The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2005-007
June 2005
Office of the Inspector General


The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted the Department to redefine its mission, objectives, and priorities to focus on counterterrorism. Attorney General Ashcroft elevated counterterrorism to the Department's first strategic goal and stated that the Department will devote "all the resources necessary to disrupt, weaken, and eliminate terrorist networks, prevent or thwart terrorist operations, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist acts."7

As part of these changes, Attorney General Ashcroft directed the formation or expansion of terrorism task forces and councils that coordinate and integrate intelligence and law enforcement efforts related to counterterrorism issues. These task forces included the Deputy Attorney General's NSCC, the U.S. Attorneys' ATACs; and the FBI's JTTFs, NJTTF, and FTTTF. The following synopses describes the councils' and task forces' mission, history, functions and operations, membership and management, and budget. Appendix II consolidates this information in a table.


The National Security Coordination Council (NSCC)

Facts in Brief

History: Established by the Attorney General on March 5, 2002.

Functions: Assists the Department's leadership in defining, coordinating, and enhancing the Department's counterterrorism strategy. Reviews and allocates the Department's counterterrorism budget. Frames national security issues for the Attorney General's resolution.

Size: 1 headquarters-based council for Department of Justice executives.

Membership: 10 permanent members, including the Deputy Attorney General, the Attorney General's Chief of Staff, Assistant Attorneys General for the Criminal Division and Office of Justice Programs, the Counsel of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, and the heads of the Department's components (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals Service).

Management Structure: Under the direction of the Deputy Attorney General, with support provided by his staff.

Budget: FY 2003, $2 million (total). No separate line item after FY 2003.

How to Join: Restricted to Department leadership; guests are invited periodically to attend.

Mission: To ensure a more seamless coordination of all Department functions relating to national security, particularly its efforts to combat terrorism.

History: The Attorney General announced the creation of the NSCC on March 5, 2002, to provide a more coordinated effort to combat terrorism and address other national security challenges, both within the Department and in the Department's interaction with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Functions and Operations: By Attorney General Memorandum, the NSCC was formed to:

  • Centralize and coordinate policy, resource allocation, operations, and long-term planning of Department components regarding counterterrorism, counterespionage, and other major national security issues;

  • Monitor the implementation of Department policy to ensure that components are taking necessary and appropriate actions to prevent and disrupt the occurrence of terrorist attacks in the United States;

  • Provide an institutionalized Department forum for crises management;

  • Promote coordination and information-sharing within the Department, between the Department and other federal agencies and interagency bodies, and between the Department and state and local law enforcement authorities, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to terrorist attacks within the United States;

  • Frame national security issues for resolution by the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General; and

  • Ensure that positions advanced by the Deputy Attorney General on behalf of the Department at interagency meetings of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and other interagency forums reflect input from Department national security components.8

Attorney General Ashcroft further stated that the NSCC would help the Department "develop, direct, and execute its counterterrorism strategy to eliminate terrorist threats before they develop into terrorist acts."9

Examples of work performed and projects undertaken by the NSCC relating to the coordination of national security issues include the following:

  • A sub-group of the NSCC coordinated an interagency planning process for post-conflict reconstruction activities prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. This sub-group continues to coordinate the implementation of plans for the reconstruction of the justice, police, and corrections sectors of Iraq. A similar process exists under the NSCC for coordinating reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

  • An NSCC working group, chaired by a member of the Deputy Attorney General's staff, coordinated the Department's contributions to and review of the publication of the DHS Interim National Response Plan, the National Incident Management System, and the National Response Plan, which are mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5.

  • The NSCC coordinated a memorandum from the Attorney General regarding the response to a terrorist threat that delegated the authority for components to provide support to FBI offices around the country.

Membership and Management: The Deputy Attorney General is the NSCC chairperson, and the NSCC's permanent members include the following officials with responsibility for national security matters:

  • Chief of Staff to the Attorney General

  • Director, FBI (with appropriate participation by the FBI Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism/ Counterintelligence)

  • Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division (with appropriate participation by the Counterterrorism Section, the Office of International Affairs, and other Division components)

  • Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs

  • Counsel, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)

  • Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

  • Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

  • Director, Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

  • Director, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS)

Other senior Department officials, as well as senior officials from the CIA and other government agencies are invited to attend NSCC meetings when appropriate.

