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  • Michael J. Waguespack
  • Deputy Assistant Director, National Security Division, FBI
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations
  • Washington, DC
  • April 03, 2001

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the members of the committee for inviting the FBI to testify about the ANSIR Program as the committee examines the topic of "Protecting American Interests Abroad: US. Citizens, Businesses, and Non-governmental." While other agencies in the government have primary responsibility for protecting United States interests overseas, the FBI participates with them as appropriate and contributes to the overall government effort.

The acronym ANSIR stands for "Awareness of National Security Issues and Response." As part of its national security mission, the FBI has been providing awareness information in order to reduce the vulnerabilities of U.S. citizens, corporations and institutions to intelligence and terrorist activities since the early 1970's. By knowing what intelligence services and terrorist do and how to frustrate their plans, American interests are better protected. The initial focus of this program in the 1970's was the protection of classified government information, property and personnel. At that time, the program was known as "DECA" (Developing Espionage and Counterintelligence Awareness). In the 1990's, several changes occurred which led the FBI to decide a larger audience should be receiving its national security message. First, foreign intelligence services expanded their targeting to include unclassified private sector proprietary economic information. Second, the threat of terrorist attack on American interests here in the United States and abroad escalated. Additionally, the serious problem of computer intrusion and the costly menace of the computer virus dictated the FBI awareness message should reach a broader audience in a timely fashion to prevent harm.

The FBI's ANSIR Program's awareness message is principally aimed at U.S. corporations, although other government agencies and law enforcement also benefit from it. The principal method of disseminating FBI awareness information is through ANSIR Email described in the following section. The ease of replicating email communication accounts for the global nature of the dissemination. American interests abroad receive ANSIR awareness communications primarily from their headquarters in the United States which relays ANSIR Email to them, though on occasion the awareness message is delivered directly to those overseas. In addition to making potential targets of intelligence and terrorist activities less vulnerable through awareness, the FBI also has a unique capability to respond when these activities are identified in the United States. This response capability is a key part of the awareness message. The FBI does more than simply identify problems; it does something about them.

ANSIR Organizational Structure, Membership and Programs

The ANSIR Program is by any measurement of government programs a very small one. Currently, there is one Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) assigned as the National ANSIR Program Manager in the National Security Division at FBIHQ. The ANSIR Program also has at least one Special Agent in each of the 56 FBI Field Offices assigned as the ANSIR Program Coordinator. This is a collateral duty designed to take no more than IO% of the Coordinator's time. The Coordinator acts as the point of contact for requests for assistance and inquiries generated by ANSIR. A Special Agent is assigned this duty because decades of experience with the ANSIR audience has shown that the private sector prefers discussing national security issues with an individual who has operational experience.

The ANSIR Program has no membership; rather, individuals, corporations, government agencies and organizations which request FBI national security awareness information may receive unclassified awareness information via ANSIR Email or through presentations conducted by ANSIR Coordinators and other knowledgeable individuals arranged through the program. Presentations are given to both classified and unclassified audiences.

What is today the ANSIR Email Program began as the ANSIR Fax Program in 1995. After the private sector shifted its principal means of communication to Internet email in 1996, ANSIR Fax became ANSIR Email. The program uses the FBI's Law Enforcement On-Line (LEO) as its Internet Service Provider (ISP) to ensure the security and integrity of ANSIR Email. This program was initiated to greatly improve the efficiency of disseminating the FBI's awareness message. While personal presentations, video tapes and mail all have their value, nothing is as efficient as Internet email for quickly distributing an advisory whose value diminishes with every passing hour. Recently, the number of ANSIR Email subscribers was reported to be over 30,000. Each ANSIR Email advisory eventually reaches substantially well over this number depending upon the content of the message. Key messages which members of the Fortune 500 and large government agencies wish to pass to all their personnel have the largest international dissemination.

The number of ANSIR e-mails disseminated annually vary depending upon the threat environment. In calendar year 2000, a total of 63 advisories were disseminated. Because ANSIR Email has asked its subscribers what advisories within 17 infrastructures they desire to receive, not all advisories are received by every subscriber; however, the majority of subscribers ask to receive advisories from all 17 infrastructure categories. All ANSIR Email communications are unclassified.

The Role of ANSIR in USG Counterterrorism Efforts Overseas

The role of the FBI's ANSIR Program in USG Counterterrorism efforts overseas is within the FBI's primary mission of preventing, deterring and defeating terrorism activities in the United States. To this end, the ANSIR Program provides terrorism awareness information valuable to public and private sector organizations, many which have overseas facilities and/or personnel who travel overseas.

