to determine
whether the attack was intentional or
we are not limiting our partnerships to
the federal level. We are reaching out
to the people on the front lines--our
farmers, cattle ranchers, food producers,
2003, with the help of our Albuquerque
Field Office, we started a program called
AgriGard. Through a secure web portal,
members of the agricultural community
are sharing information with each other,
and with scientists, state and local law
enforcement, and the FBI. Members can
pose questions and alert the FBI to any
suspicious or unusual activity. This program
is a win-win for everyone involved.
information-sharing efforts are paying
off. Several months ago, the State Department
received an anonymous tip that an unknown
individual had threatened to introduce
a virus to a large pig farm in Kansas.
The State Department passed this information
to the Secret Service, which notified
one of its agents in Kansas. This agent
was part of the FBI's local Joint Terrorism
Task Force. Together, we got the investigative
coordinated with a local veterinarian,
the USDA, and the FDA to assess the threat.
Working with INS and local law enforcement,
we found this man and questioned him.
As it turns out, he had recently returned
from South Africa, and it was possible
that he could have transported a virus
the end, this investigation turned out
to be a poison pen letter. The man we
questioned had no intention of spreading
a damaging virus. But because of our established
networks, we were able to quickly assess
the threat and move to prevent any attack.
I want to move to the FBI's detection
and investigative methods. I will discuss
the two together, because they walk hand-in-hand.
a potential agroterrorist attack, the
USDA and the FDA will focus on the containment
of any public health risk and on the safety
of our food supply. The FBI will focus
on the criminal investigation into the
our local Weapons of Mass Destruction
Coordinator will assess the threat, along
with members of the local Joint Terrorism
Task Force, counterterrorism experts at
FBI Headquarters, and representatives
of the USDA and the FDA.
the FBI will dispatch one of its Hazardous
Materials Response Teams to collect a
sample of any hazardous material. The
sample will be sent to one of the laboratories
in the Lab Response Network--a group of
labs across the country with standardized
procedures for identifying biological
or chemical pathogens. Just 10 years ago,
this process would have taken days. Now,
we can detect and identify dangerous biological
and chemical pathogens in a number of
the sample tests are positive for biological
or chemical pathogens, the FBI will establish
a Joint Operations Center, with representatives
from the Department of Defense, Homeland
Security, Health and Human Services, the
EPA, the USDA, the FDA, FEMA, local law
enforcement, public health officials,
and scientists. Working together, sharing
leads and information, we have the best
chance of identifying and containing any
potential threat and finding the guilty
are just a few examples of what the FBI
is doing to prevent, detect, and investigate
agroterrorism. But information sharing
is a two-way street. We cannot investigate
if we are not aware of the problem.
ranchers, food distributors, and producers
are the first line of defense. If a rancher
sees unusual symptoms of illness in the
herd, he must notify his veterinarian
or a representative from the USDA. If
a food distributor notes suspicious activity
in one of her distribution centers, she
must notify the FDA, local law enforcement,
or her FBI Field Office. Likewise, we
in the federal government and in the public
health sector must keep each other in
we encounter an exotic pathogen in the
United States, we must be instantly alert
to the possibility of agroterrorism. We
cannot wait for a calling card from a
terrorist to announce a pending or future
attack. A "wait and see" approach
will only maximize the impact.
suspicion may turn out to be nothing,
but if it is something significant, we
cannot afford to lose that critical response
next case illustrates the point. One year
ago, police arrested a man for possession
of homemade ricin, a deadly poison. He
had placed a large order for castor seeds--the
material used to make ricin--from a seed
company in New York.
of the seed company became suspicious
and called the FBI Field Office in New
FBI agents searched the man's home, they
found clear jars labeled "Caution--ricin
poison." They also found large amounts
of castor seeds, chemicals used during
different stages of ricin production,
and equipment commonly used in the "underground"
manufacturing of the poison.
found the ricin before it could harm anyone
based on the tip from the seed company
employees. The employees' suspicions might
have amounted to nothing. Instead, they
resulted in the man's conviction for possession
of a biological toxin.
goal this week is to impress upon those
in the food supply industry, and those
of us who work with them, of the need
for education, vigilance, and cooperation.
must continue to work together. Not just
because the time for turf wars is past,
but because there is too much for one
agency or group to handle alone. There
are too many biological and chemical weapons,
too many open fields and unlocked doors
and unknown people.
another terrorist attack--be it in one
of our major metropolitan areas or here
in the heartland--is our number one priority.
But we do not shoulder this burden alone.
are working with our partners in the federal
government, in state and local law enforcement,
in scientific labs and on college campuses
across the country, and with members of
the agricultural industry. We are sharing
our information, our resources, and our
knowledge to ensure the safety of our
nation's food supply.
this era of globalization, in this flat
world, working side-by-side is not just
the best option, it is the only option.
Together, we can defeat this new threat,
and we will.