- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The FBI, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, continues to make improvements in the way it shares intelligence and law-enforcement information with federal, state and local authorities, a report said this week.

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General said preventing terrorist activities has been the FBI’s highest priority, and an effective program to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence and other information was vital to that effort.

Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said an investigation by his office had found that “fundamental reform is underway at the FBI,” noting that the bureau had taken a “series of actions” to improve its ability to communicate information within the FBI, analyze intelligence and disseminate information outside the bureau.

Complaints from federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies after September 11 that they did not have access to the FBI’s information process prompted the reforms at the bureau and the IG’s investigation.

Mr. Fine also said his investigation, released Monday, found that among the FBI’s main obstacles to effective information sharing were the need for technology improvements, an improved ability to analyze intelligence, overcoming security clearance and other issues that stymied information sharing with state and local law-enforcement agencies, and the establishment of policies and procedures for managing the flow of information.

He said the FBI, in the pursuit of reform, has done the following:

• Established the wide area network portion of its Trilogy information system in preparation for information technology improvements such as the Virtual Case File to replace its Automated Case Support system.

• Borrowed 25 analysts from the CIA to establish an interim corps of intelligence analysts and, under the direction of an experienced CIA manager, began hiring and training FBI intelligence reports officers and analysts within a defined career track.

• Named an executive assistant director and a deputy assistant director for the new Office of Intelligence to oversee terrorist-related as well as criminal-intelligence matters, including management of the informant program.

• Established goals and key principles for improving the core elements of the FBI’s intelligence program, including information sharing.

• Restructured the Counterterrorism Division from two main sections to nine under three deputy assistant directors, with a new emphasis on analysis, terrorist threats, terrorist financing and dissemination of intelligence and other information.

• Widely circulated information and declassified intelligence to the state and local law-enforcement community, and provided threat information to state and local law enforcement through messages over the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System.

• Increased the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces from 36 in 2001 to 84 this year to work with and share intelligence and other information with state and local law-enforcement and other federal agencies.

“These and other steps have and will improve the FBI’s ability to share intelligence and law enforcement information,” Mr. Fine said, although he noted that improvements are “still ongoing and evolving and will require the sustained attention of FBI management to ensure their full implementation.”

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