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Voluntary Interview program.
On October 29, 2001, as a result of the issuance of a Presidential Executive Order, the Department of Justice created the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF). The INS has provided key personnel to help ensure the mission fo the FTTTF: to coordinate federal agencies' efforts to identify potential terrorists attempting to enter or remain in the United States.
In addition to these three initiatives, INS has four full-time special agents from our NSU assigned to the National Security Division at FBI headquarters and two assigned to the CIA's Counterterrorist Center. The INS is equipped to immediately supplement NSU resources when events warrant. For example, immediately following September 11, the INS dedicated additional investigators and INS attorneys to the NSU.
Perhaps the greatest impediment to enhancing integration and information-sharing within the intelligence community is resource limitations. As the number of Joint Terrorism Task Force locations have expanded to all federal Judicial Districts, INS has found it difficult to keep pace. We have roughly 2,000 special agents worldwide. In addition to their counterterrorism work, these agents are also responsible for combating alien smuggling, investigating immigration fraud, identifying employers who have violated immigration laws, and other activities that are an essential part of INS' mission.
With our resources at maximum capacity, it is not surprising that among the challenges facing INS is to thoroughly analyze the information it collects or receives from other agencies. In terms of our antiterrorism efforts, this may be our greatest challenge. The utility of intelligence information is only as good as our capacity to properly analyze it. Currently, the INS has a cadre of only 200 intelligence officers and analysts worldwide. This small cadre of employees provides a great service to the INS and the other intelligence community and law enforcement agencies. The critical nature of this analytical capability is amplified in light of our limited resources, which we must strategically apply to those who pose the greatest potential threat.
While we recognize all the efforts to improve intelligence analysis and sharing, we also understand that more still needs to be done. INS is deeply committed to that effort. We look forward to working with you to continue providing the American people with the level of security that they demand and deserve.
TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH GREENE, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
Mr. GREENE. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the INS concerning information and intelligence-sharing within the Federal Government and between Federal, State and local agencies.
INS sees its function in the war against terrorism in two distinct areas: An external role of safeguarding the borders of the United States against the entry of terrorists and their supporters, and an internal role of identifying, locating, apprehending and deporting aliens who pose a threat to the domestic security of the United States or aliens who offer support and assistance to those who might pose such a threat.
can report to the Joint Committee that since the terrorist attacks on the United States, intelligence-sharing and its application in our work has increased dramatically. Nevertheless, we also recognize that the process of improving intelligence-sharing and joint cooperation in its use is continuous and demands constant commitment on the part of all of the agencies involved.
Regarding our work in safeguarding borders, new cooperation between the INS and the Department of State now permits immigration inspectors to access visa application data during the primary inspection process. These data give inspectors new tools in testing the statements made by an applicant for admission against statements made to consular officers when applying for the visa. In addition, over the past year the use of the Interagency Border Inspection System, IBIS, has been improved with new lookout information, as Ambassador Taylor has indicated, and the INS has expanded the use of that system to include not only applicants for admission into the United States, but also applicants for benefits under the relevant immigration laws.
The most significant changes in information-sharing since the attacks have occurred, however, are in our internal or domestic role. Last month INS began the phased implementation of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, NSEERS.
Initially under this system, INS is requiring the fingerprinting and photographing on arrival of individuals who might pose a potential national security risk to the United States. In addition, these people are required to register periodically with the INS, allowing us to better verify that they are complying with the conditions of their non-immigrant status.
INS has begun to deploy the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, SEVIS, an international-based system that will greatly improve our ability to track and monitor foreign students. This system will greatly enhance our ability to detect those who seek to abuse or exploit our educational and training institutions for unlawful or injurious purposes.
INS special agents have participated in the joint terrorism task forces around the country since 1996. Since the attacks, INS and FBI agents have conducted almost 6,500 joint interviews in connection with the investigation of the attacks themselves or with related counterterrorism investigations. These interviews have resulted in the arrest of over 526 immigration violators solely on the
grounds of immigration law violations in addition to other arrests in connection with the investigation itself.
Finally, a word about INS cooperation and information-sharing with State and local law enforcement agencies. The principal vehicle of the INS for information-sharing with local law enforcement has been the Law Enforcement Support Center, as Ms. Hill indicated. The Law Enforcement Support Center provides real-time information from INS databases to police officers across the country. In 46 States, the process of clearing INS databases is an automated function of the record checks local law enforcement officers routinely conduct. The LESC is staffed 24 hours day, 7 days a week, and provides local police officers with the ability to talk directly to an INS law enforcement technician or special agent about the facts surrounding a specific person in custody.
Furthermore, in August INS entered into a written agreement with the State of Florida under which 35 local law enforcement agencies assigned to regional domestic security task forces in that State were trained in immigration law enforcement and certified to enforce immigration law in connection with their domestic security duties. We are currently engaged in discussions with several other States and localities exploring the possibilities of similar arrangements. These designs significantly increase the level of effective cooperation between the INS and State and local law enforcement officials.