ANSIR Email is a component of the government's National Threat Warning System (NTWS). The NTWS has established a protocol for the rapid dissemination of terrorist threat and warning information throughout the federal government, law enforcement, and the private sector. The protocols established by the NTWS provide uniformity in defining what constitutes a threat advisory which should be disseminated and the language used to describe it.

As the committee is aware, U.S. Government agencies with facilities and personnel overseas have been hardening those facilities and routinely provide their personnel with awareness information to make them safer. After government targets, well known U.S. Businesses and non-government organizations are likely terrorist targets due to their close association with American culture and values. Upon request, headquarters elements of these private sector organizations receive threat and warning information via ANSIR Email which they email in turn to their overseas operations.

Occasionally, ANSIR Program personnel travel overseas to give presentations at the invitation of other U.S. Government agencies or private sector organizations. In the last several years, ANSIR presentations have been given to U.S. Corporations and/or U.S. Government agencies in the following overseas locations:

United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Czech Republic
Republic of Korea
Republic of Panama

These overseas ANSIR presentations were sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of State (Bureau of Diplomatic Security/Overseas Security Advisory Council), Defense Security Service, American Society for Industrial Security, American Chamber of Commerce, as well as U.S. Corporations such as IBM and Coca-Cola.

Attending these overseas unclassified ANSIR presentations are both U.S. Citizens and host country citizens, as both are potential targets due to their association with their U.S. employer. It is also the practice to invite host country government officials from law enforcement agencies or ministries with which the FBI routinely deals to be present during unclassified briefings. Classified ANSIR presentations are provided in appropriately secure locations to U.S. Citizens with the necessary security clearances.

The Role of ANSIR in Countering Economic Espionage Overseas

After the Cold War, the FBI determined that while espionage against U.S. defense contractors continued unabated by some traditional Cold War adversaries, there was a broader effort underway by a surprising number of Cold War allies to use their intelligence services to clandestinely collect unclassified proprietary information from U.S. corporations. These non-traditional adversaries understood that economic information was as much a vital part of their national security as political or military information. It also became evident that traditional Cold War adversaries had also expanded their collection targets to proprietary economic information to a degree greater than previously observed. These developments were recognized by the Congress, as evidenced by the passage of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which gave the FBI primary Jurisdiction in such matters.

Anyone can be vulnerable to intelligence collection activities. The proprietary secrets of the American economy are attractive targets of foreign intelligence services because conducting economic espionage is cheaper than research and development. Intelligence services are extraordinarily sophisticated and have substantial resources to carry out their missions. They train their personnel to acquire information clandestinely so their targets do not know it has been compromised.

A key to reducing vulnerability to intelligence collection activity is knowing and countering common techniques used by foreign intelligence services which can minimize or even eliminate their opportunity for success. If foreign intelligence services believe the effort is too great or the risk is too high, they will look for another target. The FBI's ANSIR Program attempts to reduce American vulnerability by providing awareness information on the techniques used by foreign intelligence services to collect proprietary economic information.

The threat to computer and telecommunication systems has also increased dramatically in recent years. This threat takes on a variety of forms and ranges from foreign intelligence services, to disgruntled employees, to teenage hackers. Timely notification of the latest intrusion techniques and the latest virus detected "in the wild" can provide an edge in protecting systems. In concert with the Department of Justice and FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), ANSIR Email also provides advisories on the latest computer intrusion threats as well as timely notification on the latest virus. For private and public sector organizations which desire to share information about cyber intrusion incidents, computer system vulnerabilities and physical infrastructure threats, the NIPC's InfraGard initiative provides such a mechanism. There are currently 518 members in the 56 InfraGard Chapters nationwide.

Procedures for Providing Assistance to American Businesses with Security Concerns

Business security concerns can take a variety of forms. The FBI is not resourced to conduct physical, personnel or information evaluations for the private sector. There are ample sources within the federal government which provide information and requirements for protecting classified facilities, personnel and information and there are reputable firms in the private sector which provide able counsel on how to protect unclassified facilities, personnel and information.

Notification that a business may be the target of foreign intelligence collection or terrorist activity allows the FBI to respond with appropriate investigative and operational activities to resolve the matter. The procedure is simply to notify any FBI office in the United States or the FBI Legal Attache or U.S. State Department Regional Security Officer in American Embassies overseas.


Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude my opening statement by advising the committee of the cooperation that exists between government programs concerned with the issue of "Protecting American Interests Abroad" especially those in the awareness community. The FBI's ANSIR Program coordinates all overseas activity in which it is requested to engage with the U.S. Department of State. In fact, FBI Deputy Director Thomas Pickard is a member of the Overseas Security Advisory Council Executive Board. As noted above, ANSIR has been sponsored by the Defense Security Service and has conducted joint presentations both in the United States and overseas.

We think the ANSIR Program is a "good news" program. I hope this information has been helpful and I look forward to answering any questions you have.

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