Tag Archives: intelligence

Sen. Tom Coburn on Fusion Center Follies

Kaye Beach
Nov. 8, 2012
Sen. Tom Coburn is hoping that the Senate subcommittee report that he co-authored will spark fusion center reform.    Read the Report and share a copy to your state legislator too!
Nov. 6, 2012

Since the 9/11 attacks, Congress and the White House have invested hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in support of dozens of state and local fusion centers across the United States. After a two-year Senate investigation identified problems with nearly every aspect of the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement with these centers — including irrelevant, untimely or useless intelligence reporting to DHS, among other widespread deficiencies — there is a clear need for reform.

Since 2003, more than 70 state and local fusion centers, supported in part with federal funds, have been created or expanded to strengthen U.S. intelligence capabilities and detect, disrupt and respond to domestic terrorist activities. DHS’ support for and involvement with these centers has centered on their professed ability to strengthen federal counterterrorism efforts. However, as the investigation found, there are significant factors hindering this initial intent to connect the dots in the sharing of terrorism-related information among state, local and federal officials.


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Bringing Home Sweet Deals from Red China

Kaye Beach

Nov. 18, 2011

In the news today-some cautionary tales about doing  business with China.  Oh, and don’t forget to watch out for the tainted Chinese honey on your grocer’s shelves.

Congress Fears Chinese Telecom Gear May Phone Home

Are telecommuniations deals with China good business — or a trojan horse for espionage? Some of Congress’ top intelligence officials are worried it’s the latter. And they’re launching an investigation to find out.

House Intelligence Committee Launches Investigation into National Security Threats Posed by Chinese Telecom Companies Working in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger today announced the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) has launched an investigation into the threat posed by Chinese-owned telecommunications companies working in the United States, and the government’s response to that threat.


Suspected Chinese Spy Co. Comes To Rural Michigan

Oklahoma Joint Committee Meeting on Healthcare Reform OK-SAFE Covers IT, Security and Privacy Issues

Kaye Beach

Nov 3, 2011

I attended the fourth Joint committee meeting on the effect of the federal healthcare reform laws on the state of Oklahoma.

Of course the highlight of the day, for me, was Amanda Teegarden’s presentationHealthcare Reform –
IT, Security & Privacy Issues/Concerns
, on behalf of OK-SAFE.

Amanda presented a clear, lucid and powerful 45 minute presentation of the research she has spent months working on.

The presentation laid bare the ugly guts of the federal health care reform by describing it by its most basic components.

}Health Care Reform – is really about the use of IT to implement a nationwide health information network (NHIN), that will enable the seamless flow of information across boundaries, and that allows a growing global surveillance system to function.

And that;

}Electronic Health Records  – Reform is predicated on the creation of a standardized, interoperable electronic health record (EHR) on every single individual
This system is;
}Cradle-to-Grave – EHRs are used for data collection, aggregation and reporting and are intended to track a person from birth to death. (Longitudinal)
}EHRs are universal and to be shared globally – not only within our government, but with foreign governments, universities, and other third parties.
}Requires Standardization and Interoperability – to establish uniformity and compatibility in data collection, regardless of jurisdiction
It gets really personal;
}EHRs include each person’s genetic information – and will be used for research purposes without the knowledge or consent of the person
Not to mention;
}Rights killing – Health care reform, and other data collection networks, do an “end-run” around search warrants and nullify our inherent rights to life, liberty and property.

The presentation was split into six sections

Part I The Federal Data Hub/IT/Digital Everything

Part II Health Care Reform Defined/National Standards/Global Adoption

Part III Office of the National Coordinator/                                             Government+Industry +Academia = PPPs /One “Fused” System

Part IV State Initiatives

Part V Privacy & Security

Part VI Conclusion

Your personal, medical information flows from you to the health IT data collection system to the prying eyes of the federal government and research universities to the private sector and even foreign organizations.

Especially noteworthy were the points made about the inclusion of health information into law enforcement and intelligence data fusion.

Fusion Center: A collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise, and/or information to the center with the goal of maximizing the ability to detect, prevent, apprehend, and respond to criminal and terrorism activity. Source: Recommended Fusion Center Law Enforcement Intelligence Standards March 2005

Purpose – the elimination of any barrier to information exchange and sharing, regardless of jurisdiction.  Information is to be shared nationally and internationally.

As noted in the notes section of slide 31;

The Fusion Center Guidelines have now been updated to incorporate public health and health care community information.

This is possible due to policy changes allowing the seamless flow of information across boundaries, and because all state systems, including the health care system use common sets of standards and are interoperable.  Both the Fusion Centers and the Health Care System are NIEM Compliant – both are part of the Nationwide Health Information Network.

The result – one fused system.

Read more about the integration of “public health and healthcare communities into the homeland security intelligence and information sharing process.” here

and here- Health Security: Public Health and Medical Integration for Fusion Centers

In short, when it comes to privacy, there is none.

Slide 41 touches up our medical and genetic information used for research purposes.

There are a few other surprises and outrages contained in the presentation, so be sure to take a look at it.

Amanda concludes;

The American People Are NOT Slaves – Nor simply ‘carbon-based life forms’[as one federal document refers to us]

Government, via health care reform and other federal initiatives, is establishing a globally networked and integrated  intelligence enterprise – one that includes an extraordinary amount of extremely personal, detailed information about the America people.

Government, in it’s attempt to be an all-knowing technocratic “god” and to satisfy the IT industry’s insatiable, ever-changing appetite, is doing an end-run around human dignity and nullifying our God-given rights to life, liberty and property.

And gives the joint committee seven recommendations;

1.Repent – not kidding here
2.Do not establish a state-based Health Insurance exchange – it will be the same as the Federal government’s version
3.Allow people to escape HIT/HIE system without penalty;  do not penalize providers who opt not to adopt EHRs or participate in this system
4.Repeal state laws that prohibit individuals from seeking alternative health care services,  i.e. homeopathic medicines or non-traditional treatments
5.Terminate the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust
6.Audit the Oklahoma Health Care Authority – expenses outweigh benefits
7.Adhere to the OK Constitution – work to restore liberty

View OK-SAFE’s presentation here

Go to  www.okhealthcare.info for information on this and past joint committee meetings.

Getting the Gist of GIS-Geographic Information Systems

Kaye Beach

April 18, 2011

“The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable.”    U. S. Privacy Study Commission

GIS- Geographic Information System

“GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data related to location. What separates GIS from other types of information/databases is that everything is based on location (georeference).” Link

“GIS organizes geographic data so that a person reading a map can select data necessary for a specific project or task. A thematic map has a table of contents that allows the reader to add layers of information to a basemap of real-world locations. For example, a social analyst might use the basemap of Eugene, Oregon, and select datasets from the U.S. Census Bureau to add data layers to a map that shows residents’ education levels, ages, and employment status.” Link

GIS is promoted as a valuable management tool for almost every imaginable aspect of society worldwide.

“Understanding the Earth as a system requires that our scientific information systems be conceptualized in such a way that they are capable of interfacing with one another and ultimately able to function as a single unified system” link

GIS is a powerful integrator of information and technology-

“As we learn to link biometrics to biographic, geospatial, social networks and other forms of data, we can develop patterns of activities for both individuals and organizations, resulting in tactical and strategic situational awareness and intelligence advantage.”   LINK

There is one thing you should keep in mind while reading this article; that information about you is valuable and powerful.

Whoever keeps and controls your information has the power to keep and control you.  Our wealth, reputations and perceived worth is bundled into something we call data and this data is, in reality, what we are assessed on in just about every aspect of our lives. From legal or financial decisions to political and personal opportunities-it is the information, the data about us that usually matters most.

Some definitions:

The word enterprise is used often to describe information systems in both business and government so it’s a good idea to understand what the term means.

Enterprise Information Systems– Enterprise Information Systems provide a technology platform that enables organizations to integrate and coordinate their business processes. They provide a single system that is central to the organization and ensure that information can be shared across all functional levels and management hierarchies. (Emphasis mine)  LINK

Geodata- isanyinformation with a geographic component.

GIS Enables Mass Surveillance

Mass Surveillance is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population, or a substantial fraction thereof.

Mass surveillance enables social control

Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group

GIS-What’s it good for?

“Geographic information system (GIS) technology leverages this geographic insight to address social, economic, business, and environmental concerns at local, regional, national, and global scales.”link

This article, The Evolution of Geospatial Technology Calls for Changes in Geospatial Research, Education and Government Management, written in 2009,  provides some useful insight about the potential for GIS technology to help create “more useful results” The authors, Jackson, Schell and Taylor explain that geospatial technologies have evolved and converged with a wide variety of other information technologies over the last fifteen years.

“Now they are of a piece, they “talk to one another” and interact freely in a fertile communications environment of wireless broadband, portable cell phone/computers, sensor-webs and, of course, the dynamically evolving environment of the World Wide Web.”

Jackson, Schell and Taylor explain the value of GIS tech for “industry stakeholders”, who are apparently on a mission to save us all.

“. . .expansion of human population and industry has brought humanity to a point of converging crises, and diverse industry stakeholders see geospatial technology in this context as a critical factor in enabling humanity to avoid disaster”

These GIS experts believe that  enlightened leaders must exert control over people and markets in order to bring about what they believe to be “more useful results” than would occur if people and markets were permitted to self-arrange.  In other words GIS is a tool for the managers and planners of society to control populations and the economy to produce the outcome that they know is best.

Jackson, Schell and Taylor write;

“. . . the market forces that drive the evolution of technology do not meaningfully, or in any disciplined way, take into full account the needs of science and social processes.”

I am no economist but the market forces or the law of supply and demand just observes that if there is a need for something the profit seeking market will oblige and at a price that reflects the real value of the service or good. What do the “needs of science” or “social processes” have to do with it?   Seems like if the market forces are not providing,   then there must not be a demand or the need is not one that can be met through the market.  Maybe they want “market forces” to address something that is beyond its scope and if that is true does this mean they want to bend those forces to serve a purpose it is not capable of?

Jackson, Schell and Taylor have an answer for those like me who might be hopelessly outdated in their ways of thinking;

“Public servants are warned away from the old fashioned approach should leading thinkers and policy planners persist in defending traditional institutional and economic intellectual practices.”

The “old fashioned approach” is the one that still dominates the thinking of many Americans.   I believe that Jackson, Schell and Taylor’s “traditional institutional practices” includes thepersistent idea that every individual has certain unalienable rights not grated them (and therefore not to be taken away from us) by government, as one that leading thinkers and policy planners need to be warned away from.  What should these thinkers and policy planners be focusing on instead?

“The point is, that governments should be thinking strategically about how geospatial technology should be positioned, through policy and law, to contribute as fully as possible to the social welfare and international cooperation. . .” 

Read More about The Evolution of Geospatial Technology

Here are just a few of the sectors of government, society actively utilizing GIS technology;


Regulatory Compliance

“Government agencies use GIS to create and enforce environmental legislation. Services and businesses use GIS to comply with environmental regulations and mandates.

In addition, cooperation between agencies is simplified by the use of a central database that can be leveraged for cross purposes such as financial information, ownership, improvements, and plans.”(Emphasis mine) Link

Health and Human Services

GIS as a tool for the health industry entails leveraging a variety of personal and spatial data for the purpose of “creating a state of health

Location, location, location

Spatial data is is information related to place.

