29 April 2004

Terrorism center wrestles technology, secrecy

Terrorism center wrestles technology, secrecy:

WASHINGTON--As the U.S. government debates changing the intelligence structure, a fledgling center created to provide 'one-stop shopping' for terrorism information is wrestling with issues of technology and secrecy.

The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), which hits the one-year mark on Saturday, was established to address the failure of intelligence agencies to 'connect the dots' and uncover the Sept. 11, 2001, plot.

The hijacked plane attacks in 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people sent the government searching for ways to improve its national security apparatus to prevent another strike.

The TTIC is trying to meld the cultures, technology and secrets of various agencies so that its analysts can sift through terrorism information scattered around the government and try to piece together a coherent picture.

The center combines personnel from the CIA, FBI, and departments of defense, state and homeland security as well as other agencies. It maintains a database of known and suspected international terrorists that has more than 100,000 names in it and a top secret Web site available to 2,600 users who can search through 3.5 million documents.

'We're still in a growing stage and so one-stop shopping for everything for the U.S. government implies almost a full-up capability, we're not there yet,' John Brennan, director of TTIC, said in an interview at his office at the CIA.

TTIC will move into its own building in Virginia off the CIA campus starting in late May, and could double or triple the number of analysts from the current 76 by year-end."

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