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  • Steven McCraw
  • Assistant Director, FBI
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the House Select Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism
  • Washington DC
  • July 24, 2003

Good afternoon Chairman Gibbons and members of the Subcommittee. On behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), I would like to thank you for affording us the opportunity to speak to you today on this very important matter, Information Sharing. First, I would like to publicly acknowledge the outstanding support the FBI receives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and our nation's over 17,000 local and state law enforcement agencies. Our ability to share information with all of our partners has been and will continue to be a key factor in neutralizing many threats through a variety of means.

Mr. Chairman, your Subcommittee is evidence that the threat to our homeland is far different than ever before. Worldwide economic, political, social, and technological changes have resulted in a more dispersed, complex, asymmetric threat to our nation. Terrorists, criminals, and foreign intelligence collectors have significantly benefitted from these rapid changes, which have permanently shrunk the world. Yesterday, the most significant threat to the homeland was from nation states that were geographically distant and contained. Today, global networks (terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and foreign intelligence operations) are no longer distinct activities, but rather fluid enterprises that pose a significant threat to the security of our homeland. As you are aware, Director Mueller is reshaping the FBI to meet these new threats.

The FBI has always been a great collector of information; however, the sharing of information was primarily case oriented rather than a part of an enterprise-wide activity. Prior to 9/11/2001, statutory and other legal restrictions limited to some extent the degree of information sharing between the FBI and our Intelligence Community partners. Thanks to the enactment of the Patriot Act, the FBI now can clearly share information much more robustly than ever before. Moreover, in today's threat environment, cooperation rather than competition must be the guiding principle and the recognition that the benefits of sharing information far exceed the risks. We and our partners must have transparency in our knowledge of terrorist threats to the United States. In fact, it is Director Mueller's view that information sharing is the greatest force multiplier in the defense of our nation. For example, the globalization of crime and terrorism poses unique challenges to local and state law enforcement agencies. Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs need access to information far beyond their jurisdictional boundaries to protect the citizens of their communities. Today, events in Pakistan and Yemen can have a public safety dimension in San Antonio, Texas, that the Chief of Police, the Sheriff, and the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety must know about in order for them to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

Since 9/11/2001, the FBI has implemented several information sharing initiatives and others are underway. Collectively, when fully operational, these initiatives will provide an integrated system to quickly deliver information to our law enforcement and Intelligence Community partners. All who are involved in the war on terrorism are continuing to work through very real problems, without preventing in any way the full sharing of terrorism threat-related information. We must not only collect and share more, we much collect and share smarter. Collecting and sharing vast amounts of information without any thought being given to the usefulness of the information collected is counterproductive and wastes precious collection resources, while at the same time drowning the end user, whether he or she is a Chief of Police, Department Head, or Intelligence Community Analyst.

The Intelligence process when properly executed ensures that the information shared is useful and meets the needs of the customer. Intelligence has always been a core competency of the FBI and organic to the FBI's investigative mission. The Patriot Act has created new opportunities to strengthen and expand the FBI's Intelligence capability and allowed us to move from thinking about "intelligence as a case" to finding "intelligence in the case" and sharing it widely with our Intelligence and Law Enforcement Partners.

The collection and timely dissemination of the right information to the right people as part of an enterprise-wide business process is so critically important, the Director has elevated intelligence to program status in the FBI and hired a senior intelligence professional from the National Security Agency. Under her leadership, the FBI has embarked on a 10-week program to develop and implement Concepts of Operations for all nine key intelligence functions. We have already completed a concept of operations for dissemination that focuses on both the form and substance of FBI raw intelligence reports. Our aim is to move from individual production processes to a single process that will be imbedded throughout the FBI. One of our first improvements to our already strong Intelligence Program will be to explicitly link the requirements to the raw product and produce metrics to measure our performance against the information requirements of local and state law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and those of DHS officers, our Special Agents, and other Intelligence Community officers assigned to the newly established Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), in which we, DHS, CIA and others are full partners.

Before I proceed with the remainder of my testimony, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of every FBI employee to thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee and your colleagues for the support you have provided the FBI that is enabling us to overhaul its information technology infrastructure. When completed, every aspect of FBI operations including the sharing of information will be significantly improved.

The most productive exchange of information occurs at the people level working side by side. Currently, there are 84 Joint Terrorism Task Forces throughout the United States with participation from 25 different Federal agencies and hundreds of local and state law enforcement agencies in the 84 Task Force locations. Every JTTF Officer, Agent, and Analyst has a Top Secret clearance and unfiltered access to all of the information.

The National Joint Terrorism Task Force located in the Strategic Information and Operations Center at FBIHQ is comprised of representatives from 35 different Federal agencies. Like the JTTFs, the NJTTF benefits from the combination of experience, diversity of mission and access to the databases of each member agency.

Even prior to 9/11/2001, the FBI benefitted from the assignment of Special Agents to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and the CIA assignment of case officers and analysts to the FBI's Counterterrorism Division. Since 9/11/2001, the exchange of personnel has dramatically increased as has the timely flow of information. The benefits of co-location cannot be overstated. This is why the Administration made the extraordinary decision to co-locate the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, the CIA's Counterterrorism Operations and TTIC in the same facility next year.