“The old real estate addage that “location is everything” holds a new meaning in today’s world. Not only can location tell us about where we are, it can also tell us about who we are and what we do. The spatial data systems that store and integrate facts about us are becoming just as, if not more, important than the maps that they produce. Location is the unique characteristic that can join disparate data sets and uncover a variety of information about our daily lives.”  Spy in the Sky: Spatial Data Privacy Issues in Geographic Information Systems

The touted benefits of GIS for health are many but the catch is too much to swallow.

You first have to accept the idea that information is equivalent to knowledge or wisdom and then you have to have utter faith that the government health managers will be eternally generous and utterly benevolent to all individuals-always. Personally, I say no thanks…but really, they aren’t asking us to agree.  They are simply doing it.  And they are doing it globally I might add.

The UN’s Millennium Development Goals

Harmonizing health information systems with information systems in other social and economic sectors.

The Millennium Declaration of eight development goals (MDGs) has intensified international pressure to strengthen information systems to monitor 48 target indicators–18 of which are health-related
. . .Geographical information systems provide coherent demonstrations of geographical disparities in poverty, social determinants and service delivery. Several systems are in use, for example, DevInfo has a mapping facility within it, and HealthMapper (42) is a WHO system for mapping public health data. The UN has set up a working group to agree standards and achieve some compatibility in core data and geographical boundaries.”

Barack Obama, September 22, 2010   ” And today, I’m announcing our new U.S. Global Development Policy — the first of its kind by an American administration. [. . .] it outlines our new approach and the new thinking that will guide our overall development efforts, including the plan that I promised last year and that my administration has delivered to pursue the Millennium Development Goals.  Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business

Remarks by the President at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, New York

By 2020, public health information systems in the United States, such as disease registries, will be integrated into grids linked by the National Health Information Network (NHIN) that will utilize the Next Generation Internet (NGI) or Internet2.

The following is from a GIS project report, Reflection and Comment Health GIS in the mid-west: Unexpected developments and directions, by Frank Houghton, Ireland.  The paper mostly focuses on the success of the project but it also includes some of Mr. Houghten’s concerns about the technology and how it is being utilized.

As noted in this report, GIS is being used as a powerful tool for central planning.  Under the heading of central planning falls the correcting the unequal distribution of resourceswhich, of course, is another way of saying “redistribution of wealth

A major focus of GIS should be in using it as a tool to help explore and highlight and fight inequality and poverty” 

Writing about the data being collected and geo-referenced on population health in Ireland, Frank Houghton notes;

“This report included not only ‘standard’ information, such as Census small area population     statistics and deprivation data, but also information from a host of previously unmapped and inaccessible computerised health information systems.”


Mr. Houghton also refers to a “disquieting” aspect of the approach to GIS that emerged during this project.

“. . .the way in which it was discussed was very clearly connected with the issue of control. These overtones bring to mind sociological discussions around the issue of technology as a tool of oppression”

Houghton concludes;

. . .It is apparent that GIS has the potential to not merely maintain the status quo, but to be used actively as a means of management command and control.”

Frank Houghton Irish Centre for Research on Applied Social Studies, Limerick Institute of Technology and National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis

GIS is the Great Integrator

“Today’s GIS is foundational—it is based on open technologies and industry standards, meaning that it integrates fully with existing information systems. . . Geographic information systems bring together data from any source.” (Emphasis Mine)  IACP

“Geographic Information System (GIS) technology can help establish cross-sectoral communication – by providing not only very powerful tools for storage and analysis of multisectoral spatial and statistical data, but also by integrating databases of different sectors in the same format, structure and map projection in the GIS system.”


“As we learn to link biometrics to biographic, geospatial, social networks and other forms of data, we can develop patterns of activities for both individuals and organizations, resulting in tactical and strategic situational awareness and intelligence advantage.”   LINK

Are we starting to get the gist of all of this?

GIS for Global Health

Global Public Health Grid (GPHG)



 The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Center of Public Health Informatics (NCPHI) have forged collaboration on a Global Public Health Grid (GPHG) initiative to enable global data exchange and collaborative development of globally shareable and interoperable systems, tools and services.  GPHG aims to improve global public health by providing a standards-based informatics platform, and collaboratively developing and implementing a wide range of public health informatics applications and services leveraging widely distributed global expertise, thus enabling dissemination and exchange of information across different jurisdictional levels.


Public Health Mapping and GIS

International Health Regulations Coordination

“There is an urgent need to invest in the development and roll-out of a public health mapping and monitoring system at the subnational level in all countries as the basis for global, regional and national responses to the main health threats of the 21st century” Link



2007 A global partnership

“Since its establishment in the 1990s, the Programme has built a global partnership involving WHO Member States, WHO Regional Offices and Country Offices, other UN agencies and bilateral partners, universities and research institutions, collaborating centres, the private sector and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

[. . .]” Public health mapping and GIS enable the standardization of surveillance data from village level to global level and across diseases, as well as the analysis of health-related data from other sectors such as education, environment or official development assistance. In addition, target populations can be precisely located and profiled without time-consuming and costly field research” LINK


Oklahoma Health and GIS

Oklahoma State Department of Health Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Needs Assessment and Requirements Analysis Report of Findings and Recommendations 2008


Historically, the model of GIS coordination at OSDH has been decentralized.


OSDH can better focus mapping activities by continuing with and expanding upon the centralization efforts that were initiated in 2006 with the hiring of the GIS Coordinator and strengthened by the creation of the GIS Advisory Committee. Carefully guided centralization efforts will provide for efficient and effective application of GIS technology. Pg 1

There is a need to normalize datasets and to create agency-wide identifiers for people and facilities to enable higher quality analysis and program evaluation.

The Health Informatics Council and its subcommittees are addressing people identifiers.

Pg 3


In 1994 the Oklahoma Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill that authorized the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to prepare a “Strategy for Developing a GIS for the State of Oklahoma” and created the State GIS Council to assist the Conservation Commission in this project. The Conservation Commission serves as the chair of the State GIS Council. For more information on the State GIS Council, visit their web site at http://www.okmaps.onenet.net.

In 2007, the Council expanded on the initial goals set forth in the legislation, identifying eight primary issues in the development of the strategy http://www.okmaps.onenet.net/mission.htm

More information about GIS development in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Office of Geographic Information

Strategic & Business Plan for Fiscal Years 2008 – 2010

Oklahoma GIS “Next Steps” 

“Expand the GeoCIP® GIS to include social and economic assets,(Emphasis mine) such as demographics, schools, social or cultural groups, business establishments, land parcels, sales or tax records, workforce, etc. for comprehensive asset mapping and economic development planning”

Source-Oklahoma GI Council presentation dated 6 November 2009

Data Fusion Centers

More uses for GIS

Public Safety

Natural Resources

Even more uses for GIS


GIS for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security

Under Public Safety falls Fire and Emergency, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement.  Here are some excerpts from a paper entitled“Breaking Down Barrierswritten in 2009by Paul Christin.   I think gives a good picture of the function of GIS in this area.

Policing, Intelligence, Fusion

How Can This Be Done?

“Geographic information systems (GIS) have long been used by government agencies to build and maintain data and provide numerous services. Local, state and federal agencies have built large spatial databases over many years of GIS use. GIS mapping technology has become more prevalent in law enforcement and homeland security agencies in recent years. Indeed, geospatial capabilities within data fusion and intelligence centers — for both law enforcement and homeland security — are essential for collecting diverse data from multiple sources.              

A GIS-enabled platform integrates existing tools (such as link analysis, remote sensing and computer modeling) and emerging technologies (such as video surveillance, hazardous material detectors, license plate readers and biometric sensors). GIS links information systems with data capture devices and uses geography or the geographic component of data to link these independent pieces into a single, comprehensive whole.

GIS works within IT as the framework to capture, model, identify and manipulate data about behavior. . .To prevent crime or terrorist acts, you need something that can help track and model behavior to understand where problems are emerging. GIS technology can quickly access and integrate relevant variables (the location of incidents, common elements, time sequence, geographic features common to incident types, demographics and other variables) that establish patterns and trends. These results can then be fused with dynamic data feeds (traffic patterns, camera surveillance, 9-1-1 calls, weather, etc.) to develop comprehensive situational awareness.

Information, once captured, can be integrated with other data, analyzed and disseminated to anyone who needs it, no matter the location or agency for which the requester works. It’s a new law enforcement and homeland security IT approach thats changing the way agencies operate in the new millennium.” (Emphasis mine)

Breaking Down Barriers, Paul Christin, Homeland Security Specialist for ESRI  2009

Take a look at the data used with GIS to create “situational awareness” for Homeland Security purposes;

ESRI White Paper: Public Safety and Homeland Security Situational AwarenessGIS Situational Awareness Taxonomy  LINK

Common Data
Sources for Public
Safety Situational

GIS is a core technology in the situational awareness landscape

Data Mining and Predictive Analytics

To address these issues, Information Builders has introduced Law Enforcement Analytics (LEA) to make all these data sources available for officers across the enterprise – providing a solution for intelligence-led and predictive policing. LEA combines many technologies – including traditional business intelligence (BI) concepts such as dashboards and scorecards, powerful ad hoc and predictive analytics, interactive mapping capabilities, data mining, and enterprise search.  LINK

Beverly Eakman on predictive analytics (Yes. She is talking about its use in schools)

“Today, hundreds of seemingly unrelated pieces of data that reveal political leanings and parental views are fed into a “predictive” computer algorithm. What’s a predictive computer algorithm? Well, it’s a mathematical formula that sifts masses of information, then predicts what a person will probably do, given various hypothetical scenarios. “

More on Predictive Analytics

The potential for good that could come from such a massive amount and variety of information that can be collected, analyzed, shared and integrated and referenced by physical location by GIS is fast overshadowed by the realization of the potential for abuse this technology enables.  And that is no idle concern.  It has transformed what was once one of GIS technologies greatest champions into an outspoken critic who hopes to be able to reverse the course of the technology that he once worked so hard to advance.

KU professor helps create emergency response database 2001

LAWRENCE — If there is such a thing as a weapon against weapons of mass destruction, Jerry Dobson is helping to perfect it. .

The database is supported by a geographical information system (GIS) that combines data from a variety of sources, including best-available census counts of every country in the world, terrain and nighttime lights interpreted from satellite images, road networks and elevations. The LandScan Global Population Database provides the distribution of people in sections even more precise than one square kilometer per cell

. . . The database is already popular among several organizations involved in the war on terrorism, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the U.S. State and Defense departments, he said.

. . .While much has been said about this war being unlike any previous one, that point perhaps is best illustrated in the growing importance of the LandScan database. By providing crucial information on population distribution, it is helping authorities balance the need to keep an eye on global developments that affect specific communities.

“I’ve used the expression ‘Global threats to local places,’ and that’s what we are facing now,” Dobson said.


Between 2001 and 2003 Dobson did an about face.

KU researcher warns against potential threat of ‘geoslavery’

March 5, 2003

LAWRENCE — Jerome Dobson wants to make sure his field of research doesn’t aid the greatest threat to personal freedom.

As a pioneer of geographic information systems (GIS), Dobson, a researcher at the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program at the University of Kansas, helped develop the technology that now is commonplace in government, business and practically every aspect of modern life.

