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Terrorist Threat Integration Center

Terrorist Threat Integration Center

CARYN E. NEUMANN

The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) improves the ability of the United States to thwart terrorist attacks by analyzing and sharing intelligence emanating from anywhere in the world. Opened in May 2003, as part of President George W. Bush's initiative to revamp counterterrorism intelligence, the goal of the TTIC is to provide a comprehensive threat picture. While it operates under the direction of the Central Intelligence Agency chief, TTIC is staffed by counterterrorism experts from the CIA, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. It will eventually serve as the hub of all counterterrorism analysis.

In the wake of the 2001 World Trade Center attack, the intelligence gathering agencies in the United States came under heavy criticism from Congress and the public for their failure to predict and halt the terrorist assault. Government inquiries concluded that a lack of information sharing prevented anyone from doing sufficient analysis and taking action. The FBI, as the preeminent domestic intelligence agency, received the bulk of the blame. In response to these intelligence shortcomings, Bush established the TTIC and thereby ended the FBI's decades-long reign as the nation's chief provider of domestic intelligence.

The aim of the TTIC is to seamlessly unite intelligence from a variety of sources to assist executive branch policymaking decisions. To this end, TTIC has unfettered access to all terrorist threat intelligence from raw reports to finished analytic assessments. The analysts in the center measure the reliability of information from interrogated al-Qaeda prisoners, study warnings from foreign law-enforcement and spy agencies, assess tips from informants, examine satellite photos, and read transcripts of wiretapped conversations. No TTIC staff members conduct intelligence collection operations.

TTIC plays the lead role in creating a national counterterrorism structure to share across agency lines all terrorist threat intelligence, whether gathered in the U.S. or overseas. The tasking system of TTIC will be implemented in three phases. In its initial phase, the TTIC provides integrated terrorist threat analysis for the senior national leadership. The center's duties will include compiling the "daily threat matrix" that is instrumental to the president's decisions in the war on terror. In its secondary phase, TTIC will be the principal gateway for policymaker requests for analysis of potential terrorist threats to U.S. interests and will maintain a database of known and suspected terrorists that can be accessed by government officials at all levels who possess the appropriate security clearance. In its tertiary and final stage, TTIC will serve as the U.S. government hub for all terrorist threat-related analytic work.

As the TTIC is a joint venture of participating agencies, the Director of Central Intelligence, as statutory head of the U.S. intelligence community, oversees its activities. The head of the TTIC is selected by CIA chief in consultation with the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General, and the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense. At the initial stage, total staffing of TTIC is 60 U.S. government employees plus additional contractors. In the second phase of implementation, employment will rise to 120 people. In the final stage, TTIC will have a staff level of 250 to 300 employees. TTIC is scheduled to be located in a facility with the FBI Counterterrorism Division and the CIA Counterterrorist Center. This co-location is expected to enhance information sharing and maximize counterterrorism resources while reducing redundant capabilities.

The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 made apparent the need to change the intelligence gathering strategy of the United States. While most government leaders and members of the public have applauded the goal of fusing intelligence analysis from the FBI and CIA, data reflecting the efficiency of the TTIC to close intelligence gaps while safeguarding individual liberties will take months or years to accumulate.

FURTHER READING:

ELECTRONIC:

United States Department of State, International Information Programs. "Fact Sheet: New Terrorist Integration Center Will Open May 1. February 14, 2003 <http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/03021404.htm> (February 25, 2002).

SEE ALSO

Bush Administration (2001), United States National Security Policy
CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency)
United States, Counter-Terrorism Policy
DCI (Director of the Central Intelligence Agency)
DoD (United States Department of Defense)
FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Homeland Security, United States Department
World Trade Center, 2001 Terrorist Attack

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