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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
are strict 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. 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. Commissioner, it doesn't get any better than that.
[The prepared statement of Commissioner Norris follows:]
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Remarks from Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris
Good Morning ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored that you have invited me here to speak with you today. I'm proud to represent the Baltimore Police Department, and I hope the information discussed today leads to better intelligence sharing between local and federal agencies. Unfortunately in the past year it has not improved to an acceptable level.
In October of 2001 Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and I testified before the House Committee on Government Reform on this very issue of information sharing. We pointed out that the FBI had less than 12,000 agents at the time, while local law enforcement had nearly 650,000 officers. We stressed that police officers, not federal agents, were in touch with millions of people everyday and we needed to know what the FBI knows about threats, tips, or even just rumors about terrorism. One year later the situation is much the same.
Today I am prepared to share with you several examples of suspicious activity that has taken place in Baltimore. In most of these cases my officers uncovered the information which led to these investigations, and in almost every one of these cases a federal agency did little if anything to work with the Baltimore Police Department. In one particular case a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation told me they were not investigating a particular suspect. However, after my detectives continued to
research this person, the FBI contacted us to ask why a computer had alerted them that our agency was still looking into this suspect? Despite what I had been told, there was an ongoing investigation on this person.
One of the questions I was asked to discuss today is 'what are the impediments to intelligence sharing among local, state, and federal agencies'? The answer is simple; the federal government is that impediment. Information from federal agencies is still fragmented and inconsistent. When the federal alert status was raised on September 11, 2002 I heard of it the same way the rest of the country did, on television. In the past year I have asked the FBI several times for a full briefing on all Baltimore based investigations involving international/national terrorism; that meeting has never happened. Why have you heard so little about this huge information gap between local and federal law enforcement? Unfortunately, some of the blame must fall on police chiefs throughout the country who privately complain that they have no idea what the feds may be working on in their area... but for reasons known only to them they have decided not to speak out.
In closing, I want to remind you that this new war on terrorism will be most effectively fought through the oldest law enforcement strategy there is, human intelligence. In the end, people deliver bombs, bio-warfare, and bullets... and they are sharing their plans with others. Shouldn't we be doing the same?
The Baltimore office of the FBI has close to 60 agents to cover this city. The INS has 20 special agents assigned here in Baltimore. I have 3200 sworn officers, and more than 500 civilians policing this city. Both the math, and the logic, is staggering.
TESTIMONY OF EDWARD NORRIS, COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
CITY OF BALTIMORE Mr. NORRIS. It sure doesn't. Is this televised?
Mr. CHAIRMAN, thank you for inviting me. This is my third time testifying. Actually, following the Senator's remarks, I would like to decline to read my written testimony that has been submitted for the record, obviously, but would prefer to share a couple of stories that are going on right now in Baltimore, which as you know is a mid-sized American city, and I would just like to talk about some of the problems we are encountering at the ground level.
I think I have chosen to do this, because after hearing all of the testimony from Governor Gilmore on, I think it kind of underscores the problems we are facing at the very local level, because if indeed the Federal Government says there is a 100 percent chance we will be hit again, and as we have heard from the previous testimony, it is going to be a local response, of course, we are still encountering difficulties defending our cities, despite the improvements made. I would just like to talk about a few of them people may or may not know about. All of them I will talk about I can now, because they have been out in the public or press. I will leave out names and addresses if they are pending investigations.
One of the things I found rather chilling is something that happened on September 10, and I have to go back to my experience with the New York City police about 12 years ago, because there are striking similarities in both the findings and the response.
But on November 5, 1990, I was a lieutenant with the New York City Police Department, and, as we all know, there was an assassination of a radical Jewish leader in the Marriott Hotel on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. After he was killed, the assassin ran out of the ballroom onto Lexington Avenue, jumped into a Yellow Taxicab, jumped immediately out, was confused, encountered a police officer who he shot, was shot in return fire and wounded at the scene. We had our arrest of our murderer.
Going through his pockets and his papers, obviously we found out where he lived. Upon arriving at his house, we found other gentlemen, also I believe from Egypt, who answered the door. What do you think they did for a living? They were New York City cabdrivers, who admit being at the scene at the time of the homicide. So it was pretty clear to us he jumped in the wrong taxi.
We did a search warrant of the house, and in the warrant we came up with huge, voluminous, according to sources I have spoken to, the biggest al Qa'ida seizure on American soil still. There were photographs of New York City landmarks, writings in Arabic and Farsi, diagrams and notebooks and the like. All these things were seized by us and the New York City police and brought back to my office.
The next day, of course, we gave a briefing to our superiors. The question that was posed to me and my detectives was, can you tell me this man acted alone, a lone gunman, to which the response was of course not. He at least had two other people with him, the getaway drivers.
We were told you shut up. You handle the murder, we will handle the conspiracy, they being the Joint Conspiracy Task Force. From that day on our times were turned over, the cases went in