The NSCC receives staff support from attorneys and administrative personnel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. The NSCC incorporated the functions and personnel of the former Executive Office of National Security.

Budget: In FY 2003, the NSCC was allocated $2 million. No separate line-item existed for the NSCC in FY 2004 or FY 2005.

The Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs)
(formerly Anti-Terrorism Task Forces)

Facts in Brief

History: Created by the Attorney General on September 17, 2001, and renamed Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils on September 25, 2003.

Functions: Facilitate the exchange of information between its members and conduct counterterrorism training. Coordinate terrorism prosecutorial and investigative strategies among the CTS, the FBI's JTTFs, and USAOs.

Size: 93 task forces, one in each judicial district (the judicial districts of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands combined ATACs).

Membership: Approximately 11,000 members, comprising federal, state, and local law enforcement; first responders; public health managers; utility companies; and private industry security.

Management Structure: Each U.S. Attorney appoints a senior Assistant U.S. Attorney to coordinate the ATAC's operations. Intelligence Research Specialists assist the Coordinator. EOUSA and CTS provide administrative support and operational oversight.

Budget: FY 2002 - $9.3 million ($100,000 for each task force) for use until expended, but not later than September 2004. Three ATACs received extensions until December 2004 and three others until March 2005.

FY 2004 - No further allocation for ATACs.

How to Join: Requests made through the local USAO. Security clearance not required.

Mission: To coordinate the dissemination of terrorism information and the development of investigative and prosecutive strategies throughout the United States.

History: Immediately after September 11, 2001, the Attorney General directed all U.S. Attorneys to establish an Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF) and appoint an experienced Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) as the ATTF Coordinator in each district. In a September 17, 2001, memorandum, the Attorney General instructed each ATTF to coordinate the implementation of an operational plan for preventing terrorism, serve as the conduit of information about suspected terrorists between federal and local agencies, and coordinate the district's response to a terrorist incident. The memorandum also required each ATTF Coordinator to work with the designated Regional Coordinator in CTS to ensure consistent application of terrorism prosecution strategies and to provide guidance to the task forces.10

The ATTF Coordinators convened their first meetings on September 18, 2001. The Deputy Attorney General also issued further guidance to the ATTF Coordinators on membership, mission, and the relationship with the FBI and the JTTFs.11

In September 2003, the Attorney General renamed the task forces the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) to better describe their activities.12 The new name helped to clarify their mission and differentiate them from other terrorism-related task forces.

Functions and Operations: The ATACs are responsible for coordinating the exchange of terrorism-related information, as well as providing or facilitating counterterrorism training, for all appropriate parties in a judicial district. The ATACs hold meetings, organize training sessions for members, and have purchased communication equipment for state and local law enforcement. The ATAC Coordinators also work jointly with the FBI and the JTTFs in terrorism investigations and prosecutions.

Membership and Management: There are approximately 11,000 members in the 93 ATACs across the country. Members include federal, state, and local law enforcement officers; first responders; private industry security personnel; and individuals from any other relevant organization that has a need for terrorism-related threat information. While JTTF membership is limited to law enforcement personnel with security clearances, the ATAC is open to a broader range of participants and does not require security clearances for its members.

ATACs are coordinated by an experienced AUSA. Each USAO was given funds to hire an Intelligence Research Specialist, who provides support to the ATAC Coordinator and is often used to support the district's JTTF. According to the Attorney General's memorandum, each U.S. Attorney has the autonomy to operate the ATAC to fit the district's needs.

CTS appointed Regional ATAC Coordinators (located at the Criminal Division in Washington, D.C.) who provide assistance to ATAC Coordinators in the development, coordination, and prosecution of terrorism cases.

CTS has established a National ATAC Coordinator position, filled annually on a rotating basis by a field ATAC Coordinator, to provide additional support to ATACs and to provide headquarters with a field perspective.

EOUSA provides administrative support to the ATACs. One staff person in EOUSA is responsible for providing support to ATACs.

Budget: The ATAC program received $9.3 million in FY 2002 to purchase communication equipment and organize anti-terrorism training for state and local law enforcement agencies. Each USAO received a onetime allocation of $100,000 to expend originally by December 2003 (extended to September 2004, and then to December 2004 for three ATACs and to March 2005 for three other ATACs). Since FY 2002, the ATACs have not received any additional appropriations. EOUSA and CTS do not separately identify the funds used for ATAC duties.

