After the recent attempted bombing in Time Square, the question regarding information sharing and the spirit of cooperation rises once again. Although New York City is the home of the first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in 1980, after the devastating blow of 9/11 we as a nation watched 65 additional JTTF’s rise from the ashes around the country. The JTTF’s are composed of law enforcement and intelligence personnel of the United States who focus primarily on terrorist related leads and activity. Although the mission seems well defined, the question remains does the spirit of cooperation truly exist.
Information sharing and levels of classification between law enforcement and the intelligence community has always been a challenge. Yet, in recent years the classification challenge has been minimized and law enforcement personnel are receiving greater access to the information which the intelligence community has developed. Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges which existed pre-9/11 still exists in this post-9/11 era. The lack of communication remains a constant, where databases are unable to speak to one another and information technology (IT) lacks the sharing capabilities as a result of classifications and system protocols. The information sharing in IT channels is one of the greatest stumbling blocks which both law enforcement and intelligence personnel share, as information must be manually delivered allowing one set of analysts to input or read the information and collaborate amongst themselves. The lack of system integration reduces the speed to which the JTTF operatives may respond in an effort to thwart a terrorist planned activity.