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technology based on enhanced RDT&E efforts. Our goal for sensors and rapid readout technology for chemical and biological agents should be no less than our current
capability for nuclear and radiological agents. Much is being done in that area; more is needed.
Statutory and Regulatory Authorities
With a full appreciation for out important and unique civil rights and liberties, we proposed, almost two years ago, important steps to improve intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.
We recommended a thorough review, by a panel of Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and knowledgeable citizens outside the Federal government, of the terrorism portion of the Attorney General's "Domestic Guidelines." We examined the guidelines, which establish conditions under which an FBI agent can open an inquiry into possible terrorist activity inside the United States. The guidelines appeared to us to be adequate in scope but have been rendered confusing and ambiguous by successive redrafting over the years, leading to misunderstanding and uneven application among law enforcement agents. We did not suggest that the guidelines be rescinded or that the underlying requirement for them is not sound. We recommended that the panel review the domestic guidelines for clarity, in the interests of strengthening them, while providing for the protection of civil rights and liberties. We also recommended that the guidelines provide examples of permissible and impermissible activity as further information for agents' decisions. Again, it took the events of last Fall to cause that to happen.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) governs domestic national
security investigations.3 The procedures in place in the year 2000 of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) in the Department of Justice, required to present a matter to the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court established under FISA, required far more justification than the Act does. We recommended at that time that the Attorney General direct OIPR to modify its procedures to conform to the FISA statutory requirements. That did not happen until after the events of last fall, and with additional prodding from the Congress.
Controls inside our borders that can hamper efforts of potential terrorists-be they foreign or domestic-by denying them their "tools of the trade," can be established or strengthened without additional authority. We recommended that the Department of Justice, in consultation with appropriate committees of the Congress as well as knowledgeable members of the scientific, health, and medical communities, and State and local government, continually review existing statutory authorities and regulations. The purpose would be to propose specific prohibitions, or at least mandatory reporting procedures, on the domestic sale and purchase of precursors and special equipment that pose a direct, significant risk of being used to make and deliver CBRN weapons or
agents. Some improvements have been made in this area; others are still urgently needed.
An identification of such precursors and equipment should be made in an Executive Order or regulations, coordinated with all relevant Federal health and law enforcement agencies.
Forensics Capabilities to Identify Terrorist Unconventional Weapons
We have today effective forensic capabilities to detect and identify conventional weapons, including high-explosive devices and associated mechanisms, as well as sophisticated techniques for identifying perpetrators.5
Given the potential for terrorists to resort to chemical and biological weapons, developing a comparable forensics capability for such weapons is a clear priority. In 2000, we recommended that the federal government foster research and development in forensics technology and analysis. Those steps will involve either the development of a new program in a specific agency, or the consolidation of several existing programs. We also recommended the implementation of an Indications and Warning System for the rapid dissemination of information developed by enhanced forensics. If we can improve significantly our forensics capability, the new national alert system would much more effective in disseminating information on credible threats.
These efforts should include Federal assistance to State and local forensics capabilities. Some terrorist threats or actual attacks may initially appear to be some other form of criminal conduct, and Federal involvement may not be implicated.
Enhancements at State and local agencies will not only facilitate early identification, but will also support subsequent criminal investigations.
If terrorists know that the nation has the capability to detect and identify devices and perpetrators--so that the "return address" can be determined-deterrence is enhanced accordingly.
"The FBI's internal laboratory and others available to it collectively are, without question, the best in the world.
Information Sharing and Improved Threat Assessments
Several agencies have made strides in enhancing information sharing. Notable examples include efforts by the FBI to implement fully its Joint Terrorism Task Force
(JTTF) program and to provide information on combating terrorism to response entities through its web-based system, Law Enforcement Online (“LEO”), as well as the formation of the US Attorneys Anti-Terrorism Task Forces. The Panel has anecdotal evidence to suggest that these efforts, while well intentioned, continuing to be confusing, duplicative, non-standard, and bifurcated in both structure and implementation.
In 2000, we determined that a comprehensive dissemination system must be developed to provide information through expanded law enforcement channels, and through regional FEMA offices into State emergency management channels, for further dissemination to local response entities. As part of that process, we recommended the creation of a system for providing some form of security clearance to selected State and local officials nationwide, and methods for disseminating classified information to those officials in near real time. We said that one product of that process should be timely threat assessments, in which the FBI must be an integral part. The FBI had, in 2000, undergone a reorganization that consolidated several related entities into a new Counterterrorism Division, with an Assistant Director at its head. We said that that division needed more internal analytic capability. As a result, we recommended that the FBI consider implementing a “Reports Officer" or similar system, analogous to the process used by the Central Intelligence Agency, for tracking and analyzing terrorism
indicators and warnings. Once again, it took the events of last year for that imperative to sink in.
To promote the broadest dissemination of information to the largest audience of response entities, we recommended, in December 2000, that the Federal government develop a protected, Internet-based, single-source web page system, linking appropriate combating terrorism information and databases across all applicable functional disciplines. The new National Strategy for Homeland Security now calls for exactly that type of system, consistent with our recommendation in the 2nd report.
Third Report Recommendations on Intelligence and Information Sharing
As noted earlier, the Advisory Panel held a regular meeting on August 27 and 28, 2001. Among its approved list of recommendations are those dealing with intelligence and information sharing, described below. At an emergency meeting of the Panel two weeks after the attacks, the Panel reconfirmed each of those recommendations approved before the attacks and did not add a single new one.
For that Third Report, we conducted a nationwide survey of state and local response entities. All State and local organizations surveyed strongly indicated that the Federal government should provide threat and risk assessment information and that the Federal government should provide intelligence about terrorist activities. As a result, we recommended that agencies of the Federal government increase and accelerate the sharing of terrorism-related threat assessments and intelligence with appropriate State and local officials and response organizations. Steps taken by the Attorney General for U.S. Attorneys to develop protocols for sharing more information developed at the Federal level with States and localities, provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and initiatives by the Congress could significantly enhance preparedness and response. In
making the announcement of new Justice Department initiatives, the Attorney General