August 01, 2005

List of Terrorists Soon to be Shared by All Agencies in US

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At the urgent behest of the Bush administration, the American intelligence community is working to make its information systems inter-operable, particularly with regard sharing information on terrorists.

Starting in 1998, the Applied Content Technologies division of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) began working with the CIA's Office of Advanced Analytical Tools to provide the intelligence community with a standard model for exchanging data in XML format. At present, that SAIC division provides most of the resources of the IC Metadata Working Group (IC MWG), an organization in charge of developing standards for data exchanges for the intelligence community (see graph below). Since it was formed in 2000, IC MWG has defined a range of standards in XML format concerning standards for publication, the security of exchanges and a list of metadata to help flesh out information. The standards have been theoretically in the implementation stage since spring, 2002. Under a memorandum of understanding in 2003 between the homeland security secretary, the attorney general and director of Central Intelligence, IC MWG set up a working group and kicked off specific research concerning a standard for data exchanges on known or suspected terrorists. Named Terrorist Watchlist Person Data Exchange Standard (TWPDES), the standard currently under development will eventually lead to the sharing of biographical and biometric data. In August of last year, president George W. Bush reiterated the urgent need for a common data base on terrorists (Executive Order 13356). As the Executive Order calls for the inclusion of new functions - particularly regarding classification/declassification - IC MWG had to propose a modification of the TWPDES standard. Begun in 1998, the highly complicated research may indeed now take some years to become operational.

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