Since 1975, Dobson has used GIS for a number of applications — from conducting environmental analyses to identifying populations at risk of terrorism and natural disasters — by combining data sets such as detailed population counts of every country in the world, terrain and nighttime lights interpreted from satellite images, road networks and elevations. Dobson, who is a professor of geography at KU, also is president of the American Geographical Society.

Unfortunately, the same technology that has so many beneficial uses also has the potential to create a highly sophisticated form of slavery, or “geoslavery,” as Dobson calls it. What worries Dobson is that GIS technology easily could be used not only to spy on people but to control them as well.

“It concerns me that something I thought was wonderful has a downside that may lead to geoslavery — the greatest threat to freedom we’ve ever experienced in human history,” he said.

Read More

Here’s one more qualified expert whose words should carry some weight.  GIS is just one more technology that appears to be elemental in what Brzezinski calls the “technotronic era

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society.   Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. […] The capacity to assert social and political control over the individual will vastly increase.  It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date, complete files, containing even most personal information about the health or personal behavior of the citizen in addition to more customary data.   These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

-Zbigniew Brzezinski


An American Stasi?

Excellent article on Fusion Centers from The Freeman

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported on July 25 that “there are 72 fusion centers around the nation, analyzing and disseminating data and information of all kinds. That is one for every state and others for large urban cities.”

What is a fusion center?

The answer depends on your perspective. If you work for the Department of Homeland Security, it is a federal, state, local, or regional data-coordination units, designed to improve the sharing of anti-terrorism and anti-crime data in order to make America safer. If you are privacy or civil-rights advocate, it is part of a powerful new domestic surveillance infrastructure that combines data from both the public and private sectors to track innocent people and so makes Americans less safe from their own government. In that respect, the fusion center is reminiscent of the East German stasi, which used tens of thousands of state police and hundreds of thousands of informers to monitor an estimated one-third of the population.

The history of fusion centers provides insight into which answer is correct.

Fusion centers began in 2003 under the administration of George W. Bush as a joint project between the departments of Justice and Homeland Security. The purpose (pdf) is to coordinate federal and local law enforcement by using the “800,000 plus law enforcement officers across the country” whose intimate awareness of their own communities makes them “best placed to function as the ‘eyes and ears’ of an extended national security community.” The fusion centers are hubs for the coordination. By April 2008 there were 58.

The growth has continued under the Obama administration. Indeed, Obama has also continued Bush’s concealment of domestic intelligence activity by threatening to veto legislation that authorizes broader congressional oversight or review of intelligence agencies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As a result of that threat, the GAO provision was removed from the Intelligence Authorization Act.

Due to secrecy, it is difficult to describe a typical fusion center. But if the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center is typical, this is what one looks like.

Indiana’s center has essentially become an arm of Indiana law enforcement…. It has 31 full-time staffers and two part-time employees. Some … are state employees. Others are assigned to the center from other agencies, such as the FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and Marion County Sheriff’s Department. They are joined by workers from the Department of Correction, the Indiana National Guard, the Indiana State Police, the Department of Natural Resources and local campus police…. There are also private sector analysts on contract. Previously those analysts were from EG&G Technical Services of California. The most recent contract with EG&G called for payment of $1.1 million….

Fusion centers invite reports from public employees such as firemen, ambulance drivers, and sanitation workers as well as from the private sector such as hospitals and neighborhood watch groups. They often operate tip hotlines; this means a “suspect’s” name could be submitted by a disgruntled employee, a hostile neighbor, or an ex-spouse who seeks child custody.

What or who is targeted by this sweeping coordination of data?

To get an idea, let’s look at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) program, which the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said “should be a national model.” In June 2008 the departments of Justice and Homeland Security recommended expansion of the LAPD program to other cities.

In April 2008 the Wall Street Journal reported on a new LAPD policy that compelled officers to report “suspicious behaviors” to the local fusion center. LAPD Special Order #11, dated March 5, 2008, defined a list of 65 suspicious behaviors, including using binoculars, taking pictures or video footage “with no apparent esthetic value,” abandoning a vehicle, taking notes, and espousing extremist views. Local police were converted into domestic surveillance agents.


TOP SECRET AMERICA: A hidden world, growing beyond control

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources, was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.

They are also issues that greatly concern some of the people in charge of the nation’s security.

Read More from The Washington Post


Fusion centers and Data Collection

Fusion centers and Data Collection

Kaye Beach 01/03/10

The principal role of the fusion centers is to compile, analyze, and disseminate criminal/terrorist information and intelligence and other information (including, but not limited to, threat, public safety, law enforcement, public health, social services, and public works) to support efforts to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal/terrorist activity. This criminal information and intelligence should be both strategic (i.e., designed to provide general guidance of patterns and trends) and tactical (i.e., focused on a specific criminal event).

–Fusion Center Guidelines

Fusion Center Guidelines published by DHS and the Department of Justice encourage fusion centers to broaden their sources of data “beyond criminal intelligence, to include federal intelligence as well as public and private sector data. Rather than being constrained by the law regarding what they can collect, Delaware State Police Captain Bill Harris, head of the Delaware Information Analysis Center (DIAC), appeared to feel constrained only by resources: “I don’t want to say it’s unlimited, but the ceiling is very high… When we have the money, we’ll start going to those other agencies and say, ‘Are you willing to share that database and what would it cost.'”


Where Will the Data Come From?

Appendix C of the Guidelines outlines a detailed list of entities that should be included in the local and state fusion center matrix.

(Source Fusion Center Guidelines: Appendix C)

Banking and Finance
Chemical Industry
Hazardous Materials
Criminal Justice
Real Estate
Emergency Services
Public Health Services
Social Services
Hospitality and Lodging
Information & Telecom
Military Facilities
DOD Industrial Base
Postal and Shipping
Private Security
Public Works


According to the Homeland Security Website;

As of July 2009, there were 72 designated fusion centers around the country with 36 field representatives deployed.

The Department has provided more than $254 million from FY 2004-2007 to state and local governments to support the centers.

The Homeland Security Data Network (HSDN), which allows the federal government to move information and intelligence to the states at the Secret level, is deployed at 27 fusion centers. Through HSDN, fusion center staff can access the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a classified portal of the most current terrorism-related information.

The Department has deployed intelligence officers to state fusion centers in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

The Department has also deployed support to fusion centers in New York City, Los Angeles and the Dallas region.



Data mining is the practice of using database software to compile and sift through large amounts of data, often of a personal nature, for the purpose of producing profiles of people, analyzing activity and deducing patterns in the information.

From Digital Person a book written by Daniel Solove, Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School

Data Mining: The NRC Takes on Data Mining, Behavioral Surveillance, and Privacy

The National Research Council released a report on the effectiveness of collecting and mining personal data, such as such as phone, medical, and travel records or Web sites visited, as a tool for combating terrorism. The report, titled Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment, was produced by a multi-year study was carried out at the request of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and NSF.

NRC Findings

“Far more problematic are automated data-mining techniques that search databases for unusual patterns of activity not already known to be associated with terrorists.

Actions such as arrest, search, or denial of rights should never be taken solely on the basis of an automated data-mining result”

The committee also examined behavioral surveillance techniques, which try to identify terrorists by observing behavior or measuring physiological states. There is no scientific consensus on whether these techniques are ready for use at all in counterterrorism

The report says; at most they should be used for preliminary screening, to identify those who merit follow-up investigation. Further, they have enormous potential for privacy violations because they will inevitably force targeted individuals to explain and justify their mental and emotional states.”

According to the NRC;

Automated identification of terrorists through data mining (or any other known methodology) is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts.

Inevitable false positives will result in “ordinary, law-abiding citizens and businesses”being incorrectly flagged as suspects

“Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists”OCT 2008


In 2009, the DOJ revealed that nearly 24,000 individuals had been incorrectly listed on a terrorist watch list—and admitted that the errors caused harm to those individuals and posed risks to national security

Eric Lichtblau, Justice Dept. Finds Flaws in F.B.I. Terror List, N.Y. TIMES, May 6, 2009


Commercial databases. A majority of state and local intelligence fusion centers subscribe to services from consumer database vendors such as LexisNexis, Lexis’s Accurint, and ChoicePoint

ChoicePoint has multi-million dollar contracts with law enforcement agencies


February 2005, ChoicePoint announced that the company sold personal information on at least 145,000 Americans to a criminal ring engaged in identity theft. Criminals used the data to make unauthorized address changes on at least 750 people and Up to 400,000 people nationwide may have been compromised.


Choicepoint’s public information reports have a very high error rate.

In her sample, 90% of the reports obtained contained errors; frequently these errors were serious, such as individuals being identified by the wrong sex.

-Pam Dixon, World Privacy Report

Data Mining or Data Monitoring called Dataveillance by some
may be the least exciting of the techniques used to watch over us but it has the potential to be the most damaging of all.

The potential for harm is a real.

Investigations, whether you are aware of them or not still carries the same sort of risks as any other investigations performed by law enforcement as well as a host of hidden repercussions.


  • Inaccurate info or mistakes leading to prosecution or punishment.
  • Discovery of legal but embarrassing personal details that could do damage to the individual’s reputation, career, relationships etc.
  • Identity theft
  • Discovery of wrongdoing in ones past or present unrelated to purpose of the original investigation which allows this type of surveillance not based on “probable cause” to serve as a dragnet.
  • Being flagged on a watch list which may result in discriminatory treatment
  • Improper sharing or selling of information by government , corrupt employees, or private corporations that could cause you to be turned away for a job, have your insurance premiums raised or any number of undiscoverable forms of discrimination.

Whatever information is being gathered on us, we have no way of knowing about it, much less knowing if it is accurate

Kaye Beach 1/3/10

Report on the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse 2009

Report on the Investigative Data Warehouse

April 2009

Table Of Contents

  1. Overview of the IDW
  2. IDW Systems Architecture
  3. Privacy Impact Assessment
  4. The Future of the IDW is Data Mining

In August 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sought government records concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). After the FBI failed to respond to EFF’s requests within the timeline provided by the FOIA, EFF filed a lawsuit on October 17, 2006. Records began to arrive in September 2007. On April 14, 2009, the government filed a brief stating that no more documents were going to be provided, despite the Obama Administration’s new guidelines on FOIA.

The following report is based upon the records provided by the FBI, along with public information about the IDW and the datasets included in the data warehouse.

I. Overview of the Investigative Data Warehouse

The Investigative Data Warehouse is a massive data warehouse, which the Bureau describes as “the FBI’s single largest repository of operational and intelligence information.” As described by FBI Section Chief Michael Morehart in 2005, the “IDW is a centralized, web-enabled, closed system repository for intelligence and investigative data.” Unidentified FBI agents have described it “one-stop shopping” for FBI agents and an “uber-Google.According to the FBI, “[t]he IDW system provides data storage, database management, search, information presentation, and security services.”

Documents show that the FBI began spending funds on the IDW in fiscal year 2002, “and system implementation was completed in FY 2005.” “IDW 1.1 was released in July 2004 with enhanced functionality, including batch processing capabilities.” The FBI worked with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Convera and Chilliad to develop the project, among other contractors. As of January 2005, the IDW contained “more than 47 sources of counterterrorism data, including information from FBI files, other government agency data, and open source news feeds.” A chart in the FBI documents shows IDW growing rapidly, breaking the half-billion mark in 2005. By March 2006, the IDW had 53 data sources and over half a billion (587,186,453) documents. By September 2008, the IDW had grown to nearly one billion (997,368,450) unique documents. The Library of Congress, by way of comparison, has about 138 million (138,313,427) items in its collection.

