New Center Will Consolidate Terrorist Lists, Provide Operational Support

The government is likely to outsource IT operations for the Terrorist Screening Center.
The government will likely outsource IT operations to support the Terrorist Screening Center, a new government operation that will consolidate government terrorist watch lists and provide around-the-clock operational support to thousands of federal screeners.

A working group consisting of representatives from the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the FBI, and the departments of State and Homeland Security has been created to decide on how the center will employ IT, FBI spokesman John Iannarelli says. They'll likely outsource much of the IT work to contractors. "Contracting out is a common government practice," he says. "These contractors employ people who have the experience and resources we need."

The center, announced Tuesday, should be operational by Dec. 1, and the FBI will administer TSC's start-up operations because of the bureau's technical experience in watch-list integration, a government statement says. Although the FBI will administer the center, it will be an interagency effort. Its principal deputy director will be a Homeland Security official.

According to the government release, the Terrorist Screening Center will receive most of its information about known or suspected terrorists from the Terrorist Threat Integration Center after that agency has assembled and analyzed the information from a wide range of sources. In addition, the FBI will provide the Terrorist Screening Center with information about purely domestic terrorism. The center will consolidate this information into an unclassified terrorist screening database and make the database accessible to queries for federal, state, and local agencies for a variety of screening purposes.

The center, in consultation with the appropriate agencies, will determine which information in the database will be available for which types of screening. For example, the centers representatives from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security will decide which persons to include in those records to be queried directly by law enforcement officials through the National Crime Information Center database. Similarly, the State Department representative, consulting with the Justice, Homeland Security, and intelligence community representatives, will determine which information may be screened by foreign governments.

The spokesman says the Terrorist Screening Center won't collect any information; it will only receive information provided by Terrorist Threat Integration Center and the FBI. If the screening center receives information on U.S. citizens connected with terrorism, its use of that information is subject to the same legal limits to which it would be subject if the information were not included in the database, according to the government. Purely domestic terrorism information will not go through Terrorist Threat Integration Center, but will be placed directly into the screening center's database by the FBI.

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