Mr. William Parrish
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Information Sharing and Coordination for Visa Issuance: Our First Line of Defense for Homeland Security.
September 23, 2003
Acting Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis , Department of Homeland Security
|Statement of William Parrish
Acting Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate
Department of Homeland Security
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
September 23, 2003
Good morning Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. I am delighted to appear before you today to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s role in the Terrorist Screening Center as well as the role of the Information Analysis Office in the Intelligence Community.
I am currently serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis in the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IAIP). Prior to assuming this role, I was the Senior DHS representative to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC). In this capacity I served in a senior leadership position as the Associate Director for Homeland Security. My tenure in the US Customs Service as the Executive Director of Anti-terrorism provided the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the criticality of information sharing and the necessity for recognition and understanding of individual agencies’ capabilities in the fight against terrorism.
Although only six months old, I can assure you that IAIP is moving forward to carry out its statutory responsibilities, and the key missions of Information Analysis including:
• Providing the full range of intelligence support to senior DHS leadership
• With IP, mapping terrorist threats to the homeland against our assessed vulnerabilities in order to drive our efforts to protect against terrorist attacks
• Conducting independent analysis and assessments of terrorist threats, including competitive analysis, tailored analysis, and “red teaming”
• Integrating the work of all of DHS’ components as well as managing the collection and processing of information into usable and actionable information from DHS’ intelligence components, e.g., the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration Coast Guard, and Secret Service
• Working closely to maintain transparent information exchange between those DHS/IA officers assigned to work on DHS’ behalf at the TTIC, IA officers conducting the threat analysis mission at DHS Headquarters, our TTIC partners and other Federal Agencies, state and local officials and the private sector
• Disseminating time sensitive alerts and advisories to federal, state, local governments and private sector infrastructure owners and operators
IAIP is unique among U.S. intelligence and law enforcement elements in authority, responsibility, and access to information. IAIP has robust, comprehensive, and independent access, as mandated by the President and in the law, to information relevant to homeland security, raw and processed, collected domestically and abroad. Accessing the information and intelligence from this mosaic of programs and systems of federal, state and local agencies supports our mission to analyze data and take action to protect against terrorist attacks directed at the U.S. homeland. IA has the ability to conduct its own analysis and to leverage the information of the FBI, CIA, and the remainder of the Intelligence Community and federal government, plus state and local law enforcement and private sector entities, to protect the Homeland.
Central to the success of the DHS mission is the close working relationship between the Office of Information Analysis (“IA”) and the Office of Infrastructure Protection (“IP”) to ensure threat information is correlated with critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and protective programs. This threat and vulnerability information can then be used to recommend preventative and protective measures. The integration of information access and analysis on the one hand, and vulnerabilities analysis and protective measures on the other, is the fundamental mission of the IAIP Directorate.
Beyond the unique IA-IP partnership; the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serves as a focal point for the Nation’s efforts to protect our homeland. The HSOC is a 24 x 7 x 365 days a year Watch Center and is comprised of members from over thirteen federal agencies from the Intelligence Community, Law Enforcement Agencies, emergency preparedness organizations and entities focused on infrastructure protection. Given the information provided from the parent organizations of these entities, and the all-source data provided by other DHS partners, information and intelligence relating to threats to the homeland are analyzed from multiple perspectives. This all-source data-fusion performed at IAIP allows products to be tailored to address a specific threat to allow DHS constituents to prioritize resource allocations in the enhancement of their security posture to counter potential terrorist acts.
IAIP is the central information center of DHS efforts to coordinate the protection of the U.S. homeland. As such, with active participation of the Directorates, particularly the Border and Transportation Security Directorate, IA supports the DHS law enforcement components through timely and integrated analytical support. For example, in a single day:
• In coordination with BCBP, which process over 1.1 million passengers arriving in our Nation’s airports and seaports, inspection of over 57,000 trucks and containers, 580 vessels, 2,400 aircraft, and 323,000 vehicles coming into this country, IA has immediate access to valuable information of potential terrorist activities which further enhances our ability to develop threat plot lines
• In coordination with BICE, which investigates cases involving alien smuggling, terrorist financial dealings and other crimes associated with terrorist operations, IA analysis and assessments have the ability to identify potential trends of terrorist related activity
• In coordination with the Transportation Security Administration, which screens approximately 1.5 million passengers before they board commercial aircraft, IA assists in determining which individuals should be prevented from boarding those aircraft
IA ensures that homeland security products derived from the fusing of disparate types of information are shared with Federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector. Additionally, IA coordinates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in publishing combined DHS-FBI Intelligence Bulletins.