While we recognize that significant progress has been made in intelligence-sharing and in improving the connectivity between the different agencies charged with domestic security law enforcement, we also recognize that still more needs to be done. INS is firmly committed to that effort. We look forward to working with you and the Congress as a whole to increase our domestic security and safety to the level demanded and deserved by our people.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to take your questions at the end of the statements.
Chairman GRAHAM. Thank you very much, Mr. Greene.
TESTIMONY OF LOUIS ANDRE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR INTELLIGENCE, J-2, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Mr. ANDRE. Mr. Chairman, members of the committees, I welcome the opportunity to participate in today's hearings. Thank you very much for the invitation.
The topic of information-sharing is one of exceptional importance and one upon which DIA has focused considerable and specific attention over the past year and a half. Within this topic lies several of the keys to revamping and improving our performance in the war on terrorism.
Within a month of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, DIA took a number of steps to enhance its ability to provide timely, actionable terrorism threat intelligence to Department of Defense entities worldwide. The result of those steps is embodied in the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combatting Terrorism. This reorganization, and, more importantly, process reengineering, was based on two fundamental and deeply held beliefs. Both have to do with today's topic of information-sharing.
The first of these beliefs is that the all-source analysis component of the Intelligence Community, if provided access to a broader base of information, can make a greater contribution to the counterterrorism mission.
The second belief is that there are, indeed, significant amounts of information relevant to the terrorist threat that remain undertapped, underutilized, and/or not subjected to sufficient analytic scrutiny. We believed those two things in the immediate aftermath of the USS Cole attack and we believe them today.
There are a variety of reasons why large volumes of information remain under-exploited. Among the most common compartmentalization due to source sensitivity, narrow interpretation of laws or executive orders, misunderstanding or incomplete understanding of one another's missions and requirements, or a too narrow view of what does and does not constitute terrorism-related information.
I would like to expand a little on this last point, the too-narrow view of terrorism information. I think it has particular relevance to today's proceedings.
I believe we have to redefine and significantly broaden the term "HUMINT intelligence collection" when it comes to terrorism intelligence. For example, looking within the Department of Defense, our military security and investigative components, our military police, special agents, gate guards and the like, are not intelligence collectors. But they do gather and not always disseminate considerable amounts of information they deem to be of little or no interest beyond localized security or criminal concerns.
However, this type of information-stolen credentials and identification, attempts to breach security, robberies, license plate thefts, bribery, or even corruption-when put in the larger context by insightful analysts equipped with good tools, holds promise of additional terrorism analysis successes.
Terrorist activity is by its very nature criminal activity and in our search for relevant information, the signal event or the dot that needs to be connected, we must cast a much wider net and then more rigorously mine, examine and interpret the take.
There are no insurmountable legal, security or technical obstacles to significantly expanding the base of information available to our terrorism analysts. Progress is being made. As noted, DIA has made considerable investments designed to optimize its ability to receive, store and fully exploit a wide range of new information.
In my opinion, one of the most prolonged and troubling trends in the Intelligence Community is the degree to which analysts, while being expected to incorporate all sources of information into their assessments, have been systematically separated from the raw material of their trade. How did this happen? The combination of large analytic workforce drawdowns in the early nineties and voluminous streams of collected data led to a need for more "front end" filtering, packaging and producing of raw data. Thus, the interpretive function, determining relevance, importance and meaning of the raw data, moved further inside the organizations that collected the data in the first place.
This is not necessarily a bad thing and I have great respect for those in the processing and exploitation arena who labor to sepa
rate the nuggets from the noise, to rationalize the irrational and to add value. Theirs is an indispensable function. However, when our so-called all-source analysts are put in the position of basing important judgments on some sources of information or already-interpreted sources of information, that is a bad thing. In the area of terrorism analysis, it can be a tragic thing.
At least for a few highly complex high stakes issues, such as terrorism, where information by its nature is fragmentary, ambiguous and episodic, we need to finds ways to emphatically put the "all" back in the discipline of all-source analysis.
While this is an exceptionally simple concept, I am under no illusions that implementing it will be easy or painless. We will need your help and support to pull that off. I thank you in advance for that support.
Chairman GRAHAM. Thank you, Mr. Andre.
Senator MIKULSKI. May I exercise a point of personal privilege? Chairman GRAHAM. Of course.
Senator MIKULSKI. Thank you very much. I am so delighted that the committee asked Commissioner Norris to come and testify today. This is one of really three testimonies he has given on the topic of homeland security. He brings a very incredible background as both a police officer and in a command and leadership position, serving also in New York and most recently significant experiences we have had in Baltimore, and we are part of the capital region. I believe his testimony will be very complimentary to Governor Gilmore's in terms of our first responders and the people on the frontline. I am just delighted that the committee has chosen one of the best of the best to present testimony.
Chairman GRAHAM. Thank you. Čommissioner, it doesn't get any better than that.
[The prepared statement of Commissioner Norris follows:]