Figure 1: Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Locations


[ Not Available Electronically ]


The Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs)

Mission: To detect and investigate terrorists and terrorist groups and prevent them from carrying out terrorist acts directed against the United States.

Facts in Brief

History: Started in 1979 as a concept to address bank robberies. The first JTTF was implemented in 1980 in the FBI's New York City field office. The FBI subsequently applied the task force concept to its counterterrorism program in other field offices.

Functions: Operational unit that conducts field investigations of actual or potential terrorism threats.

Size: 35 task forces before September 11, 2001, 103 task forces as of March 2005.

Membership: 912 members before September 11, 2001. As of January 2005, 5,085 federal, state, and local members from law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and other agencies.

Management Structure: Housed in the FBI's field and satellite offices, the members are assigned taskings and managed by an FBI Supervisory Special Agent.

Budget: FY 2004, $286 million (total), FY 2005, $375 million (total).

How to Join: Requested through or invited by local FBI field office. Parent agency and the FBI sign an MOU. Members must obtain a Top Secret security clearance.

History: In 1979, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI's New York City field office formed a task force to jointly investigate bank robberies that were affecting New York City's financial community. The FBI and the NYPD each committed 11 members to start the task force. The FBI recognized the value of the task force concept in its investigative processes and subsequently applied the concept to the counterterrorism program.

The FBI established the first JTTF in May 1980 in the New York City field office. The New York City JTTF grew to include additional NYPD members and members from other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Each of the member agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that identified the task force's objectives as responding to and investigating terrorist incidents or terrorist-related criminal activities and investigating domestic and foreign terrorist groups.13

The FBI expanded the terrorism task force concept to other field offices and by 1996 there were JTTFs in 11 of the FBI's 56 field offices.

Over the next several years, the number of terrorist incidents, suspected terrorist incidents, and terrorist preventions increased.14 The FBI subsequently activated JTTFs in additional field offices, bringing the total to 35 JTTFs in FY 2000. After September 11, 2001, the FBI expanded its JTTF coverage to the remaining 21 field offices and began to create JTTF annexes in its resident agency offices (RAOs). A JTTF annex operates identical to a JTTF in a FBI field office. At the end of FY 2002, the FBI had 66 total JTTFs (56 field office JTTFs and 10 JTTF annexes). Since FY 2002, 37 additional JTTF annexes were established, bringing the total number of JTTFs to 103.

Functions and Operations: The JTTFs are squads within the FBI's field offices, and select RAOs, that focus primarily on addressing terrorism threats and preventing terrorist incidents. The JTTFs are the "operational" units within the Department's counterterrorism initiative because they respond to terrorism leads and conduct terrorism investigations. The JTTFs also pool the resources and expertise of multiple agencies to collect and share counterterrorism intelligence. The JTTFs share classified and unclassified information with their federal, state, and local partners and hold meetings for their members and agency liaisons.

Examples of some prominent cases the JTTFs participated in include:

  • 1997 - Conviction of Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Mahmoud Ismal for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

  • 1997 - Prevention of several domestic terrorism acts by members of the True Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • 2001 - Investigation of a Hizbollah cell through the arrests and convictions of 20 individuals in North Carolina. A related investigation by the Detroit JTTF has yielded 14 convictions.

  • 2001 - Dismantling of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an organization that allegedly has links to Hamas.

  • 2003 - The Palestine Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, activities and capabilities in the U.S. were severely undercut by the arrests of the U.S. PIJ leader, Sami al-Arian, and three of his top lieutenants. There has been no indication of a new U.S. PIJ leadership since the arrest of al-Arian.

  • 2004 - In Virginia, Mohammed Ali al-Timini, the spiritual leader of the Virginia Jihad training group disrupted last year, was indicted for his involvement in the recruitment of U.S. citizens for extremist training and jihad preparation. On April 22, 2005, a Virginia jury convicted al-Timini on all ten counts of indictment.

  • 2004 - In New York, Yassin Muhiddin Aref was arrested on money laundering charges connected to a possible terrorist plot to kill a Pakistani diplomat.