In addition to storing vast quantities of data, the IDW provides a content management and data mining system that is designed to permit a wide range of FBI personnel (investigative, analytical, administrative, and intelligence) to access and analyze aggregated data from over fifty previously separate datasets included in the warehouse. Moving forward, the FBI intends to increase its use of the IDW for “link analysis” (looking for links between suspects and other people – i.e. the Kevin Bacon game) and to start “pattern analysis” (defining a “predictive pattern of behavior” and searching for that pattern in the IDW’s datasets before any criminal offence is committed – i.e. pre-crime).

II. IDW Systems Architecture

According to an FBI project description, “The IDW system environment consists of a collection of UNIX and NT servers that provide secure access to a family of very large-scale storage devices. The servers provide application, web servers, relational database servers, and security filtering servers. User desktop units that have access to FBINet can access the IDW web application. This provides browser-based access to the central databases and their access control units. The environment is designed to allow the FBI analytic and investigative users to access any of the data sources and analytic capabilities of the system for which they are authorized. The entire configuration is designed to be scalable to enable expansion as more data sources and capabilities are added.”

A DOJ Inspector General report explained: “Data processing is conducted by a combination of Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) applications, interpreted scripts, and open-source software applications. Data storage is provided by several Oracle Relational Database Management Systems (DBMS) and in proprietary data formats. Physical storage is contained in Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and component hard disks. Ethernet switches provide connectivity between components and to FBI LAN/WAN. An integrated firewall appliance in the switch provides network filtering.”

  1. IDW Subsystems

    Pursuant to the IDW Concept of Operations, the IDW has two main subsystems, the IDW-Secret (IDW-S) and IDW-Special Projects Team (IDW-SPT). It also has a development platform (IDW-D) and a subsystem for maintenance and testing (IDW-I).

    1. IDW-Secret

      The IDW-S system is the main subsystem of the IDW, which is authorized to process classified national security data up to, and including, information designated Secret. However, IDW-S is not authorized to process any Top Secret data nor any Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). The addition of IDW-TS/SCI, a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information level data mart, appears to remain in the planning stages. The IDW-S system is the successor of the Secure Counter-Terrorism/Collaboration Operational Prototype Environment (SCOPE).

    2. IDW-Special Projects Team

      According to an Inspector General report, “[i]n November 2003, the Counterterrorism Division, along with the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS), in the FBI began a special project to augment the existing IDW system with new capabilities for use by FBI and non-FBI agents on the JTTFs. The FBI Office of Intelligence is the executive sponsor of the IDW. The IDW Special Projects Team was originally initiated for the 2004 Threat Task Force.” By May 2006, the “Special Project Team provided services to 5 task forces or operations.”

      As described by the FBI:

      Special Projects Team (SPT) Subsystem
      The Special Projects Team (SPT) Subsystem allows for the rapid import of new specialized data sources. These data sources are not made available to the general IDW users but instead are provided to a small group of users who have a demonstrated “need-to-know”. The SPT System is similar in function to the IDW-S system. With the main difference is a different set of data sources. The SPT System allows its users to access not only the standard IDW Data Store but the specialized SPT Data Store.

  2. IDW Features

    In 2004, the Willie Hulon, then the Deputy Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division, said that the FBI was “introducing advanced analytical tools to help us make the most of the data stored in the IDW. These tools allow FBI agents and analysts to look across multiple cases and multiple data sources to identify relationships and other pieces of information that were not readily available using older FBI systems. These tools 1) make database searches simple and effective; 2) give analysts new visualization, geo-mapping, link-chart capabilities and reporting capabilities; and 3) allow analysts to request automatic updates to their query results whenever new, relevant data is downloaded into the database.”

    Deputy Assistant Director Hulon also asserted that “[w]hen the IDW is complete, Agents, JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] members and analysts, using new analytical tools, will be able to search rapidly for pictures of known terrorists and match or compare the pictures with other individuals in minutes rather than days. They will be able to extract subjects’ addresses, phone numbers, and other data in seconds, rather than searching for it manually. They will have the ability to identify relationships across cases. They will be able to search up to 100 million pages of international terrorism-related documents in seconds.” (Since then, the number of records has grown nearly ten-fold).

    At the FBI National Security Branch’s “request, the FBI’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has developed an ‘alert capability’ that allows users of IDW to create up to 10 queries of the system and be automatically notified when a new document is uploaded to the database that meets their search criteria.”

    Users can search for terms within a defined parameter of one another. For example, the search: ‘flight school’ NEAR/10 ‘lessons’ would return all documents where the phrase ‘flight school’ occurred within 10 words of the word “lessons.” Users can also specify whether they want exact searches, or if they want the search tool to include other synonyms and spelling variants for words and names.”

    “IDW includes the ability to search across spelling variants for common words, synonyms and meaning variants for words, as well as common misspellings of words. If a user misspells a common word, IDW will run the search as specified, but will prompt the user to ask if they intended to run the search with the correct spelling.”

    In its 2004 report to the 9-11 Commission, the FBI used an example (shown on the right) to illustrate the planned use of the IDW for data mining and link analysis, showing i2’s Analyst’s Notebook. i2 described the program as “the world’s most powerful visual investigative analysis software,” which is able to analyze “vast amounts of raw, multi-format data gathered from a wide variety of sources.”

    By 2006, the IDW was processing between 40,000 and 60,000 “interactive transactions” in any given week, along with between 50 and 150 batch jobs. An example of a batch process is where “the complete set of Suspicious Activity Reports is compared to the complete set of FBI terrorism files to identify individuals in common between them.”

  3. Datasets in the IDW

    According to various
    documents, the following 38 data soures were included in the IDW on or before August 2004. Of these, IDW-S included at least the first six items.

    1. Automated Case System (ACS), Electronic Case File (ECF). This dataset contains ASCII flat files (metadata and document text) and WordPerfect documents consisting of the ECs, FD-302s, Facsimiles, FD-542s, Inserts, Transcriptions, Teletypes, Letter Head Memorandums (LHM), Memorandums and other FBI documents contained within ACS. The ACS system, which came on-line in October 1995, is the FBI’s centralized electronic case management system. It consists of the following components:
      1. Investigative Case Management — used to open a case and assign a unique 9-digit case number, called the Universal Case File Number, which consists of the FBI crime classification number; a two-letter alpha code designating the field office that opened the case; and a consecutive, numerical designator generated by the system.
      2. Electronic Case File — used to maintain investigative documentation, such as interview transcripts. Upon approval of a paper document, an electronic copy of the completed document is uploaded to the electronic case file.
      3. Universal Index — used to maintain index records for a case and allows the searching of records in a variety of ways.

      [NOTE: While ACS is the current FBI case file system, it may soon be replaced. The FBI originally intended to replace ACS with the “Virtual Case File” system. After what the Office of the Inspector General called “FBI’s failed $170 million VCF project,” the FBI now “plans to replace the ACS system with the Sentinel Case Management System. The projected implementation date is 2009.” “When up and running, Sentinel will provide more current case information, audio, video, pictures and multimedia into the IDW system.”]

    2. Secure Automated Messaging Network (SAMNet) — ASCII files in standard cable traffic message format (all capitals with specific header), consisting of all messaging traffic sent either from the FBI to other government agencies, or sent from other government agencies to the FBI through the Automated Digital Information Network (AutoDIN), including Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) and Technical Disseminations (TD) from the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and others from November of 2002 to present. IDW receives copies of these classified messages up to Secret with no SCI caveats.
    3. Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) Documents — Scanned copies (TIFF images and ASCII OCR text) of “all FBI documents related to extremist Islamic terrorism between 1993 and 2002.” These are counterterrorism files that were scanned into a database to accommodate the JICI’s investigation into the attacks of September 11th.
    4. Open Source News — Includes various foreign news sources that have been translated into English, as well as a few large U.S. publications. The open source data collected for the FBI comes from the MiTAP system run by San Diego State University. MiTAP is a system that collects raw data from the internet, standardizes the format, extracts named entities, and routes documents into appropriate newsgroups. This dataset is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) Open Source Data project.
    5. Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) — Lists of individuals and organizations who the FBI believes to be associated with violent gangs and terrorism, provided by the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC). It includes biographical data and photos pertaining to members of the identified groups in the form of ASCII flat files (data/metadata) and JPEG image binaries (none, one or multiple per subject). The biographical data includes the “individual’s name, sex, race, and group affiliation, and, if possible, such optional information as height and weight; eye and hair colors; date and place of birth; and marks, scars, and tattoos.”
    6. CIA Intelligence Information Reports (IIR) and Technical Disseminations (TD) — A copy of all IIRs and TDs at the Secret security classification or below that were sent to the FBI from 1978 to at least May 2004. Intelligence Information Reports are designed to provide the FBI with the specific results of classified intelligence collected on internationally-based terrorist suspects and activities, chiefly abroad.
    7. Eleven (11) IntelPlus scanned document libraries — Copies of millions of scanned TIFF format documents and their corresponding OCR ASCII text related to FBI’s major terrorism-related cases. IntelPlus is an application that allows the users to view “Table of Contents” lists from large collections of records. The user is able to display the document whether it is in text form or one of several graphic formats and then print, copy or store the information. The application allows tracking associated documents on related topics and provides a search capability.
    8. Eleven (11) Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Databases — Data related to terrorist financing. “FinCEN requires financial institutions to preserve financial paper trails behind transactions and to report suspicious transactions to FinCEN for its database. FinCEN matches its database with commercial databases such as Lexis/Nexis and the government’s law enforcement databases, allowing it to search for links among individuals, banks, and bank accounts.” At least one of these databases includes all currency transaction report (CTR) forms on bank customers’ cash transactions of more than $10,000: “In 2004, FinCEN first provided the FBI with bulk transfer of [CTRs]” Over 37 million CTRs were filed between 2004-2006.
    9. Two (2) Terrorist Financing Operations Section Databases — Biographical and financial reports on terrorism-related individuals. According to Dennis Lormel, Section Chief of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section, TFOS has a “centralized terrorist financial database which the TFOS developed in connection with its coordination of financial investigation of individuals and groups who are suspects of FBI terrorism investigations. The TFOS has cataloged and reviewed financial documents obtained as a result of numerous financial subpoenas pertaining to individuals and accounts. These documents have been verified as being of investigatory interest and have been entered into the terrorist financial database for linkage analysis. The TFOS has obtained financial information from FBI Field Divisions and Legal Attache Offices, and has reviewed and documented financial transactions. These records include foreign bank accounts and foreign wire transfers.”
    10. Foreign Financial List — Copies of information concerning terrorism-related persons, addresses, and other biographical data submitted to U.S. financial institutions from foreign financial institutions.
    11. Selectee List — Copies of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) list of individuals that the TSA believes warrant additional security attention prior to boarding a commercial airliner. According to Michael Chertoff, “fewer than” 16,000 people were designated “selectees” as of October 2008.
    12. Terrorist Watch List (TWL) — The FBI Terrorist Watch and Warning Unit (TWWU) list of names, aliases, and biographical information regarding individuals submitted to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) for inclusion into VGTOF and TIPOFF watch lists. Also called the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), the database “contained a total of 724,442 records as of April 30, 2007.”
    13. No Fly List — A copy of a TSA list of individuals barred from boarding a commercial airplane. According to Michael Chertoff, 2,500 people were on the “no fly” list as of October 2008.
    14. Universal Name Index (UNI) Mains — A copy of index records for all main subjects on FBI investigations, except certain records that might reveal people in witness protection or informants. “A main file name is that of an individual who is, himself/herself, the subject of an FBI investigation.”
    15. Universal Name Index (UNI) Refs — A copy of index records for all individuals referenced in FBI investigations, except certain records that might reveal people in witness protection or informants. A “reference is someone whose name appears in an FBI investigation. References may be associates, conspirators, or witnesses.”
    16. Department of State Lost and Stolen Passports — A copy of records pertaining to lost and stolen passports. “The Consular Lost and Stolen Passports (CLASP) database includes over 1.3 million records concerning U.S. passports. All passport applications are checked against CLASP, PIERS [Passport Information Electronic Records System], the Social Security Administration’s database, and the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), which includes information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Marshals Service.” “The overall CLASS database of names has risen to over 20 million records in recent years, including millions of names of criminals from FBI records provided to the State Department under the terms of the USA PATRIOT Act.” “The Online Passport Lost & Stolen System permits citizens to report a lost or stolen passport.” It includes “Name, date of birth (DOB), social security number (SSN), address, telephone number, and e-mail address,” as reported by the citizen.
    17. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service — A copy of past and current passport fraud investigations from the “DOS DDS RAMS database.” The Records Analysis Management System (RAMS) Database “allows all Field Offices, Resident Agent Offices (RAO) and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to track, maintain, and efficiently share law enforcement investigative case information. RAMS contains CLASSIFIED information.” By September 2005, the Department of States was “developing a ‘Knowledge Base’ on-line library that will be a ‘gateway’ to passport information, anti-fraud information, and relevant databases. All passport field agencies and centers can use this system to submit anti-fraud information such as exemplars of genuine and malafide documents, fraud trends in their respective regions, and other information that will be instantly available throughout the department.”

