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hibit further dissemination without their approval. Thus, an agency may receive very important information that could be of use to a third agency that is not a recipient, but may be unable to share it because of the caveat. Although this matter can be resolved through agreed-upon procedures, the process can be lengthy and cumbersome, and may not meet the near real-time lines often required to track and apprehend terrorist suspects.
We were told that because information sharing is inconsistent and haphazard, agencies have tried various means available to them to circumvent the hurdles. These include signed memorandums of agreement with other agencies, the use of detailed employees to other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, participation in joint task forces, and attempts to design and field common databases.
I want to, at this point, just briefly go through what a number of different agencies told us during our staff discussions with them, and I will start with the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration. Following the hijacking of a TWA aircraft in the MidIdle East in the mid-1980s, the FAA established a small office, which is now a part of the Transportation Security Administration, to review the incoming intelligence regarding threats to aviation. The intelligence is translated into information circulars, emergency amendments and security directives for the aviation industry.
The circulars and directives are issued to domestic and foreign airlines, and to the airports to advise them of current and potential terrorist threats. They are also provided to the Intelligence Community and law enforcement agencies. Prior to September 11, the FAA had issued a number of circulars and directives as a direct result of intelligence received from the Intelligence Community regarding extremist Islamic groups.
These FAA publications advised the airlines of the methods that might be used by such groups to hijack an airplane or to plant explosives in airplanes. None, however, has been found that discussed crashing planes into buildings. The Intelligence Community is required by law to provide the Department of Transportation with intelligence concerning international terrorism.
As a result, the Department receives intelligence from the CIA, the Department of State, the FBI, the NSA and DIA. However, transportation officials advised the staff that they do not believe that they receive all the available intelligence that is needed to perform their mission. In their view, the agencies that collect the information make decisions on what is relevant for and what should be shared with the Department of Transportation. The issue reportedly is one of context and depth of understanding. By not receiving the sum total of the intelligence on all transportation issues, the Transportation Security Administration may not be able to connect events or to link suspicious activities.
TSA officials stated that although they can submit their requirements to the Intelligence Community through established procedures, there is nothing that requires the community to collect against those requirements.
Turning to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS, the INS maintains records on all visitors who arrive in the United States. INS officials told the staff that the Law Enforcement Sup
port Center, or the LESC, in Burlington, Vermont is a key datasharing center designed to support other law enforcement agencies. The LESC assists in determining the status of detainees or to find persons.
INS officials stated that the August 2001 notice to watchlist Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar was not accompanied by any specific notation that indicated that the INS should use all means possible to find these two suspects. INS officials said that, had they been told to put the highest priority on the search, they would have used the LESC and believed they may have found the two suspects prior to September 11.
The Defense Intelligence Agency: The Director of DIA chairs a standing committee that serves as an integrating mechanism for the Department of Defense. It is called the Military Intelligence Board, or MIB. DCI representatives usually attend and participate in its discussions. Over time, the MIB has wrestled with information-sharing issues prior to September 11. According to DIA representatives, information-sharing issues, such as restrictive caveats, handling of information in virtual and collaborative work spaces, limited distribution to senior officials only and support to homeland defense, have been discussed by the MIB since at least the mid-1990s.
For example, the need to establish an information-sharing mechanism was addressed at least as early as February, 1995, in the context of multi agency operations in Haiti. Senior DIA officials told the staff that information-sharing issues are not new to the Intelligence Community and are not limited to the context of September 11. According to them, the basic legal community cultural and technological barriers have been understood for years.
After the USS Cole attack, the DIA reportedly took significant steps to alter its structure, processes and policies associated with terrorism analysis. DIA officials advise that the DIA now challenges its analysts to think out of the box and to exploit all relevant information, including open source reporting. They also stated that DIA has implemented mechanisms that allow more effective receipt and dissemination of critical intelligence information. According to DIA personnel, there have been mixed results with the Intelligence Community partnerships. For example, the mere act of assigning an analyst to another organization does not always ensure a greater level of access to information or more open sharing of information.
DIA acknowledged that its analysts who are detailed to counterpart organizations do not have unfettered and unconditional access to all relevant terrorist information. Former DIA Director Admiral Thomas Wilson explained to the staff that information sharing implies that one "owns" the information, a concept with which he does not agree. According to Wilson, agencies need to change their culture and shed the belief that they own the information; the information belongs to the United States Government and the entire Intelligence Community, at least in his view.
Turning to the Department of Treasury, several Treasury Department components receive intelligence relating to financial matters from the CIA, the NSA, the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Officials in Treasury's financial crimes enforcement network
and the U.S. Customs Service reported to the staff that they submit intelligence requirements to the Intelligence Community but have no assurance that the intelligence will be collected and provided to them on a timely and regular basis.
The Secret Service at Treasury does occupy a unique position because of its primary mission to protect the President. According to the Secret Service, it does receive the intelligence that is necessary for it to perform that particular mission. Post September 11, U.S. Customs officials used information available in Treasury databases to develop a comprehensive analysis of the travel, finances and linkages of the hijackers.
Specifically, U.S. Customs Service analysts used suspicious activity reports, currency or monetary instrument reports and currency transaction reports obtained from the Treasury Department. Much of the analysis was completed by November, 2001. Customs officials advised that the majority of the information used in that analysis to show the domestic and international activities and associations of the hijackers came from law enforcement databases, specifically the Interagency Border Inspection System, or IBIS, and not from intelligence. According to the Customs Service, there are over 30,000 users of IBIS, but it has no formal connection apart from the FBI's participation to the Intelligence Community.
