Terrorism-Related Information Sharing
Recent planned and attempted acts of terrorism on U.S. soil underscore the importance of the governments continued need to ensure that information on potential terrorist threats is shared in an effective and timely manner.
The sharing of terrorism-related information has been designated as high risk because the government faces formidable challenges in analyzing and disseminating this information in a timely, accurate, and useful manner. Federal agencies have created new organizations, systems, partnerships, tools, and standards, among other things, to better share this information with each other and with state, local, tribal, and private security partners, but still have work to do to close gaps in sharing. Federal agencies can reduce risk on terrorism-related information sharing by focusing on several areas:
- Defining, developing, and implementing the remaining capabilities and technologies needed for sharingsuch as developing automated means to determine who is authorized to access dataand leveraging successful initiatives that individual agencies implement for the benefit of all homeland security partners.
- Developing cost estimates for needed programs and initiatives, which would allow decision makers to plan for and prioritize future investments.
- Building information-sharing initiatives into agencies enterprise architectures to help align technology investments as a means to promote sharing.
- Establishing a system of accountability to track progress and measure the information-sharing and homeland security benefits achieved to inform future investments, including ways to measure the benefits the government is deriving from multimillion-dollar federal investments in state and local fusion centersstate and local entities, supported in part with federal funding and personnel, that coordinate and collaborate with respect to sharing information related to criminal and terrorist activity and that fill information sharing gaps the federal government could not address.
- Assessing the impacts of the governments use of the terrorist watchlist to screen individuals for threats on agencies, their resources, and the traveling public to ensure that use of the list is working effectively and as intended, and that any needed adjustments are implemented.
Figure 1: Overview of the Terrorist Watchlist Nominations Process
GAO-12-809, Sep 18, 2012
GAO-12-476, May 31, 2012
GAO-12-144T, Oct 12, 2011
Information Sharing Environment
GAO-11-455, Jul 21, 2011
GAO-10-972, Sep 29, 2010
Department of Homeland Security
GAO-12-464T, Mar 8, 2012
GAO-11-661, Jun 23, 2011
Visa Waiver Program
GAO-11-335, May 5, 2011
GAO-11-508T, Mar 30, 2011
GAO-10-822T, Jun 9, 2010