Statement of John O. Brennan Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs "Assessing America's Counterterrorism Capabilities" August, 03 2004
Good morning, Chairman Collins, Senator Lieberman, and Committee members. It is an honor to be here today to testify before you on the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and the President's decision to establish a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
As this Committee knows, the President has embraced the Commission's recommendation for the creation of a centralized organization to integrate terrorist threat information. Yesterday in the Rose Garden, the President formally announced that he will establish a NCTC and take other actions designed to continue the process, underway since September 11, 2001, of strengthening America's ability to win the war on terrorism. This is a natural extension of the work and successes the Administration has already achieved through the establishment of TTIC.
In his State of the Union speech in January 2003, the President called for the creation of an integrated center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. On 1 May of last year, that vision became a reality with the stand up of TTIC. Over the past 15 months, TTIC has endeavored to optimize the U.S. Government's knowledge and formidable capabilities in the fight against terrorism. For the first time in our history, a multi-agency entity has access to information systems and databases spanning the intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomatic, and military communities that contain information related to the threat of international terrorism. In fact, TTIC has direct-access connectivity with 26 separate U.S. Government networks -- with more planned -- enabling information sharing as never before in the U.S. Government. This unprecedented access to information allows us to gain comprehensive insight to information related to terrorist threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad. Most importantly, it enhances the Government's ability to provide this information and related analysis to those responsible for detecting, disrupting, deterring, and defending against terrorist attacks.
In addition, there currently exists within the TTIC joint venture, real-time collaboration among analysts from a broad array of agencies and departments who sit side-by-side, sharing information and piecing together the scattered pieces of the terrorism puzzle. These partners include not only the FBI, CIA, and the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, but also other federal agencies and departments such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Health and Human Services, and the Department of Energy.
- As envisioned by the President, this physical integration of expertise and sharing of information enables and empowers the key organizations involved in the fight against terrorism. Collectively, they are fulfilling their shared responsibilities in a fused environment, â€śdoing businessâ€ť jointly as TTIC. This fusion and synergy will be further enhanced when CIA's Counterterrorist Center and FBI's Counterterrorism Division collocate with TTIC in the coming months.
- This integrated business model not only capitalizes on our respective and cumulative expertise, but it also optimizes analytic resources in a manner that allows us to cover more effectively and comprehensively the vast expanse of terrorist threats that will face the Homeland and U.S. interests worldwide for the foreseeable future.
This integration of perspectives from multiple agencies and departments represented in TTIC is serving as a force multiplier in the fight against terrorism. On a strategic level, TTIC works with the Community to provide the President and key Cabinet officials a daily analytic product on the most serious terrorist threats and related terrorism information that serves as a common foundation for decision making regarding the actions necessary to disrupt terrorist plans. Rather than multiple threat assessments and disparate information flows on the same subject matter being forwarded separately to senior policymakers, information and finished analysis are now fused in a multi-agency environment so that an integrated and comprehensive threat picture is provided. If there are analytic differences on the nature or seriousness of a particular threat, they are incorporated into the analysis.
As is evident, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center embodies several of the characteristics envisioned by the Commission for the proposed â€śNational Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).â€ť It is an existing center for â€śjoint intelligence, staffed by personnel from the various agenciesâ€ť and well positioned to â€śintegrate all sources of information to see the enemy as a whole.â€ť It is likely for those reasons that the Commission recommends that TTIC serve as the foundation of a new NCTC. As a longtime proponent of structural reform of the Intelligence Community, I fully support the integration concept and the establishment of a National Counterterrorism Center. In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to working with TTIC's partner agencies, the Congress, and the White House to build upon TTIC's strong foundation and create a National Counterterrorism Center. The potential benefits of an NCTC are enormous. So too are the challenges. Together, we will need to determine how to implement the NCTC in a thoughtful and evolutionary manner so that we do not adversely affect ongoing activities in the global war on terrorism. We all have a special obligation in this regard.
In conclusion, I believe the benefits to be gained from the integration concept, as envisioned by the President and called for by the 9/11 Commission, strongly support the creation of a National Counterterrorism Center, and I look forward to working with you to implement a national counterterrorism system that maximizes the security and safety of all Americans, wherever they live or work.