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The National Counterterrorism Center: Implementation Challenges and Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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In July 2004, the National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States recommended the establishment of a National Counterterrorism Center NCTC to serve as a center for ...joint operational planning and joint intelligence, staffed by personnel from the various agencies... On August 27, 2004, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order EO 13354, which established the National Counterterrorism Center and stipulated roles for the NCTC and its leadership and reporting relationships between NCTC leadership and NCTC member agencies, as well as with the White House. In December 2004, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, P.L. 108-458. Like the preceding EO, among many other reform initiatives, the act prescribes roles and responsibilities for the NCTC and its leadership. The purpose of this report is to outline the commonalities and potential differences between EO 13354 and P.L. 108-458, as these conceptual differences could be meaningful in the implementation process of P.L. 108-458 andor should the issue of intelligence reform be revisited by the 109th Congress. The report examines some aspects of the law related to the NCTC, including the relationship between the NCTCs Director and the Director of National Intelligence DNI, which may have implications related to policy and implementation of an effective and efficient nationally coordinated counterterrorism function. Moreover, the report examines several issues that may be of interest to Congress as the NCTC matures and evolves, including potential civil liberties implications of collocating operational elements of the traditional foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence entities of the U.S. Intelligence Community. While the appointment and confirmation of a DNI may resolve some of the uncertainty regarding the NCTC, the NCTC is only one of a myriad of complex issues that will be competing for the time and attention of the recently nominated DNI.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Intelligence
  • Unconventional Warfare

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