The TTIC has already had a positive impact on information sharing throughout the community. As the Subcommittee is aware, TTIC is an interagency joint venture of its partners. The TTIC members include, but are not limited to, the Department of Justice/FBI, DHS, CIA, National Security Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Department of State. Through the input and participation of these partners, TTIC integrates and analyzes terrorist threat-related information, collected domestically and abroad, in order to form the most comprehensive possible threat picture, and disseminate such information to appropriate recipients. TTIC, through its structure, draws on the particular expertise of its participating members, thereby ensuring that the terrorist analytic product takes advantage of, and incorporates, the specialized perspectives of relevant federal agencies. In addition, TTIC will have access to, and will aggressively seek to analyze, information from state and local entities, as well as voluntarily provided data from the private sector. TTIC will work with appropriate partners to ensure that TTIC's products reach not only federal customers, but also state and local, as well as private sector, partners. TTIC provides comprehensive, all-source terrorist threat analysis and assessments to U.S. national leadership. Mr. John Brennan, the Director of the TTIC, and his staff have done a tremendous job in quickly standing up this vital center. The FBI is proud to be full partners in this effort.
I would now like to provide you a quick overview of other FBI information sharing initiatives.

In 2002, the FBI established the position of Reports Officer whose job is to extract pertinent information from FBI investigations and analysis and disseminate it to the widest extent possible. Currently, the FBI has 18 Reports Officers that have already disseminated nearly 2,000 Intelligence Information Reports to the Intelligence Community. We are in the process of hiring 120 more Reports Officers 90 of whom will be assigned to the field, where they will support both local law enforcement and Intelligence Community information needs.

Since 2002, the FBI has sent to approximately 17,000 law enforcement agencies a weekly bulletin concerning terrorism-related information. However, the FBI is not yet satisfied with its ability to provide our law enforcement partners a comprehensive view of the threat. As a result, we are currently establishing an executive briefing capability in the field to ensure senior law enforcement officials receive more detailed threat briefings tailored to their needs.

In addition, senior law enforcement officials need access to classified U.S. Government information and to do so they are required to have a security clearance. As you are aware, security clearances are both costly and time consuming. Nevertheless, since 9/11/2001, the FBI's Security Division has favorably adjudicated over 2,686 security clearances for local and state law enforcement personnel and another 823 are pending approval. This is so important the FBI established an entire Unit to focus solely on the security clearances of local and state law enforcement executives and JTTF members.

Prior to the Winter Olympics, Director Mueller mandated that all domestic and international subjects of FBI terrorism investigations be entered into the National Crime Information Center, providing the over 700,000 police officers in the U.S. query access to the names of known and suspected terrorists. This information is also available to Federal law enforcement agencies and the Department of State.

Training must also be considered as an important mechanism for the sharing of essential information. The better we educate ourselves and our colleagues about the enemy the better we are able to defend against them. All JTTF members receive specialized counterterrorism training; however, local, state, and Federal officers not in the JTTFs also need this type of information including knowledge about the latest trade craft employed by terrorists. We have expanded our counterterrorism training to include another estimated 27,000 local and state officers and are currently evaluating other training initiatives to further increase training opportunities.

An essential component of the FBI's information sharing strategy occurs overseas with our law enforcement allies. Only by sharing information and working directly with law enforcement abroad will we have the opportunity to stop criminal and terrorist threats before they reach our shores. The FBI has 46 offices overseas where we have established solid cop-to-cop information sharing and working relationships, and provided training and forensic support.

The internet provides a cost-effective means to quickly share unclassified information. The FBI's Law Enforcement Online (LEO) provides a secure and easily accessible gateway to this information. Using individual log-on accounts, dual certificate authentication, and point to point encryption, LEO will provide a host of information services and enable the FBI to push information over the internet in a cost-effective manner. To further expand its reach, LEO connects to the Regional Information Sharing System (RISS) which is widely used by local and state law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, through LEO, users will soon have access to OSIS.

Certain information must be immediately brought to the attention of senior local, state, and federal law enforcement officials. The FBI is now implementing a National Alert Notification System which provides us the ability to instantly send text page messages throughout the nation alerting law enforcement agency heads or their designees through their cell phones and two way pagers.

The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) is working with local and state law enforcement to capitalize on pre-existing data agreements to address its crime statistics reporting mission while at the same time provide a national indices that will enable police officers to link subjects and modus operandi throughout the U.S.

Another information gap is the inability to access wide information on suspicious surveillances. The Counterterrorism Report System on Suspicious Surveillance (CROSS) was developed by Department of Defense and is being piloted in the National Capitol Region. CROSS will be accessible through LEO and it enables police officers and Agents to report hostile surveillance activity in a Web environment and receive instant notification on similar activity elsewhere in the U.S.

The St. Louis Gateway project was conceived by the local law enforcement leadership in the St. Louis area to provide law enforcement investigators and analysts easy access to unclassified criminal and terrorism investigative reports from multiple agencies. This initiative will employ link analysis tools and geo-spacial mapping. During the testing phase, previously unknown links between criminal and terrorism reports were identified demonstrating the efficacy of this concept. When successfully completed, this project will be expanded to other parts of the country based upon previously arranged agreements with law enforcement leaders in different areas of the country.

The FBI is also in the process of establishing FBI web pages on Top Secret and Secret Intelligence Community and Department of Defense systems so that it can "post" information on FBI web pages that is easily accessible to the entire community. The FBI also has several ongoing classified information sharing initiatives with its partners in the Intelligence Community that are providing tangible results.

Finally, it is critically important that the FBI leverage the outstanding work that has already been done in the intelligence and information sharing arena. Long before 9/11/2001, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) were working on intelligence led policing and the information sharing issue. In August 2002, the IACP published a report recommending the creation of a national criminal intelligence sharing plan. As a result, the Global Intelligence working group comprised of leaders from local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies was formed to address the goals and objectives outlined in the IACP report. The FBI is essentially a small but determined organization and we recognize that our future success will in large part be as a result of our ability to leverage one of our nation's greatest assets, the over 700,000 dedicated men and women who serve in local and state law enforcement.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today and I look forward to any questions you may have.

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