  • 2004 -In Detroit, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani was indicted and convicted in the Eastern District of Michigan on one count of Conspiracy to provide material support to Hizballah.

Additionally, the FBI uses the JTTFs to coordinate security measures for all national special events, such as the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Basketball and Hockey Tournaments, and the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Membership and Management: The FBI reported the following numbers for JTTF membership in June 2004.

Table 2: JTTF Membership
MembersPre-9/11FY 2004
FBI614 (67%)1,844 (43%)
Other Federal Agencies155 (17%)1,197 (28%)
State and Local143 (16%)1,204 (29%)
Total912 (100%)4,245 (100%)
Sources: The FBI's Counterterrorism Program Since September 2001, issued June 2004.

The JTTFs' membership increased from its pre-September 11, 2001, number of 912 task force members to 5,085 members in January 2005. Members serve on the JTTFs either full time or part time and report to an FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA). The JTTFs' operations in the field offices are managed directly by an FBI SSA who reports to an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) at the division office. For JTTFs in RAOs, the SSA reports to the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) or Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) of the respective field office.

The JTTFs are primarily divided into two major sections: international terrorism and domestic terrorism. FBI offices with larger JTTFs further divide their functions and create squads that focus on specific topics.

JTTF members must obtain a Top Secret security clearance. Agency liaisons to the JTTF serve as "points of contact" and do not require security clearances. The JTTFs also develop partnerships among law enforcement; the intelligence community; the military; and federal, state, and local government. The JTTF members can include, but are not limited to:

  • Federal partners:
    • Central Intelligence Agency
    • U.S. Department of Commerce
    • U.S. Department of Defense: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Criminal Investigative Service
    • U.S. Department of Energy
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service
    • U.S. Department of Justice: U.S. Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Federal Bureau of Prisons
    • U.S. Department of Treasury: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • U.S. Capitol Police
    • U.S. Park Police

  • State partners:
    • State police
    • State highway patrols
    • Departments of public safety
    • Transit administrations
    • National Guard
    • State bureaus of investigation
    • State attorneys' offices
    • State universities and colleges
    • State departments of justice

  • Local and private industry partners:
    • Police departments (city, county)
    • Sheriff departments
    • University police departments
    • Transportation authorities (railroad, port, airport, and other law enforcement entities that support transportation)
    • Utility companies

Budget: In FY 2003, the FBI received $216 million to fund the JTTFs' operations, and in FY 2004 the amount received increased to $285 million. The FY 2005 JTTF budget is $375.2 million.

Figure 2: Joint Terrorism Task Force Locations


[ Not Available Electronically ]


The National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF)

Mission: To support the JTTFs and to enhance communication, coordination, and cooperation among federal, state, and local government agencies by providing a point of fusion for terrorism intelligence.

Facts in Brief

History: Established by the FBI Director in July 2002.

Functions: Provided administrative, logistical, and training support to the JTTFs. Coordinates special information and intelligence gathering initiatives assigned from FBI headquarters. Assesses and combines intelligence into analytical products.

Size: 1 headquarters-based task force.

Membership: 62 members from 40 agencies, including federal, state, and local agency representatives from law enforcement, defense, diplomatic services, public safety, and homeland security.

Management Structure: An FBI Unit Chief and DHS Deputy Unit Chief jointly manage its operations. Managed by the FBI's Counterterrorism Division under the Deputy Assistant Director for Operations.

Budget: FY 2004, $5.1 million (total), $2.8 million (non-personnel).

How to Join: Requested through or invited by the FBI. Parent agency and the FBI sign an MOU. Members must obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.

History: The rapid post-September 11, 2001, growth in the number of JTTFs increased the need for coordination between the JTTFs and the FBI's headquarters. In July 2002, the FBI formed the NJTTF to coordinate the flow of information on threats and leads between the FBI headquarters and the JTTFs and to function as the "hub" of support for the JTTFs throughout the United States.15

Functions and Operations: The NJTTF operates a multi-agency task force with staff from the intelligence, law enforcement, defense, diplomatic, public safety, and homeland security communities. The NJTTF provides administrative, logistical, policy, financial, and training support and guidance to the JTTFs. It works with other FBI headquarters units to identify tools that promote information sharing between state and local law enforcement and the JTTFs.

