The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces

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


We concluded that the task forces and councils have enhanced information sharing, partnerships, and investigative capabilities for the Department's counterterrorism efforts. The task forces and councils have separate functions that generally are not duplicative, and they strengthen the Department's counterterrorism infrastructure and relationships with other federal, state, local, and private agencies. However, although we recognize that the task forces and councils were established or expanded quickly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we found that the Department has not ensured their organizational development or that all their functions have been accomplished. We concluded that the Department:

  • Does not use the NSCC for centralizing counterterrorism planning, policy development, and monitoring policy implementation across the Department;

  • Has not ensured that the JTTFs and ATACs have a coordinated strategy for sharing information with law enforcement agencies and first responders in remote areas;

  • Has not clearly defined what organization has oversight authority for the ATAC program;

  • has not ensured the FTTTF's timely acquisition of databases and development of its risk assessment tool for terrorist tracking; and

  • Has not ensured sufficient task force membership from certain internal and external organizations to facilitate counterterrorism efforts.

From an organizational development perspective, we concluded that the Department:

  • Has not ensured minimum training requirements in counterterrorism, which is a new subject to many task force and council members;

  • Has not ensured stability and continuity in task force leadership to minimize work disruption;

  • Has not adequately addressed continuing problems with information technology connectivity that interfere with task force work; and

  • Has not fully developed relevant performance measures to determine the outcomes of the task forces and councils, and the contributions of individual members.

To aid in the improvement of the task forces' and councils' operations, we made 28 recommendations some of which include Department-wide issues, others of which address individual task forces and councils. Appendix I contains a complete list of the issues and recommendations. We believe that if the Department pursues these recommendations, its counterterrorism capabilities will be enhanced.

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