    In August 2004, the FBI was considering adding several more datasets: the “FBI’s Telephone Application, DHS data sources such as US-VISIT and SEVIS, Department of State data sources such as the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), and Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS).” A later document shows that at least “most” of the Telephone Application is now in the IDW.

    The Telephone Application (TA) “provides a central repository for telephone data obtained from investigations.” “The TA is an investigative tool that also serves as the central repository for all telephone data collected during the course of FBI investigations. Included are pen register data, toll records, trap/trace, tape-edits, dialed digits, airnet (pager intercepts), cellular activity, push-to-talk, and corresponding subscriber information.” Records obtained through National Security Letters are placed in the Telephone Application, as well as the IDW by way of the ACS system.

    “The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program is an integrated, automated biometric entry-exit system that records the arrival and departure of aliens; conducts certain terrorist, criminal, and immigration violation checks on aliens; and compares biometric identifiers to those collected on previous encounters to verify identity.”

    The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) is a set of databases that includes “current and archived data from all of the Department of State’s Consular Affairs post databases around the world. This includes the data from the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), ARCS, Automated Cash Register System (ACS), Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), Consular Shared Tables (CST), DataShare, Diversity Visa Information System (DVIS), Immigrant Visa Information System (IVIS), Immigrant Visa Overseas (IVO), Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV), Visa Opinion Information Service (VOIS), and Waiver Review System (WRS) applications. The CCD also provides access to passport data in the Travel Document Information System (TDIS), Passport Lookout and Tracking System (PLOTS), and Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS). In addition to Consular Affairs data, other data from external agencies is integrated into the CCD, such as the ‘Master Death Database from the Social Security Administration.”

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) “maintains information on nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors (F, M and J Visas) and their dependents, and also on their associated schools and sponsors.”

    The Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS) “is a computerized information system designed to identify individuals and businesses suspected of, or involved in violation of federal law. The TECS is also a communications system permitting message transmittal between Treasury law enforcement offices and other Federal, national, state, and local law enforcement agencies.”

    Unidentified Additional Data Sources Added to IDW

    The FBI set up an Information Sharing Policy Group (ISPG), chaired by the Executive Assistant Directors of Administration and Intelligence, to review requests to ingest additional datasets into the IDW, in response to Congressional “privacy concerns that may arise from FBI engaging in ‘data mining.'” In February 2005, the Counterterrorism Division asked for 8 more data sources. While the names of the data sources are redacted, items 1, 2 and 4 came from the Department of Homeland Security, and items 6, 7 and 8 were additional IntelPlus file rooms. The February 2005 email chain also refers to “2 data sets approved at the meeting yesterday” and “2 data set under consideration.” In context, it appears that one of the two approved datasets was IntelPlus, which contained three file rooms. The FBI would “get all of the DHS data from the FTTTF [Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force] including the [Redacted].” In March 2005, the Information Sharing Policy Group approved seven more unidentified datasets for the Special Projects Team version of the IDW. In May 2005, ISPG approved an additional seven unidentified datasets for the IDW-SPT. The IDW Special Projects Team “ingested and published a new telephone-type data source” on two dates: February 18, 2005, and March 18, 2005. In August 2005, the “[Redacted] Reports Collection” was moved from the limited access IDW-SPT to the more widely available IDW-S. “This [Redacted] dataset contains copies of reports regarding [Redacted].”

    Data Retention

    As of March 2005:

    There is no current Disposition Schedule for IDW. We have looked at the system and it is on our list of systems to be scheduled. With no Disposition Schedule, there is really no limitation on importing data, at least not from a records management standpoint. But, they will not be able to delete or destroy any of that information until a Disposition Schedule is approved.

    Nevertheless, the IDW has a process to delete files: “it can occur that data for which IDW-S is not authorized is ingested into IDW-S. When such data is discovered on IDW-S it is necessary to delete this data and to update the Document Tracking Database with the appropriate “DEL” status for the file.” The IDW also has a “secure delete” function.

III. Privacy Impact Assessment

The E-Government Act of 2002, Section 208, establishes a requirement for agencies to conduct privacy impact assessments (PIAs) for electronic information systems and collections.

A May 12, 2005 email from an unidentified employee in the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel to FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni notes that the author was “nervous about mentioning PIA in context of national security systems.” The author admitted that “It is true the FBI currently requires PlAs for NS [national security] systems as well as non-NS systems.” However, the author thought that the policy might change. Accordingly the author “recommend[ed] against raising congressional consciousness levels and expectations re NS PlAs.” Caproni’s response is short: “ok.”

This email was in reply to a May 11 email from Caproni expressing her desire “slide something in about PIA” to a give a “sense that we really do worry about the privacy interests of uninvolved people whose data we slurp up.”

However, this strategy failed. Congressional consciousness levels were raised by an August 30, 2006 Washington Post article on the IDW, in which EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel raised the issue of the IDW’s lack of a formally published PIA.

The day the Post article ran, several FBI emails discussed the privacy concerns raised by the IDW. One Office of the General Counsel employee (only identified as Bill) explained the FBI’s desire to play down the concerns: “I’m with [Redacted] in view that if everyone ([Redacted]) starts running around with their hair on fire on this, they will just be pouring gas on something that quite possibly would just fade away if we just shrug it off.”

After these discussions, the FBI released the following response to the article:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Response to Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) Press Article for Senate Appropriations Committee
September 7, 2006

There are two concerns being expressed about IDW in the article. One deals with whether the FBI has complied with the Privacy Act’s requirement to publish a “systems notice” in the Federal Register and the other is whether the FBI has complied with the privacy impact analysis requirements of the “E-Government Act.”

The answer to the first question is “yes.” We consider IDW to be part of the FBI’s Central Record System, an “umbrella” system that is comprised of all of the FBI’s investigative files. While it is true that “IDW” isn’t specifically mentioned in the CRS Privacy Act System Notice, we don’t believe that is necessary. The system notice does state: “In recent years … the FBI has been confronted with increasingly complicated cases, which require more intricate information processing capabilities. Since these complicated investigations frequently involve massive volumes of evidence and other investigative information, the FBI uses its computers, when necessary to collate, analyze, and retrieve investigative information in the most accurate and expeditious manner possible.” The system notice describes in reasonable detail what information we obtain, what routine uses we make of it, the authorities for maintaining the system and so forth. This notice is published in the Federal Register and is publicly available. In our view, we are compliant with both the letter and spirit of the Privacy Act in this regard.

The answer to the second question is also “yes.” In fact, since IDW has been categorized as a “national security system,” the E-Government Act does not require it to undergo a privacy impact analysis (PIA) at all. Even so, FBI and DOJ policy requires a PIA to be conducted. For IDW, the FBI has done several PIA’s. We did one for the original system and did others as significant datasets were added to IDW. None of these systems were published since the law does not require them to be conducted in the first place. The point is that we have done far more to analyze the privacy implications of IDW than the law requires. Yes, the analyses have not been conducted in the public domain but Congress weighed the costs and benefits of conducting such an analysis in public and chose to exclude national security systems from that requirement when it passed the E- Government act.

For purposes of the E-Government Act, a National Security System is “an information system operated by the federal government, the function, operation or use of which involves: (a) intelligence activities, (b) cryptologic activities related to national security, (c) command and control of military forces, (d) equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons systems, or (e) systems critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions.”

A heavily redacted March 2005 FBI Electronic Communication enclosed a completely redacted Privacy Impact Assessment about the IDW. In August 2007, the Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit of “all major Department [of Justice] information technology (IT) systems and planned initiatives.” The OIG noted that it “did not obtain PIAs or explanations for the FBI’s IDW.”

IV. The Future of the IDW is Data Mining

When the FBI explained the IDW to Congress in 2004, it noted that when FBI Director Mueller testified about the IDW in 2003, he “used the term ‘data mining’ to be synonymous with ‘advanced analysis.’ The FBI does not conduct ‘data mining’ in accordance with the GAO definition, which means mining through large volumes of data with the intention of automatically predicting future activities.”

Nevertheless, in March 2003, the FBI issued its Fiscal Year 2004 (Oct. 2003 – Sep. 2004) budget, in which the Bureau had requested a new “Communications Application”:

The FBI requests $4,600,000 to obtain a software application that is capable of conducting sophisticated link analysis on extremely high volumes of telephone toll call data and other relational data. This software would enable the FBI to leverage modern technology to expeditiously conduct analyses of large collections of relational data.

By 2005, the FBI was still trying to minimize Congressional concerns over data mining. The FBI was concerned that the “distinction between a data mart and a data mining vehicle will be lost on those who just think we are looking into citizens’ lives too much.” On March 1, 2005, an unidentified Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) employee noted in an email (emphasis original):

We had agreed on the following sentence as a way of avoiding some of the intricacies of data mining policy: “Where permitted by law, and appropriate to an authorized work activity, information gleaned from searching non-FBI databases may be included in FBI systems and, once there, may be accessed by employees conducting searches in furtherance of other authorized activities.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that to fly, since that was the crux of the Senator’s inquiry.

