The New York Times ran a story recently, profiling FBI terrorist threat squads, which are specifically tasked with following leads to terrorist threats in order to stop potential attacks. The bureau’s counter terrorism units have doubled since 9/11, and ranks terrorist threats as its #1 concern.
“Of the 5,500 leads that the squad has pursued since it was formed five years ago, only 5 percent have been found credible enough to be sent to permanent F.B.I. squads for longer-term investigations, said Supervisory Special Agent Kristen von KleinSmid, head of the squad. Only a handful of those cases have resulted in criminal prosecutions or other law enforcement action, and none have foiled a specific terrorist plot, the authorities acknowledge.”
This past Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, appointed a task force to asses the much ridiculed terror alert system, which currently assigns colors to threat levels ranging from green to red. Created by the Bush administration after 9/11, the terrorist threat level is supposed to be an indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack. The color system has been criticized for being too vague, not readily giving an accurate picture of the actual terror threat. Napolitano hopes to make the system less vague, more useable, and more reactive to actual terrorist information.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a division of the US Department of Justice, recently released “Policing Terrorism: An Executive’s Guide.” The guide was designed with the input of numerous law enforcement agencies across the US and is intended as an outline for a sustainable crime-prevention and terrorist-prevention strategy. In this vein, the guide focuses on local agencies with an emphasis on intelligence gathering and analysis.
Deborah Osborne of Analysts’ Corner just posted a story about a document she found on the intersection of crime and terror. The report was originally released by the Center for Policing Terrorism and analyzes and informs on the ways that terrorism groups have ventured into local crime in order to fund terrorist activities. It’s very informative and could potentially help law enforcement better identify terrorist activities and distinguish terrorist activities from other petty crime.
Many states have recently created the new office of State Chief Information Officer (CIO), in order to streamline their information systems statewide. Making such a move, will better allow state agencies to share data and communicate with each other.
Teri Takai, Califonia’s new CIO, recently announced the appointment of Michael Byrne to the office of Geospatial Information Officer (GIO). Byrne’s job is to take all the data from across the state organize it into maps that can correlate information. Such correlation is done at smaller levels, like crime mapping, but Byrne will be able to use data at much larger level and seen correlation at a state level.
Government Technology reports this week on a video posted by California’s newly appointed Geographic Information Officer (GIO), Michael Byrne. In the video, posted below, Byrne explains the importance of state-wide GIS for data sharing and analysis. He gets to the heart of what GIS can do and what it can mean for state governments, and by extension, law enforcement.
What this means for you, is that California (and other states that have begun to appoint CIOs and GIOs) will be able to more efficiently share information about crime and homeland security issues.
Watch the video below to hear Byrne explain it in his own words.