Deficiencies identified, addressed after Christmas day bombing

Prominent among them include clarified analytic responsibility, establishing pursuit groups, improving information technology, enhancing analytic tradecraft, watchlist process improvements and enhanced targeting, deploying advanced imaging technology, real time watchlist information and advance in cargo screening, Brennan said.

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) issued new guidance to clarify the counterterrorism responsibilities of each IC analytic component.

This clarification will ensure that each member of the CT community has a clearly defined mission, ensuring an appropriate level of redundancy and accountability for threat warning and response but without creating gaps in coverage.

After the foiled December 25 bombing attempt, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) established analytic "Pursuit Groups" to identify, pursue and track information and connect disparate pieces of intelligence that could lead to discovery of threats aimed against the US Homeland or its interests abroad.

These programs are aimed at ensuring that the full range of analytic tools and expertise are brought to bear on tracking and uncovering any such threats, including internal coordination to ensure suspected terrorists and their identities are expeditiously processed for inclusion on the watchlist.

"Consistent with the need to protect information from unauthorized disclosure, we continue to develop and deploy enhanced information technology tools that assist analysts in correlating disparate pieces of data, helping them to be both more efficient and more effective at identifying and connecting relevant terrorist threat information," he said.

"The intelligence community is coordinating an IC-wide infrastructure that aggregates and analyzes data across agencies and networks, including the development of software that allows CT personnel to conduct 'Google-like' searches across databases they are authorized to access.

"These technological enhancements, the implementation of which are time and resource intensive, are in various stages of development – some have been deployed, while others are in the pilot stages," he said.

ODNI has developed new analytic training courses to enhance the rigor and raise the standard of tradecraft of intelligence analysis, with particular emphasis on uncovering and preventing terrorist plots."We are now in the process of deploying these pilot courses to train our CT analysts," he said.

The Administration has revised and modified the criteria used to create terrorist watchlists, including enhancements to the process by which names are added to the No-Fly and Selectee Lists.

Further, the Administration expanded the use of Terrorist Screening Database records to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

In addition, TSA fulfilled a key 9/11 Commission recommendation by implementing the Secure Flight program, which matches passengers against terrorist watchlists for all flights within or bound for the US.

NCTC has also established an enhancement group and expanded its research of and access to relevant databases to enhance records of known or suspected terrorists.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accelerated deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology, and has now deployed nearly 500 machines at over 75 domestic airports, he said.

DHS and FBI launched the Watchlist Service, a new technical mechanism to transmit data from the Terrorist Screening Database, operated by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, to DHS in real time.

In addition to bolstering security, this system also achieves efficiencies by creating a centralized service for transmitting information to DHS instead of maintaining separate connections to multiple organizations within DHS.

In 2010, as required by the 9/11 Act, 100 per cent of all cargo transported on passenger aircraft that depart US airports are being screened commensurate with screening of passenger checked baggage.

TSA's Certified Cargo Screening Program strengthens security by certifying more than 1,000 entities responsible for conducting cargo screening throughout the supply chain, minimizing the impact on the movement of commerce.

In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in coordination with the World Customs Organization, launched Operation Global Shield in 2010, an unprecedented multilateral law enforcement effort aimed at combating the illicit cross-border diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals for making improvised explosive devices by monitoring their cross-border movements.

Following the thwarted terrorist plot to conceal and ship explosive devices on cargo aircraft bound for the United States in October 2010, DHS took a number of additional steps to further strengthen supply chain security. These steps included adapting inbound cargo targeting rules to reflect the latest intelligence and ordering a ground halt on all cargo coming from Yemen and Somalia; prohibiting high risk cargo on passenger aircraft; prohibiting toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces on passenger aircraft – in both carry-on bags and checked bags – on domestic and international flights in-bound to the US, as well as on certain inbound international air cargo shipments; and implementing additional and enhanced screening of all cargo identified as high risk, Brennan said.

DHS is also working closely with industry and international partners to expedite the receipt of advanced cargo data for international flights to the United States prior to departure in order to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence before they are airborne.

In December 2010, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the air cargo industry launched a new joint technology pilot project to enhance the sharing of electronic shipping information to improve the identification of high-risk shipments.

Brennan said this year DHS coordinated an unprecedented international commitment to enhance global aviation security.

Through its participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), DHS secured: (1) a joint declaration committing member states to improving aviation security; (2) a new aviation security strategy framework that emphasizes the use of advanced screening technology and use of evolving security measures to defeat an adapting threat; and (3) a commitment to enhance global security standards, including the screening of cargo and airport workers.

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