U.S. Attorneys to target data sharing

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To ease data sharing and cooperation among federal, state and local officials

in the fight against terrorism, Attorney General John Ashcroft on Nov. 13

directed the U.S. Attorneys to develop communications protocols and designate

chief information officers.

By Dec. 1, each U.S. Attorneys district must develop communications

protocols for sharing information with state and local officials who serve

on the districts' Anti-Terrorism Task Forces and with chiefs of police and

elected officials who may not be members of the task force in their district,

Ashcroft said.

Also, each district will designate a CIO to serve on its Anti-Terrorism

Task Force. This person will consult with state and local officials on how

best to disseminate information within the district.

Ashcroft directed Sept. 17 each of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices to

establish Anti-Terrorism Task Forces that bring together federal, state

and local anti-terrorism officials. Task force coordinators will be responsible

for ensuring communication among these officials.

"Effective communication is vital because the task forces will be one

of the primary vehicles through which we call upon the assistance of our

state and local partners," Ashcroft said in prepared remarks. He was speaking

at the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys Anti-Terrorism Coordinators Conference

in Washington, D.C.

He also directed that $9.3 million be made available to support state

and local participation in the task forces. The money -- about $100,000

per task force -- could be used to buy such things as communications equipment

or to hire an intelligence analyst.

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