In addition to mapping terrorist threats to the homeland, and carrying out its many other intelligence-support and analytic functions, IA is a full participant in the TTIC, with IA personnel physically located at the TTIC. The assignment of IA analysts to assist in the carrying out of DHS’ analytic mission as full partners in TTIC ensures the timely and relevant information flow to and from the IAIP directorate. This is not a substitute for the receipt of information directly at DHS Headquarters, but rather represents a recognition that, as provided by Congress and the President, authorities and capabilities to deter and disrupt terrorist threats, particularly overseas, are shared among a number of departments and agencies and such activities often must be undertaken in concert with state, local, and foreign governments.
Several IA officers are located at TTIC, working day-in-day-out, participating in processing and analyzing terrorist threat-related information, developing, shaping, and disseminating TTIC products, assessing gaps in the available information, and ensuring that TTIC products reach appropriate DHS Headquarters officials, and through DHS and the FBI as appropriate, state, local and private sector officials.
IA analysts assigned to TTIC will ensure that information gathered by DHS (from its own collectors as well as state and local governments and the private sector) reaches TTIC and informs its work and, equally important, that TTIC’s work directly supports DHS’s unique mission to protect the homeland.
The direct receipt at DHS Headquarters of information provided by statute and Presidential direction to DHS, the complimentary work of IA personnel assigned to TTIC, IA analysts detailed to other Intelligence Community partners, coupled with the multi-agency representation in the HSOC, ensures IA a robust, comprehensive, and independent access to information-- raw and processed, collected domestically and abroad-- relevant to analyzing terrorist threats to the homeland.
These efforts are further enhanced by the formation of the Terrorist Screening center, which is one of several new critical initiatives taken by the Administration to increase the sharing of information at all levels of government.
On September 16th, Secretary Ridge, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet announced the establishment of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) to consolidate terrorist watch lists and provide 24/7 operational support for thousands of federal screeners across the country and around the world. The Center will ensure that government investigators, screeners and agents are working off the same unified, comprehensive set of anti-terrorist information – and that they have access to information and expertise that will allow them to act quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or stopped.
The new Terrorist Screening Center, which receives the vast majority of its information from TTIC, will further enhance our ability to get information out to our agents on the borders and others who can put it to use on the front lines - and to get it there fast. TSC will consolidate information from a wide range of sources into an unclassified terrorist screening database accessible to federal, state and local agencies for a variety of screening purposes.
The TSC will be an interagency effort, administered by the FBI with a DHS official serving as the Principal Deputy Director. The Departments of Homeland Security and State will coordinate with and assign operational and staff support to the TSC. In addition to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, the Intelligence Community and other federal agencies will assign representatives to the TSC.
The Department of Homeland Security will play an integral role in developing the TSC’s operational capabilities and governing policy directions through our presence in the TSC.
I appear before you today to tell you that progress has been, and continues to be made on a daily basis by DHS. IAIP is building a strong team of professionals and assigning dedicated and knowledgeable individuals in key liaison positions within our partnering agencies. This will further enhance the timely access to critical information that when placed in the hands of the dedicated and competent members of DHS serving at our borders, airports, seaports across America, will increase our ability to detect, prevent and deny terrorists from striking our Homeland. With the continued support of Congress, I am confident that IAIP and our partners in the war against terrorism can succeed in meeting the challenges before us.
As Secretary Ridge has stated on numerous occasions, “When our hometowns are secure, our homeland will be secure.” This is a fundamental principle of the nation’s homeland security effort. Everyone is a partner in the effort. We must be aggressive in connecting and staying connected with our partners to provide an extraordinary and unprecedented exchange of information. This information must be actionable by local law enforcement and first responders, but must also empower the average citizen to do his part in helping to secure our Homeland.
Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.