Department of Justice (DOJ)
Law Enforcement is one of the five domains composing the Information Sharing Environment (ISE), each with an Intelligence Community component. The federal level partner with the lead coordinating role for this community is Department of Justice (DoJ), which is a significant contributor to the ISE through two major elements of its mission:
- Ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic, and
- Providing federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime.
- The Attorney General or his/her designee chairs the Insider Threat Task Force established by Executive Order 13587.
- The Attorney General is advised on justice information sharing by the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global).
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
“The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.”
The FBI is a member of the Intelligence Community and is an agency within the Department of Justice. The FBI has “56 field offices, approximately 380 smaller offices throughout the country, and more than 60 international offices.”
The FBI also operates several information sharing systems and oversees/coordinates several key entities in the ISE: Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs), Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs), High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), and the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC).
Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) are regional and local joint operational units that conduct field investigations of actual or potential terrorist threats. As the lead law enforcement agency responsible for investigating terrorist threats in the United States, the FBI currently runs and manages 103 JTTF locations throughout the country. In addition to FBI personnel, nationwide JTTF participation includes more than 1,500 representatives from over 500 federal, state, tribal, and local agencies, including members from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as officials from other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. FBI and interagency personnel are co-located at each JTTF location; investigators and analysts from all participating agencies work hand-in-hand on a daily basis to conduct domestic and international terrorism assessments and investigations within the parameters outlined in the Department of Justice Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. Through the use of pooled resources and information sharing-and in close coordination with local FIGs and Fusion Centers-JTTFs have had great success in combating terrorist threats both in the homeland and around the world.
Field Intelligence Groups, or FIGs, are located in each of the FBI’s 56 field offices and are staffed with FBI intelligence analysts, language analysts, and special agents. FIGs are the primary mechanism through which FBI field offices develop human intelligence; identify emerging trends; identify, evaluate, and prioritize threats within their areas of responsibility; and support domain awareness and investigative efforts through the use of strategic and tactical analysis, linguists, subject matter experts, special operations groups, and specialized surveillance groups. FIGs have established processes for collecting, analyzing, producing, and disseminating intelligence information while contributing to the enterprise-wide understanding of the current threat environment. These processes enhance the FBI’s ability to successfully penetrate national and transnational criminal networks, terrorist organizations, foreign intelligence services, and other entities that seek to harm the United States.
These centers play unique yet critical roles in securing the homeland. HIDTA ISCs are sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and aim to support the disruption and dismantlement of drug-trafficking and money-laundering organizations through the prevention or mitigation of associated criminal activity.
The ONDCP has recognized that the full benefit of the HIDTA Program can only be achieved with robust intelligence and information sharing. As such, the HIDTA Program mandates that each HIDTA has at least one initiative dedicated to intelligence and information sharing. In the majority of instances, the intelligence and information sharing initiative is referred to as the Investigative Support Center (ISC) and serves multiple states within the HIDTA designation.
The Terrorist Screening Center, or TSC, maintains the U.S. government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist-a single database of identifying information about those known to be or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity. “By supporting the ability of front-line screening agencies to positively identify known or suspected terrorists trying to obtain visas, enter the country, board aircraft, or engage in other activity, the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist is one of the most effective counterterrorism tools for the U.S. government.” Born out of the events of 9/11 and created in 2003, the TSC is now part of the FBI’s National Security Branch.
See the TSC’s website for a description of its efforts to safeguard civil liberties.
Global is a Federal Advisory Committee composed of over 30 different organizations that together advise the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing and integration initiatives. The Global initiative is led by a committee, the Global Advisory Committee (GAC), and is divided into a number of working groups and councils involving GAC members and other subject matter experts.
Fusion Center Note: DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, with support from Global, developed and issued a wide variety of useful guidance for fusion centers. These resources were created using input and feedback from fusion center leadership and personnel, thereby increasing the relevancy and usefulness of the products and resources to the National Network of Fusion Centers.
Although recently sunsetted, GPIQWG was established as a Global working group to focus on issues of privacy, information quality, civil rights, and civil liberties within the justice and public safety communities. GPIQWG’s aim was to ensure that personally identifiable information is appropriately collected, maintained, used, and disseminated within evolving integrated justice information systems.
Fusion Center Note: GPIQWG issued a wide variety of useful guidance for fusion centers, including:
- the Guide to Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments for State, Local, and Tribal Justice Entities.
GPIQWG guidance is available through DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Established in 2004, the CICC is made up of members representing law enforcement and homeland security organizations and agencies from all levels of government. The CICC serves as an advocate for state, local, and tribal law enforcement in their efforts to develop and share criminal intelligence for the purpose of promoting public safety and national security. The CICC operates at the policy level-setting priorities, directing research, and preparing advisory recommendations.
Until recently sunsetted, Global Intelligence Working Group (GIWG) was the research arm of the CICC: composed of subject matter experts supporting the development of law enforcement and homeland security-related products and resources.
Fusion Center Note: The CICC and GIWG issued a variety of useful guidance for fusion centers that are available through DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance with support from Global. These resources include:
- National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan,
- Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers,
- Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Compliance Verification for the Intelligence Enterprise,
- Developing a Policy on the Use of Social Media in Intelligence and Investigative Activities , and
- Recommendations for First Amendment-Protected Events for State and Local law Enforcement Agencies.