Intelligence: October 19, 2003

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The U.S. intelligence community has explained to Congress that the only way to effectively deal with gathering information on terrorist threats is to create an organization that is not exposed to leaks and the constant attention of the media. To that end, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) was set up earlier this year by presidential order. The TTIC deals with intelligence data from intelligence agencies (CIA, DIA, Etc.) and the Homeland Security Department. To keep even the cost of this effort secret, the money spent on TTIC was placed under the CIA's secret "black" budget. Intelligence information regarding terrorism can be dangerous to publicize. This is mainly because the best sources will be from within terrorist organizations, or Islamic nations. If the names of any of these sources gets out, theirs lives are in danger. There are also potential problems when deals are made with some nations to obtain cooperation against terrorists. Some countries with shabby reputations can, nonetheless, often be in a position to provide useful information on terrorists. All of this is part of the usual day-to-day business of intelligence. But the agencies that make the deals and get the information are not willing to share it if there is any chance of the other outfit is at risk of leaking the stuff. The intelligence agencies invest years of effort, and the reputations of key staff, to get this stuff. It can all be undone by one leak to media who will print the secret, blame the source and ignore the consequences. As it is, the TTIC is going to have a hard time getting the goods, so they can compare data to similar stuff other agencies have, and determine if something is hot, or not.

 


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