According to the FBI the NJTTF serves as the "point of fusion" for terrorism intelligence for the JTTFs, member agencies, and others in the intelligence community. Using its access to databases provided by its members, the NJTTF conducts assessments of terrorism intelligence and combines them into analytical products. It also verifies terrorism information through the NJTTF members' interaction and interpretation.

During crisis situations, the NJTTF's members support the FBI's Strategic Intelligence Operations Center and provide information that addresses the crisis or terrorist act.

The NJTTF coordinates terrorism projects that require JTTF intelligence gathering and consolidates the information received from the JTTFs into reports that are disseminated to the specific units in the Counterterrorism Division, JTTFs, FBI Legal Attaches (LEGATs) and other government agencies.

Membership and Management: The NJTTF has 62 members (15 FBI and 47 representatives from other government agencies). The participating agencies are listed on the following page.16 All members must obtain a Top Secret security clearance. The NJTTF accepts members from state and local law enforcement agencies on a temporary basis through its Fellowship and Scholarship Programs. The NJTTF Fellowship Program accepts members from state and local law enforcement agencies for 6-month assignments. The NJTTF Scholarship Program targets the field office JTTF supervisors who are assigned to the NJTTF for two weeks. These programs allow the NJTTF to improve its liaisons with state and local law enforcement agencies and the JTTFs.

Agencies Participating on the NJTTF

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Capitol Police
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Defense
    • Defense HUMINT Services
    • Defense Intelligence Agency
    • Defense Criminal Investigative Service
    • U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations
    • U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division
    • U.S. Army Military Intelligence
    • Naval Criminal Investigative Service
    • U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
    • Joint Forces Command (NORTHCOM)
    • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, headquarters component
    • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    • U.S. Coast Guard
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, headquarters component
    • U.S. Federal Protective Service
    • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    • U.S. Transportation Security Administration
    • Federal Air Marshals
    • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • U.S. Department of Justice
    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    • Drug Enforcement Administration
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Federal Bureau of Prisons
    • U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Department of Treasury
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Railroad Police
  • New York City Police Department
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department

Budget: The NJTTF's budget increased by approximately 97 percent from $2.6 million in FY 2003 to $5.1 million in FY 2004.

Figure 3: NJTTF Organization Chart

Click on image for a text only version.

Notes: IC = Intelligence Community, CTD = Counterterrorism Division, OGA = Other Government Agencies, TWIN = Threat Warnings and Indicator Notice, OLEC = Office of Law Enforcement Coordination; Operation Tripwire is a program whereby JTTFs collect intelligence and pursue leads to build an intelligence database and the FBI then analyzes the data collected to identify patterns.

The Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF)

Mission: To provide information that helps keep foreign terrorists and their supporters out of the United States or leads to their exclusion, removal, surveillance, or prosecution.

Facts in Brief

History: Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2, issued on October 29, 2001, required the Department to create the FTTTF. The Department started the FTTTF on October 31, 2001.

Functions: Uses technology, algorithms, and data sets to provide data to help prevent terrorists and their supporters from entering the United States and locate those that are already present. Also supports the FBI's JTTFs, NJTTF, and the headquarter-level counterterrorism units by providing data to be used in terrorism investigations.

Size: 1 headquarters-based task force.

Membership: 138 members, the majority of whom are FBI personnel, information technology contractors, or intelligence contractors.

Management Structure: Initially reported to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General, but shifted to the FBI in August 2002. Led by an FBI senior manager, who reports to the Counterterrorism Division's Deputy Assistant Director for Operations.

Budget: FY 2004, $61.6 million, FY 2005, $52.3 million.

How to Join: Requested through or invited by the FBI. Members must obtain a Top Secret security clearance with Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access.

History: On October 29, 2001, Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 required the Attorney General to create the FTTTF by November 1, 2001, with assistance from the Secretary of State, the Director of Central Intelligence, and other officers of the government, as appropriate. The FTTTF was originally created as an independent component within the Department of Justice, reporting to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General. In August 2002, the FTTTF was placed within the FBI and is currently located within the FBI's Counterterrorism Division with reporting responsibilities to the Deputy Attorney General and to the FBI Director.

