Intelligence officials call for info-sharing organization

A national plan for sharing criminal intelligence information needs independent operational support to be successful, intelligence officials said.

Bringing together the intelligence systems scattered between federal, local and state law enforcement agencies can be difficult considering the differing culture of each group. Yet a federation or network of networks, is the cornerstone of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing plan, a list of recommendations to share sensitive but unclassified information among law enforcement agencies.

The plan, presented in October at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, maps a way to share crime data among agencies, particularly whose with fewer resources. The plan focuses on guidelines, policies and standards to assist in the sharing.

"There's a heavy focus on just the connection of these networks to each other, as opposed to what we are going to do one we're connected," said David Martin-McCormick, director of information management for the Intelink Management Office, an independent office that reports to the deputy chief information officer for the intelligence community.

Martin-McCormick spoke Tuesday on a panel at the E-Gov Homeland Security conference in Washington, D.C.

The intelligence community faced similar hurdles in bringing together various data systems, which spawned the creation of the Intelink Management Office to oversee the organization. Martin-McCormick said criminal information sharing efforts need a similar agency.

"To really make this work, I think, requires a real independent organization like the one we have — but not the one we have," he said. "We're not volunteering for the position."

The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) and the FBI's Law Enforcement Online (LEO) are examples of two systems linking up to share criminal data. The networks allow law enforcement agencies to search and exchange sensitive but unclassified information while ensuring the proper security clearances and access controls.

The challenge of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan is aligning policies to leverage the existing systems, said John Morgan, assistant administrator for the National Institute of Justice and Science at the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs. "Each system needs to overcome policy barriers and technology barriers so they can leverage their assets," he said.


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