The Inman Report
Report of the Secretary of State's
Advisory Panel on Overseas Security


Inter-Agency Coordination

The Federal Government's principal mechanism for interagency coordination of policies and programs to deal with terrorism is the Inter-departmental Group on Terrorism (IG/T). It operates under the aegis of the National Security Council and is chaired by the Department of State's Director of the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning (M/CTP), an official of assistant secretary rank. Although as many as 30 or more Federal agencies might be involved with the group in one situation or another, the principal members include the following:

-- The Department of State is the lead agency in handling terrorist incidents abroad involving United States interests. It participates in appropriate analysis and dissemination of intelligence; manages security programs for non-military U. S. Government facilities abroad; coordinates emergency planning and crisis management for United States missions abroad; and generally develops and implements policies to deal with international terrorism, including international conventions and bilateral agreements.

-- The Department of Justice advises on legal aspects of dealing with terrorism and coordinates legislative proposals.

-- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency in handling most domestic terrorist incidents, including intelligence collection and investigation of criminal acts of terrorism.

-- The Federal Aviation Administration is the lead agency in handling terrorist incidents involving aircraft in flight or under flight conditions and also coordinates with other governments in all matters relating to flight security. The FAA and the FBI have a memorandum of understanding to clarify possibly overlapping responsibilities and to foster close cooperation.

-- The Central Intelligence Agency represents the other agencies in the Intelligence Community when they are not direct participants: manages systems for collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence relating to terrorist threats; maintains intelligence liaison with other governments; participates in incident management support teams as appropriate; and performs other functions.

-- The Department of Defense performs substantial services in support of emergency planning for posts abroad and plays a lead role in executing such plans; provides expertise regarding terrorist weapons of all types, including nuclear and CBR; participates in collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence regarding terrorist plans and activities; provides special units that might be called upon to intervene in terrorist episodes abroad; and generally manages security programs for military facilities abroad.

-- The Department of the Treasury has several bureaus involved in anti-terrorism. The Secret Service is responsible for, among other duties, protection of Heads of State or Heads of Government visiting the United States; the Bureau of Customs is involved in controlling international movements of weapons; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has legal responsibilities and expertise concerning illegal weapons and explosives.

-- The Department of Energy has responsibilities and expertise regarding nuclear weapons.

-- The National Security Council chairs the Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG), which coordinates agency responses to specific terrorist incidents, including the use of military forces.

-- The Office of the Vice President supports the Vice President in his role as chief crisis manager for the President.

The Inter-departmental Group on Terrorism is intended to coordinate policies of the U. S. Government concerning terrorism, whether domestic or international in character, and to assure that the various operational programs to deal with terrorist attempts, including intelligence and incident management, are effective. Although primarily a policy-shaping group, its basic focus is essentially on counter-terrorism operations.

The Departmental Context

Within the Department of State, the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning has been designated as the coordinator for policy and operational programs to counter terrorism as it may affect United States interests abroad. A major function of this office is to manage diplomatic initiatives on a multilateral or bilateral basis with other nations to coordinate international responses to terrorism. The office recently has been given added responsibility for certain operational functions, such as the emergency planning program to assist American missions abroad to cope with hazards they might expect to face. The Panel sees these added responsibilities as tending to interfere with the office's primary responsibility and, in the section of this report dealing with organization, recommends a realignment of the operational functions.

The second major organization within the Department of State dealing with measures to counter terrorism is the Office of Security. Its mission is to protect the premises and personnel of the Department and our missions abroad against all hazards, whether intelligence penetration, mob violence or terrorist assault. Its role is primarily operational and the Panel recommends that those operational functions now lodged in the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning be transferred to the Office of Security, which is to be restructured as the Diplomatic Security Service. The new security organization is to be headed by an Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, and the Panel recommends that this officer chair the Interdepartmental Group on Terrorism and represent the Department in other existing interagency groups dealing with counter-terrorism operational matters.

The Office of Security has a Threat Analysis Group that maintains liaison with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research as well as with other agencies. Its principal interest is with tactical intelligence relating to potential hazards to the personnel or premises of the Department of State, the American missions abroad or visiting foreign dignitaries under Department of State protection.

The third element of the Department of State directly involved with terrorism is the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. It is the principal point of contact between the Department and the rest of the Intelligence Community and directs research and analysis on terrorism and intelligence activities.

Role of Intelligence .

The collection of intelligence from a wide variety of sources is critical to an effective defense against terrorist attack. The Panel has discerned no significant failure of intelligence as a factor contributing to the success of the many recent assaults against our missions abroad. Having said this, however, the Panel must add that intelligence is an imperfect tool and that it would be foolhardy to make security decisions on the basis of an expectation of advance warning of peril.

The many characteristics of those who would attempt hostile actions against United States missions or personnel abroad or against visiting foreign dignitaries are so varied and, in some cases, so unique as to offer a formidable challenge to American intelligence capabilities. Whether a psychotic loner or a small and tightly knit group bound by familial or other deep rooted ties, whether a loose confederation of extremists from different nations or a clandestine unit, military or otherwise. directed by a hostile state, today's terrorist presents certain difficulties as well as certain opportunities for intelligence collection.

It is vital that those having security responsibilities maintain a realistic appreciation of the capabilities and limitations of intelligence and that they understand that, in some situations, there will be no advance warning of specific threat. Common sense requires that American missions and personnel abroad and those with protective responsibilities in the United States constantly maintain a high state of preparedness to counter terrorist initiatives.

Intelligence Analysis

As noted above, there are at least three organizations within the Department of State responsible for analyzing threat information. This is due in part to the fact that each has broader responsibilities of which an awareness of terrorist threat is but a part. The Panel has recommended certain changes to improve the coordination among these offices, including a suggestion that the Threat Analysis Group be physically co-located with the Watch Group of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The Panel has also recommended improvements to enhance the numbers and professional skills of the analysts.

Alerting Procedures

The procedures to pass terrorist threat alerts to our overseas posts have been hampered in the past by the division of responsibility in the Department of State. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that some other agencies with an overseas presence, such as the Department of Defense, have their own channels of communication and thus their own threat alerting capability. Until recently, the only office in the Department of State that was allowed to draft threat messages to posts was the Office of Security's Threat Analysis Group (which is not a 24 hour office). The Department has recently implemented a new system for passing to posts threat warnings derived from intelligence materials and for integrating intelligence generally into the counter-terrorism process. After considerable negotiation, the remainder of the Intelligence Community has now been included in this system. The new alerting procedure appears to be functioning well but there remain a few corrections and adjustments to be made, which the Panel has brought to the Department's attention.

To improve coordination at the posts abroad, the Panel recommends that a Counter-terrorism Reporting Officer be designated at each mission and that the Emergency Action Committee at each post be formally designated as the forum for coordinated threat analysis and dissemination locally.





The Inman Report
Report of the Secretary of State's
Advisory Panel on Overseas Security