Joint Terrorism Task Force


Joint Terrorism Task Force

A Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, other federal agencies (notably Department of Homeland Security components such as U. S. Coast Guard Investigative Service U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Secret Service), state and local law enforcement, and specialized agencies, such as railroad police that are charged with taking action against terrorism, which includes the investigation of crimes such as wire fraud and identity theft. [cite news | last = Feldstein | first = Dan | title = Identity thieves stealing attention / Horror stories help crime gain notoriety | work = Houston Chronicle | date = 2004-06-27 | url = http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2004_3776207]

JTTFs engage in surveillance, electronic monitoring, source development and interviews in their pursuits. FBI task forces obtain written memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between participating law enforcement agencies. The FBI provides funds to pay for participating agencies' expenses, such as officer overtime, vehicles, fuel, cell phones, and related office costs.

National JTTF

The many regional JTTFs coordinate their efforts through the interagency National Joint Terrorism Task Force. NJTTF is headquartered in Washington DC, and is composed of representatives from 38 federal agencies. [cite web |url=http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress03/mefford090403.htm |title=FBI Congressional Testimony |publisher=FBI |date=September 4, 2003] The FBI's involvement with the JTTF falls under the Operational Support Branch of the FBI Counterterrorism Division [cite web |url=http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0410/orgchart.htm |title=Counterterroism Division Organizational Chart |publisher=Office of the Inspector General |date=December 2003] .

History

The first JTTF was established in 1980 in New York City, with 10 FBI special agents and 10 detectives from the New York City Police Department. [cite web |url=http://www.fbi.gov/page2/dec04/jttf120114.htm |title=Protecting America Against Terrorist Attack - A Closer Look at the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces |publisher=FBI |date=December 1, 2004] Prior to September 11, 2001, the United States had 35 JTTFs. Shortly after the attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller instructed all FBI field offices to establish formal terrorism task forces. There are now 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces nationwide, including at least one at each of the FBI Field Offices.

Criticism

In 2002, the Justice Department eliminated regulations put in place after the Church Commission hearings in the 1970s, which disclosed evidence of politically motivated spying and obstruction of first amendments rights by the FBI's COINTELPRO division. Critics worry that JTTF actions may constitute violations of the First Amendment. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU indicate that officers from the Colorado JTTF have been collecting personal information on nonviolent protesters. [cite web |url=http://www.aclu-co.org/news/pressrelease/release_JTTF120705.htm |title=Press Release from ACLU of Colorado |publisher=ACLU |date=December 8, 2005] Agents involved with JTTFs have also infiltrated activist peace groups under assumed names. [cite web |url=http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/10/09/1556226 |title=Peace Group Infiltrated by Government Agent |publisher=Democracy Now! |date=October 9, 2003]

On April 28, 2005, Portland became the first and only city in the nation to withdraw from a JTTF.

In June 2008, the City Pages broke news that the JTTF based in Minneapolis approached a source to infiltrate vegan potlucks and eventually report back to authorities on organized protesting activities in preparation for the 2008 Republican National Convention in nearby Saint Paul. [cite web | url=http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2008/06/whackamole.php | title=Whack a Mole | publisher=City Pages | author=Matt Snyder | date=June 3, 2008]

References

External links

* [http://www.adl.org/learn/jttf/default.asp The Joint Terrorism Task Force: A Concept That Works]
* [http://www.neonn.org/index.cfm/MenuItemID/224.htm Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)]
* [http://www.utwatch.org/security/jttf.html UT-Austin Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)]
* [http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2004/nov2004/nov04leb.htm Managing Joint Terrorism Task Force Resources]
* [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=FBI%27s_Joint_Terrorism_Task_Force Center for Media & Democracy's Joint Terrorism Task Force Information Page]


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