THE HONORABLE DEBORAH J. DANIELS
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS
NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION'S
FIGHTING THE TERROR WITHIN
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2004
Good morning! I'm delighted to have this opportunity to address what is certainly a timely issue - preventing terrorism in our homeland. As the national political conventions and other major events draw near, our nation must remain vigilant to the ever present threat of terrorist acts in our communities.
As law enforcement leaders in your jurisdictions, you have an important role to play in "Fighting the Terror Within." One aspect of that role should be to foster improved intelligence gathering and information sharing, both at the local level - and among local, state, and federal law enforcement.
I know that the NDAA recognizes how critical this is. In fact, in the anti-terrorism policy the NDAA adopted two years ago, it encouraged local prosecutors to "assist in intelligence gathering at the local level to prevent future terrorism."
We're also doing our part at the federal level. Within days of the 9/11 terrorist attack on America, Attorney General Ashcroft began revamping the Justice Department, including the FBI, to better share intelligence among federal, state, and local law enforcement and emergency preparedness agencies, and to improve our ability to prevent terrorism and other crime.
What he demanded was nothing less than a sea change in every arm of a department that, like most other law enforcement agencies, had traditionally reacted to crime only after it had occurred. He commanded that we become proactive - that we work to prevent crime, in particular acts of terrorism, from occurring in the first place.
To build on this effort, in February of this year, the Attorney General created the Justice Intelligence Coordinating Council. The Council will coordinate the collection, production, and dissemination of intelligence among the Justice Department components, as well as with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The Council is an outgrowth of a planning process in which I have been directly involved. The philosophy adopted by the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Steering Committee, on which I sit, calls for sharing of information by Justice Department agencies as the norm, rather than the exception - and strictly limits the circumstances in which information can be withheld from other agencies - including state and local agencies. This, too, represents a sea change in the way the federal agencies do business.
Through this new coordinated effort, the Justice Department will be better able to provide criminal intelligence and other support to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which President Bush created to coordinate counter-terrorism information analysis.
But as Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has noted: "We cannot secure America from Washington, DC. We need the combined expertise, wisdom and common sense of . . . the more than 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers across the country."
Last week, representatives from more than 30 federal agencies and national law enforcement organizations, including the NDAA, came together here in Washington to endorse publicly the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan. The Plan is part of a nationwide effort to help guide the future of law enforcement intelligence-sharing efforts in our country.
It was produced through the efforts of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative's Advisory Committee, a consortium of 32 local, state, tribal, federal, and international justice organizations - again including the NDAA - that are working together to overcome the barriers to justice information- sharing across agencies, disciplines, and all levels of government, while preserving legitimate privacy and security concerns.
Over the last two years, the members of the Global Advisory Committee and its Intelligence Sharing Working Group have met to examine issues involved in justice information systems integration, to coordinate efforts, and to provide guidance on how federal, state, and local jurisdictions can securely and effectively share criminal intelligence.
The resulting National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan is the first of its kind in this country. It provides a wealth of information that every law enforcement agency in this country can use to improve the development and sharing of criminal intelligence. And it serves as a Aroadmap@ for our national criminal intelligence sharing initiatives.
For example, it offers guidelines and policies on issues such as training law enforcement on intelligence-led policing; protecting citizens' civil and privacy rights; establishing public standards for criminal intelligence sharing; and building a nationwide sensitive, but unclassified, communications capability for criminal intelligence sharing. I encourage you to read the National Criminal Intelligence Plan, which is posted on our Web site at it.ojp.gov.
The Plan promises to bring us closer to achieving the goal of Aintelligence-led policing@ -- basing policies and deployment of resources on solid information, and enabling law enforcement to be proactive and strategic, rather than following the more traditional, reactive approach.
Although law enforcement agencies recognize the need to develop new ways to deter crime and terrorism, surveys conducted by the Global Advisory Committee found that many departments today do not focus on intelligence functions. Moreover, about three-quarters of law enforcement departments in our nation are small - with fewer than 24 sworn officers - and do not have staff dedicated to intelligence functions.
The goal of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan is to remove the barriers to information sharing and intelligence-led policing and help law enforcement agencies of all sizes, and at all levels, improve their ability to gather, analyze, and share criminal intelligence. I encourage you, as leaders in your communities, and as partners with police and sheriffs' departments, to work with the law enforcement agencies in your jurisdiction to help them embrace this critical concept, one that is certainly key to preventing future domestic terrorism - as well as solving traditional crimes more quickly and efficiently.
Maureen Baginski, who is Executive Assistant Director of the FBI for Intelligence, often says that every police officer, from patrolman on up, is by definition engaged in intelligence gathering. Now, we need to learn to combine and share that collective intelligence, systematically.
The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan provides a blueprint for achieving this goal, and we are working with the members of the Global Advisory Committee to implement its recommendations. For example, we're developing training curricula and standards for intelligence analysts who serve law enforcement agencies. These analysts are essential if law enforcement professionals are going to be able to use criminal intelligence effectively to guide their decision-making. But every detective and every patrol officer needs to understand his or her own role in the strategic use of the intelligence each gathers, daily and routinely.