In October 2005 FBI emails discuss the response to the August 2005 GAO report on data mining by the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF). “In 2001, Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 established the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF) to provide actionable intelligence to law enforcement to assist in the location and detention and ultimate removal of terrorists and their supporters from the US.” The FTTTF “operates two information systems—one unclassified and one classified—that form the basis of its data mining activities,” using tools such as i2 Analyst Notebook application, Query Tracking and Initiation Program (QTIP), and Wareman. In addition to the FBI, “the participants in the FTTTF include the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureaus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection, the State Department, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency.”

In these 2005 emails, an OCA employee suggested a limitation on the scope of the FBI’s response to Congress: “Maybe we say that ‘FTTTF refers to an operational task force. We understand the question to ask about data mining initiatives of FTTTF.'”

Around the same time, an unidentified Office of the General Counsel employee wrote:

Finally – I’m concerned about the statement that we only have 3 data mining projects in the FBI. In the cover letter, you make the point that our definition of data mining only includes large sets of data but I still think the definition is very broad and could include other systems. For example, what about STAS systems? I am not familiar with those systems -(but we are starting work on a PIA so I will be in the near future) but my sense is that they collect and sift through a lot of data. What about EDMS and some of the other systems that collect tech cut data from FISAs and allow analysts to search through the data for relevant info? I would think that could be considered data mining under your definition – but I’ll defer to the CIO’s office on this issue. We just need to make sure we can distinguish these other projects.

A few years later, however, the FBI became less circumspect about marrying the data sets of the IDW with the data mining capabilities of the FTTTF. For the FBI’s FY2007 War Supplemental budget request, the FBI requested $10 million to consolidate the IDW and the FTTTF “and to develop and deploy a robust infrastructure capable of receiving, processing, and managing the quality of substantially increased amounts of additional data.

In its FY2008 “budget justification,” the FBI explained that “[t]he Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW), combined with FTTTF’s existing applications and business processes, will form the backbone of the NSB’s data exploitation system.” The FBI also requested “$11,969,000 … for the National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC).” It explains:

Once operational, the NSAC will be tasked to satisfy unmet analytical and technical needs of the NSB, particularly in the areas of bulk data analysis, pattern analysis, and trend analysis. … The NSAC will provide subject-based “link analysis” through the utilization of the FBI’s collection datasets, combined with public records on predicated subjects. “Link analysis” uses datasets to find links between subjects, suspects, and addresses or other pieces of relevant information, and other persons, places, and things. This technique is currently being used on a limited basis by the FBI; the NSAC will provide improved processes and greater access to this technique to all NSB components. The NSAC will also pursue “pattern analysis” as part of its service to the NSB. “Pattern analysis” queries take a predictive model or pattern of behavior and search for that pattern in datasets. The FBI’s efforts to define predictive models and patterns of behavior will improve efforts to identify “sleeper cells.”

“The National Security Analysis Center (NSAC) would bring together nearly 1.5 billion records created or collected by the FBI and other government agencies, a figure the FBI expects to quadruple in coming years.” In June 2007, after seeing this budget request and noting that “[d]ocuments predict the NSAC will include six billion records by FY2012,” the House Science and Technology Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the National Security Branch Analysis Center.

In 2008, the non-partisan National Research Council issued a 352-page study concluding that data mining is not an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. The report noted the poor quality of the data, the inevitability of false positives, the preliminary nature of the scientific evidence and individual privacy concerns in concluding that “automated identification of terrorists through data mining or any other mechanism is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts.”



Automated Biometric Identification System


Automated Case System


American Standard Code for Information Interchange


Consular Consolidated Database


Consular Lost and Stolen Passports


Consular Lookout and Support System


Central Intelligence Agency




Central Record System


Consular Shared Tables


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency


Department of Homeland Security


Department of Justice


Department of State


Oracle Relational Database Management Systems


Diversity Visa Information System


Electronic Communication


Electronic Case File


Electronic Surveillance Data Management System


Federal Bureau of Investigation


Financial Crimes Enforcement Network


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act


Freedom of Information Act


Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force


Government Accountability Office


Investigative Data Warehouse


Intelligence Information Reports


Information Sharing Policy Group


Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry


Joint Terrorism Task Force


Network Attached Storage


National Crime Information Center


National Security Analysis Center


National Security Branch of the FBI


National Security Letter


Office of Congressional Affairs of the FBI


Optical Character Recognition


Office of the General Counsel


Office of the Inspector General


Online Passport Lost & Stolen System


Privacy Impact Assessment


Passport Information Electronic Records System


Query Tracking and Initiation Program


Records Analysis Management System


Secure Counter-Terrorism/Collaboration Operational Prototype Environment


Sensitive Compartmented Information


Student and Exchange Visitor Information System


Special Projects Team


Special Technologies and Applications Section


Telephone Application


Treasury Enforcement Communication System


Terrorist Financing Operations Section


Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization


Tagged Image File Format


Transportation Security Administration


Terrorist Screening Center


Terrorist Screening Database


Terrorist Watch List


Terrorist Watch and Warning Unit


Universal Name Index


United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology


Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism


Virtual Case File


Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File


Visa Opinion Information Service


Waiver Review System



25 June 2009

WASHINGTON, June 24 — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the following prepared testimony:

Chairwoman Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A).

On May 18, 2009, I was appointed by Secretary Napolitano to be the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary at the request of Secretary Janet Napolitano. I proudly accepted this new mission at her request and at the urging of many of my friends and colleagues who work in homeland security, law enforcement and intelligence. As you are aware, there currently is no Under Secretary in place at I&A; for now, and for the foreseeable future, I will also serve in the capacity of Acting Under Secretary.

Since this is the first time I have interacted with some of you, I want to share with you a little bit about my background. I served as a law enforcement officer in the State of New York for nearly 31 years and retired as the New York State Police Field Commander in December of 2007. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 was among the most tragic experiences of my law enforcement career. That day impacted all Americans directly and many of us lost loved ones. Two of my close friends, New York City Fire Fighter Samuel Oitice and Port Authority Police Officer Paul Jurgens, were among those killed.

Later in the day on September 11, 2001, I was assigned by the Superintendent of State Police to build an investigative and intelligence-led effort to work with other agencies to prevent, deter, detect, and identify persons or organizations who are trying to carry out other attacks in our country. It was through these efforts that I worked with a number of agencies at the federal, state and local levels – including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – doing similar work. It was through the relationships I developed with professionals at these agencies that I was able to work on a number of programs that are now in place throughout the country and in the nation’s capital to make us safer. I would especially like to thank General Hughes and Charlie Allen – my predecessors – for all of their work in standing up I&A and making it an essential part of the nation’s homeland security effort.

In January of 2008, I was selected by then Director Michael McConnell of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to be the ODNI’s Director of Homeland Security and Law Enforcement. For the next year and a half, I gained a better understanding of the Intelligence Community (IC) and what it does to better protect our country. These experiences with the ODNI have given me a better understanding of the importance of sharing intelligence and information with all of our partners, both foreign and domestic. As Acting Under Secretary, I will continue to leverage the resources of the ODNI in my work at I&A.

During my short time in my new position, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with several Members of Congress and their staffs. I appreciate these interactions and I find them to be informative and helpful. I look forward to meeting and consulting with all of you in the coming months.

I would also like to state that over the past month I have had numerous opportunities to interact with the I&A staff through Town Hall meetings that I have held and informal “walk arounds” during which I have met quite a few of the employees. I have found them all to be deeply committed to DHS’ work and the important role they play in performing the mission that I am going to outline for you today. I look forward to working with each of them.

Finally, I would like to state that throughout my career, I have taken my responsibility of protecting the public and upholding the rule of law very seriously. I have always given my utmost to carry out the mission while respecting the civil rights and civil liberties of the people I serve. I am enthusiastic about the way forward, focused on the challenges ahead, and look forward to working with the committee. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis Mission

As Secretary Napolitano recently stated, the number-one responsibility of DHS is preventing terrorism. Terrorism is the reason DHS was created. More specifically, it is the reason that 22 legacy agencies were joined together. To that end, the primary mission of I&A is to be the recipient and developer of intelligence that creates the kind of situational awareness that we need to stop a terrorist plot in its tracks and save lives.

Critical to this effort is providing intelligence in a useable form to state, local and tribal governments and the private sector. As Secretary Napolitano has said, while there may be a lot of information sharing going on – among and between agencies and departments at all levels of government – the key is disseminating useable intelligence to our state, local, tribal and private sector partners; getting similar intelligence back from those partners for I&A’s “in-house” analysis work; and making this two-way exchange happen on a real time basis. That is exactly the niche that Congress intended DHS to fill when passing the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It is precisely where I will be taking I&A during my service as Acting Under Secretary.

The more than 70 state and local fusion centers that now exist nationwide are an important step in the right direction and, in my view, point the way forward. Secretary Napolitano made it clear at the National Fusion Center Conference this past March that fusion centers are “the centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing for the future and that the Department of Homeland Security will be working and aiming its programs to underlie Fusion Centers.” To that end, we must look at information sharing in fundamentally new ways. Our goal is not just to share a fact or a report, but rather to ensure that fusion centers and fusion center personnel have the capacity not only to gather and share information at the state, local and tribal levels but also to analyze that information meaningfully – to convert what might appear to be bits of unrelated information into a product that can help authorities protect their communities from attack.That also requires I&A to rise to the challenge. It must have at its core an analytical team that accesses this kind of useful intelligence from fusion centers and adds to their analysis intelligence and other information that is available to DHS and other IC agencies about terrorist tactics and plans. In the process, I&A will be well-positioned to create useful homeland security intelligence products that can be shared back with state, local, tribal and private sector partners.

The National Suspicious Activities Reporting (SAR) Initiative, which for the first time creates a systematic way for state, local and tribal law enforcement officers to connect the dots in their own jurisdictions about terrorism and other criminal activities, will be an important source of data for both fusion center and I&A analysis. The engagement of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy and civil liberties organizations in the development of the SAR Initiative, moreover, is the same kind of engagement that I&A plans to initiate and maintain as it refocuses on building a robust and transparent homeland security analysis function. As a former law enforcement professional who well understands the critical importance of the rule of law in making our people and places truly safe, I pledge to you that strict adherence to privacy, civil rights and civil liberties laws and regulations will be the starting, mid and end points of I&A’s homeland security intelligence work under my watch.

As I&A lays out a strategic vision going forward, we will focus on several principles.

Sharing Information With State, Local and Tribal Governments

First, the needs of state, local and tribal governments will drive I&A’s intelligence products. I&A will work closely with state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, emergency managers, homeland security advisers, Mayors, Governors, County Officials and tribal leaders to better understand the types of information they need, and the format in which they need it.

Second, I&A’s production and dissemination process will be streamlined and optimized. Intelligence and other information intended for state, local and tribal authorities will be provided rapidly, using dissemination processes that ensure that all state, local and tribal decision-makers responsible for counterterrorism and other homeland security efforts have the information and intelligence they need to make critical decisions. I&A will work closely with the FBI, NCTC, the DEA and other members of the IC to clearly define roles and responsibilities related to the dissemination of federal intelligence and information to state, local and tribal officials. I&A will work with these same entities to provide state, local and tribal officials all intelligence and information necessary to support investigative activity, protective actions and response planning – particularly during rapidly evolving threat-related situations and major events.

