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said, "Increased sharing of information among law enforcement and national security personnel at all levels of government are critical to the common effort to prevent and disrupt terrorist acts. To win the war on terrorism, Federal prosecutors and law enforcement personnel must develop and implement effective procedures for information-sharing and cooperation with their State and local counterparts." The challenge continues to be to put protocols effectively into practice. It is critical that procedures for sharing appropriate information with non-law enforcement entities also be developed. State and local agencies response agencies, including public health, must be equal and fully informed partners in the national effort to identify potential incidents and to respond effectively when they occur. For example, when a possible biological threat is identified, sharing information with public health entities, which can inform further communications with public and private medical care providers, will facilitate targeted disease surveillance, resulting in more rapid identification and treatment of potential victims. There continues to be anecdotal information about the difficulty and expense of getting state and local officials cleared to receive classified information.
Our survey of state and local responders strongly indicated that they are not aware of what is available from the Federal government, both in terms of programs and offices to promote preparedness and, to a lesser degree, what specialized assets are available to support response to a particular type of incident. This lack of awareness of important Federal preparedness programs may inhibit the preparedness of State and local organizations. It also may delay the summoning of Federal support assets by local and
6 Memorandum from The Attorney General of the United States to all United States Attorneys, Subject: Cooperation with State and Local Officials in the Fight Against Terrorism, November 13, 2001.
State responders in the event of an incident. Furthermore, in the short term, as the Federal government reorganizes to combat the terrorist threat, confusion about Federal preparedness programs and Federal response assets could increase. As a result, we recommend that the Office of Homeland Security serve as a clearinghouse for information about Federal programs, assets, and agencies with responsibilities for combating terrorism.
The chapter in our December 2001 report on border security also contained recommendations for improving intelligence and information sharing. Having catalogued the complexity of the border problem we set forth explicit proposals for improvement. Border Intelligence Collection and Analysis
We recommended that the Office of Homeland Security ensure that all agencies with border responsibilities are included as full partners in the intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination process, as related to border issues.'
This process is a “two-way street;" all entities involved must be willing to share information, horizontally and vertically. This will represent a departure from the current "culture" of many agencies to cloister information. We again encouraged the Office of Homeland Security to consider the structure and procedures in our second report for the establishment of intelligence oversight through an advisory board under that office and
'The Attorney General, in coordination with other Federal agencies, recently established the "Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force." The purpose of the Task Force is to gather, coordinate, and disseminate information (including intelligence and other national security information) among law enforcement and other appropriate agencies (including the State Department) to enable them to have extensive, real-time information on potential terrorists and terrorist activities.
for the establishment of intelligence tasking, collection, analysis, and assessment
capabilities in that office.
The full, timely analysis and dissemination of information among affected Federal, State, and local agencies may be critical in preventing the movement of foreign terrorists and their weapons across our borders. Some interagency agreements for border security do exist, notably the Memorandum of Agreement on Maritime Domain Awareness among the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Department of State. We said last year that the Congress needs to revisit the funding for such programs; all affected agencies are not involved in a fully coordinated and integrated process. As acknowledged by several Federal agencies:
[N]o single framework exists to effectively look at threats across the broad
As a result, we recommended that the Office of Homeland Security create a “Border Security Awareness" database system to collect and disseminate information about immigration and border control; and that the Congress mandate participation of relevant Federal agencies and provide adequate resources to fund it. The system could be
modeled on the existing U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness program. That
Second Annual Report, p. 11.
See Appendix R.
10 Ibid, p. R-2.
program could be expanded to create an interactive and fully integrated database system for all border security matters." It should include participation from all relevant U.S.
government agencies, and State and local partners. These issues are now in large
measure before the Congress in its consideration of the new Department of Homeland Security.
Our Current Deliberations
Chairman and Members, we continue to believe that improvements in intelligence and information sharing are central to the nation's efforts to combat terrorism. They are, as we see it, the most crucial and fundamental requirement. As a result, we continue to consider—including at a Panel meeting as recently as yesterday-ways to improve both structure and process in this area as we build our Fourth Annual Report to the President and the Congress, due December 15. The creation of the new Department of Homeland Security will not solve all of these issues. In some ways, it may in fact impede the appropriate collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence and information. It will, it appears, be yet another "customer" of intelligence for the Intelligence Community, and will have no collection and little analytical capability of its own. Its creation will, for example, also do little to solve the problem of the FBI recasting its efforts from purely law enforcement to detection and prevention.
The Advisory Panel will continue to be prudent and judicious in its recommendations, especially those dealing with intelligence and information, always
11 James Ziglar, Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, announced on December 6 that INS will enter the names of more than 300,000 foreign nationals, who have remained in the country illegally after they were ordered deported, into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database. Previously, the government did not pursue most people who ignored orders to leave the country.
considering as an overarching concern the impact of any legal, policy, or process changes on our civil rights and liberties. But we will also be decidedly outspoken on matters that we believe need to be addressed, and will be relentless in our pursuit of the best solutions. Chairmen and committee members, this is not a partisan political issue. It is one that goes to the very heart of our national security, our public safety, and our uniquely American way of life. We have members on our panel who identify with each of the major national political parties, and represent views across the entire political spectrum. They represent all levels of government and the private sector, and all the key disciplines that are needed to address these issues effectively. We urge Members on both sides of the aisle, in both Houses of the Congress, to work with the Executive Branch to bring some order to this process and to help provide national leadership and direction to address these critical issues. The proposed Department of Homeland Security represents but one part of the issue. We must not let our focus on this one piece preclude our ability to look at the larger strategic picture in making America safer and more secure.
Thank you again for this opportunity.