CIA, FBI wrangle over threat center

White House fact sheet on Terrorist Threat Integration Center

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A little more than a week before the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) is to commence operations, questions remain over how the organization will be run.

The center is intended to be a joint effort between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that will serve as a data repository and analysis center for pursuing leads in the war on terror. However, the intelligence agencies do not yet see eye-to-eye on how the TTIC — which will launch May 1 — should be run.

In March, the CIA announced that its deputy executive director, John Brennan, would lead the center from the CIA's side. The FBI has yet to name Brennan's Bureau counterpart, a fact that does not sit well with executives at the CIA and some lawmakers.

"We don't agree with the FBI's decision to do this and reject the notion that this should be a CIA-run organization," said Bobby Brady, the CIA's deputy chief information officer. "We don't believe it should just be the CIA because the CIA is just too vulnerable, and there would not be enough involvement from the FBI and other agencies."

At a February meeting of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) questioned whether all the agencies had clearly delineated functions.

"I'd like to see an executive order or a decision by the agencies involved placing the responsibility exactly where you say it is," Levin told the panel of FBI, CIA and Homeland Security Department officials. "We cannot blur it. We cannot duplicate it." Without clear responsibilities, agencies will be able to "duck accountability," he said.

Brady said he and CIA chief information officer Alan Wade plan to meet this week with W. Wilson Lowery, the FBI's executive assistant director for administration, to pressure the FBI to name its leader for TTIC.

"The FBI doesn't have to provide someone who is an [information technology] expert or anything like that," Brady said, speaking at an event hosted by the government market research firm Input. "All we need is someone who understands how the FBI runs and can help out in getting this organization off the ground."

Brady said the TTIC initially will consist of about 50 people, whose task it will be to coordinate efforts among the CIA and the FBI, as well as several other federal agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the departments of State and Homeland Security.

By this time next year, the number of people associated with TTIC should grow substantially, and the organization should have its own facility.

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