WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than one year after requesting information about the structure of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Ranking Member Carl Levin (D-MI) have received a response signed by the heads of the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TTIC.
“I am pleased to have finally received answers to the questions Senator Levin and I first posed at a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in February 2003. Our questions sought critically important information about the structure of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and how it and other key agencies would share responsibility for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of terrorism-related intelligence. We have repeatedly noted our concern that it took so long to answer basic questions about TTIC’s role and responsibilities,” Senator Collins said.
During the February 26, 2003 hearing, Senator Collins and Levin questioned senior officials from the FBI, CIA and DHS, about the responsibilities of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, the CIA Counter Terrorist Center, and the DHS’ Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate in relation to TTIC. Following the hearing, the Senators asked the witnesses to prepare a statement explaining how these agencies would interact with each other and TTIC in analyzing foreign and domestic intelligence. The Senators sent letters in September and October 2003 renewing their request and seeking further clarification.
Late last week, the Senators received a letter from DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, FBI Director Robert Mueller, CIA Director George Tenet, and Terrorist Threat Integration Center Director John Brennan that answered their questions.
The Senators noted that the letter makes it clear that TTIC is now the lead government entity responsible for analyzing intelligence related to international terrorism. TTIC also has been given the authority to task collection and analysis of terrorism-related intelligence by other agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and DHS. Both of these roles are substantially different from what was originally envisioned when TTIC was created last year, and represent a significant expansion of TTIC’s mission. In addition, the letter explains that TTIC’s role is continuing to evolve, and that some critical decisions are yet to be made. For example, the letter states that by June 1, 2004, the Director of Central Intelligence will decide what additional analytic resources will be transferred to TTIC from other agencies.
“One of the most important lessons of the September 11th attacks was the need for far better coordination of intelligence information collected by various agencies. The TTIC represents a major structural change to ensure that the dots are connected, that threat information and analyses are appropriately disseminated,” Senator Collins said. “I will continue to follow the TTIC closely to ensure that this new structure is the most effective mechanism possible for coordinating the collection and analysis of intelligence information.”
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security.
The response is available below.