Third, I&A will better leverage state, local and tribal analytic capabilities with the goal of developing synergistic analytical excellence throughout the process. I&A will work closely with state, local and tribal authorities to improve the capability of state and local fusion centers to gather, assess, analyze and share information and intelligence regarding threats to both local communities and the nation. I&A’s representatives in state and locally owned analytic centers will work closely with representatives from locally-based DHS operational components as well as other locally-based federal personnel (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.) to avoid duplication of effort and ensure close cooperation in the sharing of federal information. While fusion centers are the central component of I&A’s efforts to share information with state, local and tribal authorities, they do not represent the entirety of those efforts. Accordingly, I&A will ensure that mechanisms are in place to share information with fusion centers and other state, local and tribal officials as appropriate.

Fourth, I&A will analyze locally generated information to identify regional trends and national threats. Each day across the nation, state, local and tribal officials gather information in the course of their everyday efforts to provide emergency and non- emergency service. This information may serve as the first indicator of a potential threat to the homeland. The ability to blend and analyze information gathered and documented by multiple localities is vital to I&A’s ability to identify regional and national patterns and trends that may be indicative of an emerging threat to the homeland. To this end, I&A will support federal efforts to institutionalize the SAR Initiative.

Improving Coordination Among DHS Components

The consolidation of 22 legacy agencies into today’s DHS was intended to enhance federal homeland security efforts by enabling closer operational coordination and eliminating duplications in mission-related activities. In order to strengthen the ability of the various components to function as a unified department, I&A must coordinate, centralize, and integrate information and intelligence sharing activities across components that are distinct in their missions and operations – thereby structuring a true DHS Intelligence Enterprise. At the same time, individual components must continue to strengthen their internal operational capabilities so that they can continue to carry out critical law enforcement, transportation-related, emergency response and border security efforts. To achieve these objectives, information sharing efforts by individual components must be organized based on a “shared mission” concept. Across DHS there are multiple operational, technological, programmatic and policy-related activities underway that focus on both improving the sharing and analysis of information between departmental components and/or on improving the sharing of intelligence and information between DHS and other federal, state, local, tribal and foreign government entities and the private sector. Despite investing significant resources in these efforts, more can be done. Accordingly, I&A will reevaluate the current approach to how the various components design, procure and implement information-sharing technology. I&A will put in place protocols, safeguards and a governance structure that ensure that the DHS Intelligence Enterprise better supports the missions of individual components, I&A, and DHS as a whole

Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties

Efforts by I&A to gather, assess, analyze and share intelligence and information will be guided by the dual imperatives of protecting the nation from those who wish to harm it and protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. I&A will work closely with officials at all levels of government, including the Department’s own Privacy Office and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, as well as representatives of the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties communities, to ensure that information sharing efforts comply with both the letter and spirit of the law. In fact, I&A is in the process of hiring a privacy officer to work closely with senior leadership on these important issues. The Work of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Today

The dedicated staff of I&A strives every day to provide accurate, actionable and timely intelligence to support DHS; private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; federal, state, local, and tribal officials; our component agencies and the other members of the IC. As the current leader of this effort, I am responsible for managing the daily activities of I&A and ensuring we are appropriately organized and positioned to adequately meet the demands of our diverse customer set. As DHS’ Acting Chief Intelligence Officer, as codified in the Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act), I am also responsible for integrating DHS’ intelligence components; developing programs such as the State and Local Fusion Center (SLFC) Program described more fully below; and furthering the DHS Intelligence Enterprise – all key examples of DHS’s capabilities to support our homeland and national security objectives. As the Acting DHS Information Sharing Executive, I work to integrate and facilitate information sharing within DHS and between DHS and our many customers. As the Acting DHS Executive Agent for support to state, local and tribal organizations, moreover, I manage the network of intelligence personnel deployed across the country through the SLFC Program to ensure a two-way exchange of information between our first preventers, first responders and the federal government. Finally, as the Acting Principal Accrediting Authority for DHS’s classified information management systems, I am responsible for the intelligence networks and systems across DHS.

I&A continues to position itself to meet all of these growing demands. We have increased and improved our analytic tradecraft in the arena of domestic threat analysis – a notable accomplishment in an area that has been traditionally outside the scope of the IC. I&A has elevated border security to a division level to better focus analysis on this issue and ensure that border-related activities are more effectively integrated across I&A and the DHS Intelligence Enterprise. Working with other federal agencies and state, local and tribal partners, I&A continues to grow the quality and frequency of the Homeland Intelligence Reports (HIRs) that it distributes. These reports rapidly provide state, local, tribal and federal entities access to unevaluated information that may be of intelligence value and also inform the IC on matters that could be relevant to homeland and national security. We likewise have, along with the DHS Chief Information Officer, recently established a joint program office to manage DHS’ classified information systems. Furthermore, in my first weeks in my new position, I instituted mandatory privacy training for all I&A personnel. These are just some of the examples of the progress I&A has and will continue to make in the months and years ahead.

I&A adds unique value when it comes to combating terrorism by viewing it through the prism of its impact on the homeland. This holistic perspective allows DHS to make connections – if and where they exist – between terrorism and other illicit transnational criminal activities, such as illegal immigration and smuggling, trans-national organized crime or the trafficking of illicit drugs. Moreover, these illicit activities often constitute additional threats to the homeland, and I&A must address them as well in order to support both our departmental mission and to help secure the public from harm. State and Local Fusion Centers and the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG)

Securing the homeland is a complex mission that requires a coordinated and focused effort by federal, state, local and tribal authorities. I&A leads this coordinated effort through direct support to state and local fusion centers through its State and Local Fusion Center (SLFC) Program and a multi-faceted approach for providing intelligence and information to non-federal and private sector partners. I am proud to say that by the end of this year, I&A will have deployed intelligence officers to 45 fusion centers. These dedicated officers are at the front lines working side by side with our first preventers and first responders. Our fiscal year 2010 request provides the resources necessary to increase deployments to all 72 approved fusion centers, including centers located in Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) cities. We are also developing production plans that focus on state, local, tribal and private sector requirements. Based on the feedback of our partners, I&A has implemented a “single point of service” contact to ensure that any state, local or tribal support request (SLSR) makes of a fusion center receives a timely and appropriate response. A Program Assessment Rating Tool audit of fusion center representatives conducted by the Homeland Security Institute earlier this year credited this initiative with significantly improving the process for requesting and receiving a timely response from DHS. It is my goal to forward deploy additional analysts to the field to major cities and our component agencies.

In response to the needs of the fusion centers, we are also strengthening core competency training programs – in cooperation with the ODNI, the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance -in order to make our partnerships with state, local, and tribal entities even more effective. I&A training programs for fusion center employees are designed to meet their intelligence training needs, and they contain many of the best practices of training programs that have been developed by the IC. Among other things, I&A offers Critical Thinking and Analytical Methods (CTAM), Principals of Intelligence Writing and Briefing (PIWB), Basic Intelligence Threat and Analysis Course (BITAC), Mid-level Intelligence Threat and Analysis Course (MITAC), as well as the Analytic and Critical Thinking Skills Workshop training modules to our fusion center partners.

We likewise take our responsibility to protect and respect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the public in the fusion center environment very seriously. We partner with the DHS Privacy Office, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the DHS Office of the General Counsel, the ODNI Civil Liberties and Privacy Office, the ODNI Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and the ODNI Office of the General Counsel to make sure that all of our efforts are consistent with our obligations. We require all I&A staff assigned to fusion centers to receive specific training and to have subject matter expertise on all relevant privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties laws and regulations as a matter of practice and as required by the 9/11 Act. Working with our partners in the field, moreover, we are equally committed to ensuring that all state, local and tribal representatives working in fusion centers are supported and fully cognizant of their privacy, civil rights and civil liberties obligations. Together with our federal partners, we offer technical assistance in meeting these goals. In its initial Privacy Impact Assessment of the program, required under the 9/11 Commission Act, the DHS Privacy Office has recommended that each fusion center conduct its own privacy impact assessment, develop a privacy protection policy, make it available to the public, and then engage with its local advocacy communities. Approximately 60% of fusion centers have completed such plans to date. Going forward, I&A will continue its efforts to implement this recommendation at fusion centers.

In addition to placing intelligence professionals at the state and local fusion centers, we have worked with our federal partners to establish the Interagency Threat Assessment Coordination Group (ITACG). The ITACG was created in the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to help us meet the information needs of our state, local, and tribal partners. I&A has provided two senior I&A officers, along with two officers from the FBI, to lead the stand-up and operation of this organization. Over the past year, the ITACG has increased in size and perspective. In total, four federal representatives, five state and local personnel (four police and one firefighter), one part-time tribal representative, and supporting contractors are working in dedicated spaces with essential systems connectivity in NCTC.

The ITACG continues to mature in providing valuable input to intelligence products disseminated to state, local, and tribal organizations and is engaged in DHS, FBI, and NCTC production processes and activities critical to serving non-federal customers. Since its initial stand-up in October 2007, the ITACG has reviewed thousands of intelligence products for state, local, and tribal consumers of intelligence, and has offered important suggestions to make them more useful to our first responders. Of particular note is the Roll Call Release that was developed by ITACG. The Roll Call Release is a collaborative DHS, FBI, and ITACG effort that addresses specific needs and requirements of “street-level” first responders. Like a traditional roll call release for officers at the beginning of their work shifts, this ITACG product provides situational awareness and other actionable information that first preventers can use in the course of their daily work. It has been very well received – as evidenced by both the appearance of Roll Call Releases in state and local-originated publications and by the high number of downloads from government websites.

As we expand our cooperation with our state, local and tribal partners I&A will increasingly position itself as a partner that understands the needs of these organizations, responds to their informational and intelligence requirements, and writes reports and assessments that serve them well.


DHS is a leading agency of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative as prescribed by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23/National Security Presidential Directive 54. I&A provides the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications and National Cybersecurity Division with intelligence support to help secure Executive Branch unclassified civilian (“.gov) networks and critical information infrastructure, including parts of the “.com” domain, state and local networks, and telecommunications infrastructure. The Homeland Security Act prescribes that DHS shall share threat information with state, local and tribal authorities and the private sector. I&A uses these authorities and the public-private partnership framework as outlined in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan to collaborate with the National Protection and Programs Directorate to provide cyber threat analysis and warning on issues to defend critical U.S. cyber infrastructures and information systems.

Specifically, I&A provides cyber threat briefings and intelligence products to state, local and tribal authorities on a regular basis. For example, I&A analysts recently provided cyber threat briefings to the Texas Homeland Security Fusion Center, the Wisconsin State and Local Fusion Center, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). In addition, I&A has developed a line of intelligence products tailored to state, local and tribal authorities to help them understand the cyber threat that they face so they can better allocate their computer network defense resources. I&A’s cooperation with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), moreover, enables the U.S. government and private sector to more effectively deter, detect, defend, and respond to adversarial activity against these vital resources. Integrating the DHS Intelligence Enterprise

As the Acting Under Secretary and Chief Intelligence Officer of the Department, it is my responsibility to work with the component agencies to transform I&A into a service- oriented provider of intelligence to the DHS components themselves and to consolidate intelligence assets throughout the DHS Intelligence Enterprise. To facilitate this, I chair the Homeland Security Intelligence Council (HSIC), which provides a venue for all Enterprise leaders to discuss issues and collectively make decisions of consequence to the entire Enterprise. Under these authorities, I am responsible for conducting an annual DHS intelligence program review and work with the DHS Office of Policy and the Chief Financial Officer to issue intelligence guidance as part of our resource planning and programming cycle.

