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[] USA: Geheimdienste-Reform, Datenbanken-Integration und Homeland Security,

June 27, 2002 

Intelligence agencies to link databases with new department 

By William New, National Journal's Technology Daily 

The FBI and CIA are looking at ways to develop terrorist databases
linked to the proposed Homeland Security Department in an effort to
identify and stop terrorists intending to harm the United States, the
agencies' directors told a Senate committee Thursday.

"We are examining how best to create and share a multi-agency,
government-wide database that captures all information relevant to any
of the many watch lists that are currently managed by a variety of
agencies," CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Governmental
Affairs Committee.

The new department must connect electronically with members of the
intelligence community, he said. "The intelligence community already has
in place the architecture and multiple channels necessary for sharing
intelligence reporting and analysis at all levels of classification,"
Tenet said. 

The CIA will provide the new department with its technology and work
with the department as the latter develops compatible systems. The
sharing of information will be possible for federal, state and local

Tenet acknowledged that "there may well be some overlap and even some
redundancy in evaluating what the nation's foreign intelligence and law
enforcement communities provide." But, he said, "This is welcome."

The role of the new department, Tenet said, will be "to translate
assessments about evolving terrorist targeting strategies, training and
doctrine overseas into a system of protection for the infrastructure of
the United States." The department will review the intelligence provided
by the CIA and develop an action plan to counter threats, he said.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said the agency could provide "99.9 percent"
of the information that the department wants. The FBI has implemented at
headquarters enhanced data collection that allows analysis of data
collected from the separate offices. But improvements still are needed,
such as in the search capabilities, he said.

Mueller said the FBI is lagging behind the CIA in information technology
upgrades and has a way to go before it can digitally exchange
information between departments. 

Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., called for a new
intelligence structure in which the secretary of the new department
could request that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies collect
information. He said the witnesses agreed to the proposal in a similar
hearing on Wednesday, though the idea would be different from the
proposal made by President Bush. That proposal envisions a "more
passive" intelligence role for the Homeland Security secretary, focused
mainly on critical infrastructure and requiring the approval of the

Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, the committee's ranking Republican, warned
that the current transformation within the intelligence community should
be resolved before trying to fit the agencies to the new department.
"We're sort of skateboarding while trying to juggle, you might say,"
Thompson said. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) circulated a statement at the
hearing criticizing the Bush proposal as establishing an agency "long on
secrecy and short on much-needed accountability." The ACLU said it would
"hobble" the Freedom of Information Act, limit citizen input, lack
oversight, "muzzle" whistleblowers and threaten personal privacy. ACLU
urged that the FBI and CIA be kept distinct from the new department.

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