Announced in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) began operation on May 1, 2003, in temporary offices inside the CIA's Langley, Va. headquarters. The new center, designed to remedy the intelligence-gathering problems exposed by the Sept. 11 attacks, acts as the U.S. government's hub for terrorism-related analysis, collecting information from all 15 members of the U.S. government's intelligence community.
TTIC has a growing staff of about 100 analysts drawn from across the U.S. intelligence community with most coming from the CIA, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, the center's three leading agencies. Its director is John O. Brennan, a 23-year CIA veteran who served as the CIA's deputy executive director before Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet tapped him to head the new center. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have appointed deputy directors to TTIC.
By May 2004, TTIC will be combined with the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC) and the FBI's counterterrorism division at a yet-to-be-acquired site, and will house several hundred analysts. In May 2003, TTIC took over responsibility for creating the president's Daily Threat Matrix from the CTC.
TTIC has become the principal gateway for policymakers' requests for analysis of potential terrorist threats to U.S. interests. The TTIC's analysts coordinate and transmit information between the various intelligence agencies.
"Let's say a federal Air Marshal gathers intelligence while on the job. They send that in to their operations center, who kicks it up to our Information Analysis office in Homeland Security and that is the conduit to TTIC," says Homeland Security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
"Once the information makes it to TTIC, it's compared against all the other information coming in," he continues. "They plot it out, look at it and see if it connects to something. Let's say that Air Marshall information is associated with something on a Mexican airline. Maybe the FBI will get its legal attachè in Mexico City to follow something up."
TTIC will also have the final authority for determining which names will appear on the consolidated terrorist-watch list, which the new Terrorist Screening Center will compile when it opens its doors in December.
In a statement to Congress, TTIC Director John Brennan emphasized that the center will not collect its own intelligence or run its own operations. Brennan reports directly to Director of Central Intelligence Tenet.
Chart: The Flow of Intelligence
How TTIC and other government agencies share intelligence.
Fact Sheet: Bush to Create Terrorist Threat Integration Center
This fact sheet was released after President Bush announced the creation of the TTIC in his January 2003 State of the Union address. It details how the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department planned to contribute to the new entity.
The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and its Relationship with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security
On July 22, 2003, the House Committee on the Judiciary sponsored this hearing on the TTIC. Here are the prepared testimonies of the four witnesses:
Berman is the president of the Center for Democracy and Technology. He testified on the TTIC's implications for civil liberties, saying "A set of guidelines needs to be issued for the unique intelligence tasking, fusion, analysis and dissemination function now contemplated for TTIC." Berman also argued that TTIC oversight should fall to the Department of Homeland Security, which has two oversight offices for privacy and civil liberties, rather than the CIA. [Note: This is a pdf file; Adobe Acrobat required]
In his testimony, Brennan, the TTIC's director, described the various agencies with representatives at the TTIC and their efforts to improve information sharing across the government. He gives as an example, a classified, TTIC-sponsored Web site that "will increasingly include products tailored for the needs of state and local officials, as well as private industry, such that the DHS and FBI -- who are, by mandate, the designated conduits of information to state and local representatives, and private industry - can readily pass this information along."
Mefford, the FBI's executive assistant director for counterterrorism and counterintelligence, told the committee, "TTIC will have no new or independent authority to engage in the collection of intelligence. TTIC will access, integrate and analyze available threat information, collected domestically and abroad, to provide a comprehensive threat picture."
Parrish is the acting assistant secretary for information analysis in the Department of Homeland Security's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. In his testimony, he discusses how his department's analysts fit into the TTIC and how they plan to provide tailored and competitive analysis, including "red teaming" to view threats from the terrorists' perspective.
Ed Carpenter and Erika Trautman are students at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.