Information handcuffs: Counterterrorism IT needs support from the top, Congress told
Originally published: March 11, 2010
Last updated: March 11, 2010 - 12:12pm
There is no technological silver bullet for identifying would-be terrorists in the terabytes of information the National Counterterrorism Center receives each day, a deputy director for that center said.
Russell Travers, NCTC's deputy director for information sharing and knowledge development, said the center has many technological tools that sort, sift and cull through the swaths of information it receives each day from some 30 networks that feed the center. But privacy and policy considerations put boundaries on what officials can do with the data. "The further you move in the direction of commingling foreign and domestic data in a single enclave where you can effectively apply tools, the harder the legal and policy and privacy issues become," Travers told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Travers testimony comes as intelligence agencies work to remedy problems exposed by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempt to blow up an airplane en route to Detroit on Dec. 25. Officials have said the inability to foil the plot was a failure of integration and analysis rather than a problem of information hoarding.
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