We've also been working to expand the capabilities of the Regional Information Sharing System - or RISS - program, to enable law enforcement agencies across the nation to better share anti-terrorism intelligence.
As those of you familiar with this system probably know, traditionally, RISS has provided information-sharing services in the form of criminal intelligence databases and an investigative lead-generating electronic bulletin board. Information is shared among the six regional RISS centers and participating law enforcement member agencies through a secure Internet connection. The RISS centers are governed by boards composed of state and local law enforcement officials.
Shortly after 9/11, RISS began posting terrorism and homeland security information on its RISS/Leads bulletin board, focusing analytical services on domestic terrorism, and disseminating homeland security bulletins and other information.
We're now working to increase the linkages to RISS to expand the number of users and to increase its utility in preventing terrorism and other crime. For example, we've been linking RISS with state agency networks. This means that a state can now share its state-wide intelligence data base with RISS member agencies all over the country. We've also added connections to High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and the U.S. Attorneys' Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils through RISS.
At the same time, we launched a pilot project to further expand the utility of RISS in counter-terrorism efforts. ATIX B the RISS Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange B began with a test in six states, but has now expanded to all 50 states.
This new system allows state and local officials who are responsible for homeland security and disaster preparedness to communicate and exchange homeland security, disaster, and terrorism alert information in a secure environment.
But to expand the system's scope still further, and to move toward the nationwide intelligence sharing system envisioned by the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, we worked with the FBI to link RISS to LEO B the FBI's Law Enforcement Online system.
This combined system now provides a secure connection that allows sensitive, but unclassified, homeland security information to be distributed quickly to all RISS and LEO users through a new National Alert System using the Internet. The RISS/LEO system has the capability of serving as the communications backbone for a national criminal intelligence sharing system.
To support this critical effort, President Bush, in his fiscal 2005 budget request, asked for $44 million, an increase of $14.3 million over this year, to continue to build and expand the RISS network.
But to ensure that all the various law enforcement and emergency preparedness agencies can effectively share intelligence, we've got to make sure that all the different information systems they use can "talk" to one another. To address this problem, the Global Advisory Committee developed a Justice Extensible Markup Language, or XML.
XML technology acts as a universal translator among information systems and allows disparate systems to share data without compromising the integrity of that data. It also allows a search for data across different systems by using Atags@ to pull out and categorize various kinds of information, creating in essence a universal language B making normally incompatible data systems interoperable.
So if you work with multiple police agencies, each of which uses a different system for producing incident reports, you can combine the information they generate in an interoperable system. And, when carried to its logical conclusion, XML technology will lead to fully integrated justice systems - so that the police, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole officers, and corrections personnel will have the information they need readily available.
XML is revolutionizing our ability to share information among justice agencies. Today, more than 50 justice information sharing projects are under way using the XML Data Model. Let me give you some examples of how it's working.
Last April, police in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, were able to capture a bank robbery suspect in less than two hours by matching his bank surveillance photo with an image on Justice Network, or JNET, which is Pennsylvania's XML-enabled justice information sharing network.
Just a few months ago, within hours of learning about four homicides in one neighborhood, police in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, used a JNET photo image to confirm the suspect's identity. Through a stakeout, police apprehended the suspect and recovered an assault weapon.
In addition to using XML to solve cases, state and local jurisdictions that have implemented the Global Justice XML Data Model are reporting substantial cost savings. Minnesota's Department of Public Safety has saved more than a million dollars over three years by using the XML Data Model rather than developing its own statewide standard for information systems.
Officials in Orange County, Florida, predict that they will realize savings of five to seven million dollars a year on their Integrated Criminal Justice Information Systems project by replacing redundant data entry applications with a Global Justice XML application.
And the CEO of a technology company that is working with Colorado state officials to implement the statewide AMBER Alert child abduction recovery system recently wrote to tell me that the company - and, therefore, the state - is saving thousands of dollars in programming costs by using the AMBER Alert XML standard, which is based on the Global model.
If the law enforcement agencies in your jurisdiction aren't using Justice XML, I urge you to encourage them to do so. The software is available at no cost by downloading it from our Web site. Again, that address is it.ojp.gov. The Web site also provides information about training in implementing and using the Global Justice XML model.
Emerging technologies like XML are a core component of our strategy to give state and local governments new tactics and methods to help them respond to the security challenges of a post- 9/11 era.
But we're also concerned with the privacy issues raised by increased intelligence sharing. We are working to address these concerns by ensuring the implementation of strong privacy policies at every step in the criminal intelligence process. We fully recognize that, to enforce the laws and preserve the security of our homeland, government must also be keepers of the public trust.
As our nation continues to examine the events that led up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one message has become crystal clear: to prevent terrorism and ensure the security of our homeland, we must do a much better job of sharing criminal intelligence.
Information is our most potent weapon in the fight against terrorism and other crime. I hope you will encourage the law enforcement officials in your jurisdiction to use this powerful weapon and become a part of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan. By working together, by sharing information, and by coordinating our efforts, we can improve our collective ability to combat terrorism at home and abroad, as well as more traditional crime on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
I want to thank the NDAA, and all of you, for your efforts to fight the enemy within and to ensure the security of our homeland. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you in this critical national effort. Thank you very much.