Michael Webster
A closer look at the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces
By Michael Webster
June 1, 2009

Protecting America against terrorist attack are the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or JTTFs, our nation's front line fighting terrorism: JTTF (much like their pray the terrorist) they consists of small cells of highly trained, locally based, passionately committed volunteers however in the case of JTTF they also have professional investigators, analysts, linguists, SWAT experts, and other specialists from dozens of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies from all over the U.S.

According to the FBI when it comes to investigating terrorism, they do it all: chase down leads, gather evidence, make arrests, provide security for special events, conduct training, collect and share intelligence, and respond to threats and incidents at a moment's notice.

This massive organization within the U.S. Government operate the task force's based in 106 cities nationwide, including at least one in each of the FBI's 56 field offices. A total of 71 of these JTTFs have been created since 9/11; the first was established in New York City in 1980.

Today, the JTTFs include more than 4,400 members nationwide — more than four times the pre-9/11 total — hailing from over 600 state and local agencies and 50 federal agencies (the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration, to name but a few).

The FBI claims that the benefits of JTTFs are many and overcome many of the critics who say the feds don't share enough information with other law enforcement organizations, nor have enough linguists, as well as other short comings in their war on terror. The feds indicate this will overcome many of their most ardent critics. The feds say JTTF currently provides a one-stop shopping for information regarding terrorist activities. They now are the enablers that share intelligence across many agencies. They create familiarity among investigators and managers before a crisis. And perhaps most importantly, we pool talents, skills, and knowledge from across the law enforcement and intelligence communities into a single team that responds as a coordinated force according to an FBI statement.

The FBI claims they have already contributed more than they can share with the public, as some of their efforts can be stated and much they cannot. The FBI points to the fact that they have been instrumental in breaking up cells like the "Portland Seven," the "Lackawanna Six," and the Northern Virginia jihad. They've foiled attacks on the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, on the JFK International Airport in New York, and on various military and civilian targets in Los Angeles. They've traced sources of terrorist funding, responded to anthrax threats, halted the use of fake IDs, and quickly arrested suspicious characters with all kinds of deadly weapons and explosives. Chances are, if you hear about a counterterrorism investigation, JTTFs are playing an active and often decisive role.

The National Joint Terrorism Task Force, or NJTTF, was established in 2002 to manage the burgeoning Joint Terrorism Task Force program — the number of task forces almost doubled overnight, from 35 pre-9/11 to 56 soon after 9/11 (50 more have been established since then). Of course, JTTFs have been around since the 1980s, starting in New York and Chicago.

Originally located at FBI Headquarters, the NJTTF moved to the multi-agency National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), where it performs its mission while also working with NCTC personnel to exchange information, analyze data, and plan anti-terrorism strategies.

The coordination of JTTF's forces efforts are largely through the interagency National Joint Terrorism Task Force, working out of FBI Headquarters, which makes sure that information and intelligence flows freely among the local JTTFs and beyond.

A new national anti-terrorism strategic approach is currently being elaborated upon by the United States government. Its overarching goals are to: (1) defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life as a free and open society, and (2) create an environment inhospitable to terrorism worldwide. The approach seeks to the enhance the existing National Strategy for Combating Terrorism by beefing up the ideological component in the war on terror. Inherent here is widespread recognition that the United States will need to increasingly engage in the realm of ideas in conjunction with ongoing efforts to protect and defend the homeland and efforts to attack terrorists and reduce their capabilities.

A modern trend in terrorism is toward loosely organized, self-financed, international networks of terrorists. Another trend is toward terrorism that is religiously- or ideologically-motivated. Radical Islamic fundamentalist groups, or groups using religion as a pretext, pose terrorist threats of varying kinds to U.S. interests and to friendly regimes. A third trend is the apparent growth of cross-national links among different terrorist organizations, which may involve combinations of military training, funding, technology transfer, or political advice.

Terrorists have been able to develop their own sources of financing, which range from charities to illegal enterprises such as growing, producing and trafficking in narcotics, extortion, kidnapping and smuggling drugs and humans.

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda according to some government reports make millions from taxing poppy crops and other illegal activities.

Bin Laden's Al Qaeda depends on a formidable array of fundraising operations including Muslim charities and wealthy well-wishers, such as the Sadie's and other Arabic countries and seemingly legitimate businesses world-wide. This includes, banking connections in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere, as well as various smuggling and fraud activities. Furthermore, reports are ongoing of cross-national links among different terrorist organizations.

Colombia's FARC is said to make hundreds of millions annually from criminal activities, mostly from taxing or participating in the narcotics trade.

Money is a powerful motivator. Rewards for information have been instrumental in Italy in destroying the Red Brigades and in Colombia and Mexico in apprehending drug cartel leaders. A State Department program is in place, supplemented by the aviation industry, usually offering rewards of up to $5 million to anyone providing information that would prevent or resolve an act of international terrorism against U.S. citizens or U.S. property, or that leads to the arrest or conviction of terrorist criminals involved in such acts. This program contributed to the 1997 arrest of Mir Amal Kansi who shot CIA personnel in Virginia, and possibly to the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in 1995. The bounty for the capture of Osama bin Laden and his aide Ayman al Zawahiri has been raised to $50 million.

On November 25, 2002, the President signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), consolidating at least 22 separate federal agencies, offices, and research centers comprising more than 169,000 employees into a new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The creation of the new department, charged with coordinating defenses and responses to terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, constitutes the most substantial reorganization of the Federal government agencies since the National Security Act of 1947 which placed the different military departments under a Secretary of Defense and created the National Security Council (NSC) and CIA. P.L. 107-296 includes provisions for an information analysis element within DHS, many of the envisioned tasks of which appear assigned to the Administration's Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) which was activated May 1, 2003.

In the 107th Congress, the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, was enacted on October 2001 (P.L.107-56), and renewed, in March 2006, gave law enforcement unprecedented increased authority to investigate suspected terrorists, including enhanced surveillance procedures such as roving wiretaps; provided for strengthened controls on international money laundering and financing of terrorism; improved measures for strengthening of defenses along the U.S. northern border, and authorized disclosure of foreign intelligence information obtained in criminal investigations to intelligence and national security officials.

According to the feds here's the final — and most important — thing you should know about these JTTFs: They are working 24/7/365 to protect you, your families, and your communities from terrorist attack.

The costs for this huge U.S. Government "War On Drugs" ( now being called by government officials something other than the "War On Drugs" is unknown, but according to Congressional investigators it is astronomical, so we'll keep digging.

For related articles go to or click on www.lagunajournal.com

Patriot Act unconstitutional

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Global Terrorist And Drug Trafficking Cartels

War on terror and drugs by Michael Webster



Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends 2009.

- FBI Counterterrorism website

- Inside the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

- The National Joint Terrorism Task Force

- Terrorism cases past and present

© Michael Webster


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Webster

Michael Webster's Syndicated Investigative Reports are read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He publishes articles in association with global news agencies and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 136 countries... (more)


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