Turning to the Department of State, State Department officials advised the staff that at least 1,500 CIRs, Central Intelligence reports, containing terrorist names, were not provided to the TIPOFF watchlisting program until after September 11, 2001.
After an analysis of those CIRS was completed, the names of approximately 150 suspected terrorists were identified and 58 new suspected terrorist names were added to the TIPOFF watchlist. State Department officials advised that they have had continuing difficulty obtaining data for watchlisting purposes from the national crime information centers interstate identification index that is managed by the FBI. The events of September 11, 2001, have led to an almost universal acknowledgment in the U.S. Government of the need for consolidating and streamlining collection, analysis and dissemination of information concerning threats to the United States and its interests.
According to the President's national strategy for homeland security, intelligence contributes to every aspect of homeland security and is a vital foundation for the homeland security effort. The strategy recognizes that U.S. information technology is the most advanced in the world, but that our information systems have not adequately supported the homeland security mission.
According to the strategy, the U.S. Government spends about $50 billion per year on information technology, but the systems purchased are not compatible between the agencies of the Federal Government or with State and local entities. The strategy acknowledges that legal and cultural barriers often prevent agencies from exchanging and integrating intelligence and other information.
In response to these problems, the strategy first calls for integrating information-sharing across the Federal Government through the critical infrastructure assurance office. The strategy also calls for integrating information-sharing across State and local governments, private industry and among the U.S. citizenry. Using
modern information technology, more information is to be shared among various databases.
Finally the strategy calls for the adoption of standards for information that is in electronic form and is relevant to homeland security. According to the strategy, terrorist-related information from the databases of all government agencies with responsibilities for homeland security is to be integrated. The Department of Justice, the FBI and other Federal agencies, as well as numerous State and local law enforcement agencies, will then be able to use data-mining tools to apply this information to the homeland security mission.
In recent years, a number of commissions established by the Congress have also reported on the ability of the United States to respond to terrorist events and have recommended that steps be taken to encourage closer cooperation between the intelligence and law enforcement communities. One of the mechanisms established by Congress, the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, looked very closely at the issues relating to the sharing of counterterrorism intelligence with State and local officials. The Advisory Panel was established in 1999 and was chaired by then-Governor James Gilmore of Virginia, who will be appearing here as a witness here this morning.
The Advisory Panel issued three reports in 1999, 2000, and 2001. In its first report, the panel reported that State and local officials had expressed the need for more intelligence and for better information-sharing among entities at all levels regarding potential terrorist threats. The reports stated that while the panel was acutely aware of the need to protect classified national security information and the sources and methods by which it may have been obtained, it believed more could be done to provide timely information up, down and laterally at all levels of government to those who need the information to provide effective deterrence, interdiction, protection and response to potential threats.
The panel's second report stated that the potential connection between terrorism originating outside the United States and terrorist acts perpetrated inside the United States means that foreign terrorism may not be easily distinguished from domestic terrorism.
In its third and final report, the panel described the results of a survey it had commissioned that substantiated the view that State and local entities are in need of threat assessments and better intelligence concerning potential terrorist activities. The premise of the panel throughout its work has been that all terrorist incidents are local, or at least will begin that way.
The panel recommended that a Federal office for combating terrorism establish a system for providing clearances to State and local officials and that the FBI implement an analytic concept similar to the CIA's reports officers to do a better job of tracking and analyzing terrorism indicators and warnings.
Finally, the General Accounting Office has also completed a number of reports for Congress that focus on combating terrorism, information-sharing and homeland security. In addition, GAO's written statement for the record for today's hearing emphasizes the need for commitment by the leadership of the FBI, CIA and other
agencies to transform the law enforcement and intelligence communities and achieve the most effective information-sharing possible to combat terrorism.
In summary, the joint inquiry staff believes that much information of great potential utility to the counterterrorism effort already exists in the files and databases of many Federal, State and local agencies, as well as in the private sector.
However, that information is not always shared or made available in timely and effective ways to those who are in a position to act upon it, add it to their analysis and use it to better accomplish their individual missions. Our review has found problems in maximizing the flow of relevant information both within the Intelligence Community as well as to and from those outside the community. The reasons for these information disconnects can be depending on the case, cultural, organizational, human or technological. Comprehensive solutions, while perhaps difficult and costly, must be developed and implemented if we are to maximize our potential for success in the war against terrorism.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement.
Chairman GRAHAM. Thank you, Ms. Hill for another excellent staff presentation.
We will now turn to our panel of distinguished witnesses who were previously introduced. I would like to ask each to take their place at the table. Each of our committees has adopted a supplemental rule of this joint inquiry that all witnesses shall be sworn. So I would ask our witnesses to rise at this time. Anyone else who might be called to testify at this hearing, if they would rise and take the oath also.
Chairman GRAHAM. The full prepared statements of the witnesses will be placed in the record of these proceedings. I will now call on the witnesses to give their oral remarks in the following order. Governor Gilmore, Ambassador Taylor, Mr. Manno, Mr. Greene, Mr. Andre and Commissioner Norris.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilmore follows:]