Functions and Operations: Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 requires the FTTTF to ensure that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, federal agencies coordinate programs to: 1) deny entry into the United States of aliens associated with, suspected of being engaged in, or supporting terrorist activity; and 2) locate, detain, prosecute, or deport any such aliens already present in the United States. The FTTTF has identified three core functions to carry out this directive:

  • Tracking - to locate and track suspected terrorists and their supporters within the United States by providing authorized personnel with information about their previous travels or current location in the United States. This service is intended to enhance ongoing investigations for the JTTFs, NJTTF, and other government agencies by providing information that supports prosecutions and removals of foreign terrorists and their supporters.

  • Detection - to identify previously unknown terrorists and their supporters within the United States, or those outside the United States using public, proprietary, and other government data through non-obvious relationship algorithms.

  • Risk Assessment - to develop an automated risk analysis software tool that will identify high-risk individuals when applied to government, public, and proprietary data and databases the FTTTF acquires.

Examples of the work performed by the FTTTF include the following:

  • Identified a social security number found to be used by over 100 foreign individuals of Asian and Middle Eastern descent living in the Norfolk, Virginia area.

  • Increased the amount of new information for certain cases by an average of 21 percent by checking names through the FTTTF's compilation of databases.

  • Provided the FBI's Counterterrorism Division a previously unknown social security number and a Brooklyn address for a subject of an investigation linked to Al-Qaeda terrorists wanting to use the subject's textile business to import explosives.

  • Advised FBI Headquarters and the New York Field Office regarding a suspected terrorist trainer's presence in the United States. Also identified aliases, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and travel information for some of the nearly 50 foreign-based students of this trainer. Subsequently, the trainer and all of the students were added to the TIPOFF list.17

Membership and Management: Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 directs that the FTTTF be staffed by expert personnel from the FBI, the Department of State, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within DHS), the Customs Service (now the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within DHS), the U.S. Secret Service, the intelligence community, military support components, and other federal agencies, as appropriate, to accomplish the FTTTF's mission.

As of November 2004, the FTTTF staffing complement consisted of 138 employees and contractors from the following agencies:

  • FBI
  • U.S. Department of Justice (Chief Counsel
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) - Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Contractors - with analysts funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and analysts and information technology staff funded by CIFA

Budget: The FY 2004 budget was $61.6 million, and the FY 2005 budget is $52.3 million.

Figure 4: FTTTF Organization Chart

At the top is the FTTTF Director (FBI), then Security Officer and Special Assistant, followed by Deputy Director (CIFA/DOD). After that, there is the Tracking and Detection Unit, Risk Assessment Unit, Threat Processing and Assessment Unit, and Operations Support Unit.


  1. FY 2001 Performance Report/FY 2002 Revised Final Performance Plan/FY 2003 Performance Plan, U.S. Department of Justice, p. 1.

  2. Establishment of the National Security Coordination Council, Memorandum for Heads of Department Components, U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, March 2002.

  3. News Conference, National Security Coordination Council, Attorney General John Ashcroft, March 5, 2002.

  4. Anti-terrorism Plan Memorandum for all U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, September 17, 2001.

  5. Guidance for Anti-terrorism Task Forces Memorandum, U.S. Department of Justice, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, October 8, 2001.
  6. Responsibilities of Anti-terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) Memorandum for all U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, September 24, 2003.
  7. An MOU is an agreement between two or more agencies that defines the roles, responsibilities, and length of commitment for each of the affected parties.
  8. The FBI defines a terrorist incident as a "violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, or of any state, to intimidate or coerce government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. Suspected terrorist incident is a potential act of terrorism for which responsibility cannot be attributed to a known or suspected group. Terrorism prevention is a documented instance in which a violent act by a known or suspected terrorist group or individual with the means and a proven propensity for violence is successfully interdicted through investigative activity." See: Terrorism in the United States 1999, FBI, Counterterrorism Threat Assessment and Warning Unit, Counterterrorism Division, p. ii.
  9. Joint Terrorism Task Force Report to Congress, FBI, October 2003, p. 7.
  10. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been a member of the NJTTF since inception, but its position on the task force was vacant in March 2005.
  11. The TIPOFF system contains more than 100,000 names of potential terrorists that form the basis for both the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) [formerly known as the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC)] and Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) databases. Although TIPOFF was originally operated by the U.S. Department of State, responsibility for maintaining it has been transferred to NCTC.

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