As you know, I&A is legally required to present a consolidated DHS intelligence budget to the Secretary. The program reviews provide the analysis and insights necessary for us to identify comprehensively the requirements and activities of the Enterprise. These reviews will also demonstrate how to streamline and structure departmental activities to leverage efficiencies of scale and eliminate unnecessary programmatic duplication. In the future, we will seek to expand and diversify beyond annual program reviews to include periodic, focused, issue-based evaluations of smaller component intelligence activities throughout the entire year.

A key element of integrating the Intelligence Enterprise is to work with the other intelligence components within DHS. As we continue forward with this effort, training and education will be key. I&A will address this need by providing training and professional development to the entire Enterprise. During this fiscal year, 130 Enterprise personnel have completed the BITAC and 15 have completed the MITAC. Counterintelligence

No intelligence element can be completely effective without a strong counterintelligence capability. DHS continues to develop its counterintelligence elements in order to be able to assess the threats posed to DHS personnel, programs, operations and technologies and to protect them from foreign espionage penetration. Counterintelligence must be a part of the DHS infrastructure and integrated into DHS operations. Support to our state, local and tribal partners; border security; cybersecurity; and information sharing generally all require counterintelligence support to be fully effective. For example, counterintelligence support to fusion centers is especially critical because I&A shares classified DHS information there. Furthermore, DHS must instill a culture of counterintelligence awareness throughout the Department in order to monitor foreign intelligence collection efforts- especially the nearly 2,000 personnel who are permanently assigned overseas and the many more thousands who travel abroad routinely. An effective, DHS-wide counterintelligence program is essential to the protection of DHS and its vital mission. Working closely with the FBI, we must swiftly identify foreign intelligence attempts to penetrate our operations and recruit our personnel, and we must effectively neutralize those threats wherever they may be. I consider this to be a priority for DHS and an area that requires additional investment in both the analytical and operational areas of counterintelligence. Border Security

Border security is a major priority of the President, Congress, and the Secretary. I&A has been working diligently with its partners and is well positioned to meet the increasing requirements to provide intelligence support for border security operations. The office currently works with border security operators at all levels of government to ensure information sharing and intelligence support are sufficient to enable focused enforcement activities.

Recently, I&A has been working very closely with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to ensure that a logical and meaningful intelligence plan is developed to support operations in the field. As you are aware, the National Southwest Border Counter Narcotics Strategy was announced by the Secretary, the Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Narcotics Drug Control Policy on June 5, 2009. This strategy contains clear and significant direction regarding the need for an intelligence plan and implementation. Under my leadership, I&A will be a full participant with our partners in this process.

A critical part of this effort is the development of the southwest border Homeland Intelligence Support Team (HIST) that operates from the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). EPIC hosts not only I&A and other DHS representatives but also a number of our other key partners including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the FBI. The HIST is designed to integrate and fuse key federal, state, local, and tribal intelligence and information in the region in support of border security operations. I&A border security analysts assigned to the HIST (and elsewhere) identify and assess threats to the security of the nation’s air, land, and maritime borders and analyze the methods by which terrorists and their associates attempt to penetrate those borders. They focus on five primary areas: illegal immigration, human trafficking; terrorist use or manipulation of homeland-bound maritime and air transit; terrorist exploitation of specific U.S. border security policies and procedures; and attempts by suspect persons to enter the homeland and transport illegal contraband. I&A is currently evaluating this effort. Based on the results of our review, we will examine the potential establishment of a HIST along the northern border to provide similar integrated cross-departmental intelligence support to border operations.

In addition to I&A’s efforts at the HIST and at headquarters, our analysts are also participating in community-wide counterterrorism research, analysis, and production planning – aligning our areas of expertise with overarching documents such as the National Strategy for Homeland Security or the Counterterrorism Implementation Plan which will, in turn, influence the National Southwest Border Counter Narcotics Strategy. Report and Review Processes

One of my primary areas of attention when I arrived at I&A on May 18, 2009, was the framework that I&A applied to the review, clearance, and dissemination of its analytical intelligence products. This review centered on the release of the April 7, 2009 Rightwing Extremism assessment.

To strengthen our existing processes, an interim clearance process was put in place shortly after the release of the April 7, 2009 assessment. That process established mandatory review and concurrence by four offices – Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Privacy Office, Office of the General Counsel, and I&A’s Intelligence Oversight Section. Any non-concurrence that could not be resolved was elevated to the Deputy Secretary for review, ensuring a much more coordinated review of I&A’s products than had previously been in place. We are currently in the process of finalizing additional guidance to further clarify and streamline the clearance process. I look forward to briefing you and members of the staff on the new procedures in the near future.

The lessons of the extremism assessment are important ones. I want to assure you that DHS takes very seriously its mission of preventing, preparing for and responding to all threats posed by foreign and domestic terrorists. As you know, the Secretary has pledged that sharing information with state, local and tribal law enforcement partners will be a guiding principle as we work to fulfill the mission of securing the homeland from terrorist violence and related criminal activity. At the same time, DHS will not target, for information gathering or enforcement purposes, individuals or groups based on their associations, beliefs, or other Constitutionally-protected activities. The President’s FY 2010 Budget Submission

Finally, I would like to address how the President’s FY 2010 budget submission supports I&A and the programs outlined above. This budget request continues our commitment to a national fusion center network that is already demonstrating results by providing I&A with additional funds to expand its representation at state and local fusion centers across the country. The FY 2010 budget will enable I&A to deploy additional intelligence analysts and secure communications to all 72 state and local fusion centers; provide security awareness training to fusion center personnel accessing sensitive federal information; more robustly conduct privacy and civil liberties awareness and protection training; and continue I&A’s efforts to provide intelligence support to fusion centers from headquarters. I am encouraged by Congress’ continuing support to the SLFC Program and look forward to working with you to fully fund the program in FY 2010 in order to meet both the President’s goals and objectives and the requirements of the 9/11 Act.

The FY 2010 budget also provides additional funds to hire seven additional cybersecurity analysts. This budget request will allow I&A to grow the cyber threat analysis element within I&A to provide for strategic warning of cyber threats to our federal, state, local, tribal and private sector stakeholders in addition to supporting our component agencies. I&A will be better able to fully coordinate and integrate our cyber threat analysis with US-CERT, the National Cyber Security Directorate, law enforcement, and the IC. Furthermore, we will be in a better position to leverage Department and IC expertise to provide analytic insight into cyber threats to U.S. government and critical infrastructure networks; fully analyze cyber intrusions and emerging cyber threat trends; and provide strategic cyber threat assessments for our federal and non-federal partners.

Our FY 2010 budget request also includes additional funding to improve information sharing capabilities across DHS. The requested funding will allow I&A to deploy approximately six homeland secure data network (HSDN) systems to DHS components. Current classified communication capabilities are limited, and this request will increase DHS’ ability to share classified information throughout the Enterprise and with our state, local and tribal partners.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the FY 2010 I&A budget request includes – as you have urged – the conversion of over 100 contractors into federal positions. As you know, when DHS was established several years ago, we had to rely heavily on contractor support in order to quickly build an intelligence organization from the ground up. Since then, I&A and DHS have made a concerted effort to maximize the number of federal positions. If approved, these conversions will enable I&A to maintain a more consistent workforce and greatly reduce the amount of inherently governmental work performed by contractor support. Conclusion

Members of the Subcommittee, I want to convey to you my personal sense of urgency and commitment to the responsibility we all share – ensuring that DHS and its partners have the intelligence capability to address threats to the homeland while performing their mission within the rule of law. I&A is a modestly sized program, representing less than one-half of one percent of the total IC workforce, but our mission set belies our size. The President’s budget request will enhance departmental intelligence capabilities to address the “complex and dynamic threats” outlined in the National Strategy for Homeland Security.

I thank you for the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee to provide you some background on my career and why I came to work for DHS; to share my thoughts on the future of I&A; and to review the major funding priorities in FY 2010. These priority areas are vital to advancing the DHS Intelligence Enterprise to where it should be. Overall, the realization of a national homeland security intelligence enterprise rests on addressing these areas. None of us – whether at the federal, state, local, or tribal level; in the IC; or in the rivate sector – can unilaterally predict the threat, warn our stakeholders, and take action to itigate the risks. Our success depends on our ability to work together while never losing sight of the privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of the public that we are sworn to protect. Our success in protecting our nation’s security depends on how relentlessly we collaborate

Thank you and I look forward to your questions.For more information please contact: Sarabjit Jagirdar,Email:- htsyndication@hindustantimes.co

FEMA National Level Exercise 2009

Maybe it should be INTERnational?

“This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09.”


National Level Excersize 2009



ational Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) is scheduled for July 27 through July 31, 2009. NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery.

NLE 09 is designated as a Tier I National Level Exercise. Tier I exercises (formerly known as the Top Officials exercise series or TOPOFF) are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program (NEP), which serves as the nation’s overarching exercise program for planning, organizing, conducting and evaluating national level exercises. The NEP was established to provide the U.S. government, at all levels, exercise opportunities to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.

NLE 09 is a White House directed, Congressionally- mandated exercise that includes the participation of all appropriate federal department and agency senior officials, their deputies, staff and key operational elements.  In addition, broad regional participation of state, tribal, local, and private sector is anticipated.  This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09. 


NLE 09 will focus on intelligence and information sharing among intelligence and law enforcement communities, and between international, federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector participants.

The NLE 09 scenario will begin in the aftermath of a notional terrorist event outside of the United States, and exercise play will center on preventing subsequent efforts by the terrorists to enter the United States and carry out additional attacks. This scenario enables participating senior officials to focus on issues related to preventing terrorist events domestically and protecting U.S. critical infrastructure.

NLE 09 will allow terrorism prevention efforts to proceed to a logical end (successful or not), with no requirement for response or recovery activities. 

NLE 09 will be an operations-based exercise to include: activities taking place at command posts, emergency operation centers, intelligence centers and potential field locations to include federal headquarters facilities in the Washington D.C. area, and in federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in FEMA Region VI, which includes the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.


Through a comprehensive evaluation process, the exercise will assess prevention and protection capabilities both nationally and regionally. Although NLE 09 is still in the planning stages, the exercise is currently designed to validate the following capabilities:

  • Intelligence/Information Sharing and Dissemination
  • Counter-Terrorism Investigation and Law Enforcement
  • Air, Border and Maritime Security
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Public and Private Sector Alert/Notification and Security Advisories
  • International Coordination


Exercises such as NLE 09 are an important component of national preparedness, helping to build an integrated federal, state, tribal, local and private sector capability to prevent terrorist attacks, and rapidly and effectively respond to, and recover from, any terrorist attack or major disaster that occurs.

The full-scale exercise offers agencies and jurisdictions a way to test their plans and skills in a real-time, realistic environment and to gain the in-depth knowledge that only experience can provide. Participants will exercise prevention and information sharing functions that are critical to preventing terrorist attacks. Lessons learned from the exercise will provide valuable insights to guide future planning for securing the nation against terrorist attacks, disasters, and other emergencies.

For more information about NLE 09, contact the FEMA News Desk: 202-646-4600.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters.