Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Report: The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) refocused on terrorism. DoJ directed that several terrorism task forces and councils be formed to coordinate and integrate intelligence and law enforcement functions to meet the DoJ counterterrorism goal. Appropriately, the DoJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) assessed the role and operations of the terrorism task forces to determine if they were meeting their objectives; if gaps, duplication, and overlap existed in counterterrorism coverage; and how the performance of those task forces and councils is measured.

The OIG reviewed the following task forces and councils:

  • Deputy Attorney General's Natonal Security Coordination Council (NSCC)
  • U.S. Attorneys' Antiterrorism Advisory Councils (ATAC)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Joint Terrorism Task Forces (NJTTF)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation's Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTF)

The entire 353-page report is entitled The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces - June 2005.

In brief, the OIG determined that the task forces and council contribute to the DoJ's counterterrorism efforts. However the OIG identified areas in which the task forces and councils efforts need improve. Specifically:

  • The NSCC's role is unclear for long-term counterterrorism planning, centralizing and coordinating counterterrorism policy and operations, and monitoring policy implementation by the components.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Counterterrorism Section (CTS), and the Executive Office for the U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) have no national training plans for the task forces and councils, notification of available training is ad hoc, and non-FBI task force members believe that FBI members get preferential treatment for training.
  • The FBI has no structured, systemwide orientation program for new task force members and has not defined the roles and responsibilities of its task force members in writing.
  • The JTTFs and ATACs have not coordinated their efforts to fully interact and share information with law enforcement agencies and first responders in remote areas.
  • The FBI has not fully developed outcome-oriented performance measures for all task forces or for the individual members. CTS and DOUSA have no performance measures for the ATAC program.
  • Oversight and management of the ATAC program has been fragmented and coordinators do not have adequate guidance on their roles or on structuring and managing ATACs.
  • The FBI has not provided the FTTTF stable leadership or adequate resourcs and has assigned the FTTTF responsibilities outside its mission. As a result, the FTTTF's database and risk assessement work is behind schedule.
  • Although the FBI has reallocated considerable resources to counterterrorism, the JTTFs have certain staffing shortages and turnover in leadership, and some JTTFs experience problems with space and informatino technology connectivity.
  • Despite the critical link between drug trafficking and terrorism, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has minimal membershp on the task forces.
  • The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not provided the JTTF members needed direction, has not cross-trained supervisors in their new areas of responsibilty, and has not provided enough staff to perform task force work.

The report goes on to offer in detail the OIG conclusions and recommendations.

One word of caution: Like most federally-produced reports, this one abounds with acronyms. At the beginning of the report, there is a two-page list of the acronyms used in the report. If the reader is going to read the report, take the time to print the list of acronyms and keep it handy.


Blogger jb3ll3 said...

hi Bill, I understand you wrote a nice piece in your blog about "The Flat Earth Society" as it pertains to the proposed botanical garden in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Can you direct me to that piece?

11:56 AM, December 14, 2005  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


I don't recall that at all. In fact, I don't think I've ever blogged anything about the garden proposal. If someone told you about it, the person may have been referring to a letter I sent to the Kootenai County Prosecutor asking him to investigate the mayor and city council for their violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. The outcome was reported in the CdA Press. I'll go back and check my blog posts just to be sure, but it really doesn't ring a bell. I don't have your email address or I would have sent this directly to you.

12:21 PM, December 14, 2005  

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