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Ashcroft Forms New Intelligence Council

WASHINGTON — Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a new effort Wednesday to harness and direct intelligence-gathering among key Justice Department agencies, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and Bureau of Prisons.
Associated Press Writer

The purpose of the Joint Intelligence Coordinating Council, Ashcroft said, is to ensure thousands of law enforcement personnel worldwide are focused on collecting and analyzing intelligence useful in the war against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

The council will prevent law enforcement agencies from taking a more scattershot approach or pursuing their own agendas, he said. It also will provide direction to some 670,000 state and local law enforcement personnel.

"It's not just what's easiest to collect," Ashcroft told reporters. "We need to make sure we collect what we have a need for."

Creation of the new council is the latest in a series of moves by the Bush administration to improve intelligence collection, analysis and information-sharing since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The FBI, CIA and other agencies have been faulted repeatedly for intelligence and communications missteps that might have prevented those attacks.

President Bush last year set up the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, a joint FBI-CIA entity that brings together, analyzes and disseminates terrorism intelligence for the U.S. government. The FBI also last year launched the Terrorist Screening Center to combine terror watch lists now scattered among multiple federal agencies.

Critics say all these moves toward coordination and integration are still slow in coming. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., pointed out Wednesday that it will take until the end of 2004 for the watch lists to be fully combined under the Bush administration's own estimates.

"I cannot fathom why this consolidation has not yet occurred, when we know full well the dangers to which a lack of intelligence coordination exposes us," said Lieberman, the senior Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Running the new Justice council will be Maureen Baginski, the FBI's top intelligence official and before that was a veteran official at the National Security Agency. The council chairmanship will rotate among the various Justice law enforcement agencies.

Ashcroft said law enforcement has a unique ability to gather intelligence because it can prosecute people and threaten them with prison. Giving law enforcement agents unified marching orders could help exploit what he called "a mother lode of intelligence" that can be gleaned from criminal defendants and suspects.

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On the Net:

Justice Department:  http://www.usdoj.gov

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-justice-intelligence,1,3764647,print.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines
TIA 27.Feb.2004 12:26


This sounds like a remake of Poindexter's Total Information Awareness program. More Orwellian doublespeak.

I should of changed the title 27.Feb.2004 12:31

Dire Wolf

The title in itself is an oxymoron because the words Ashcroft and Intelligence should not be used in the same sentence. So my apologies to the readers of this post for the title.

Hehehe.... 27.Feb.2004 12:46

Tony Blair's dog

"to ensure thousands of law enforcement personnel worldwide are focused on collecting and analyzing intelligence useful in the war against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups"

Yeah, gotta make sure they are not trying to look into what the Bush administration is up to.

Transient Ischemia Attack (TIA) 27.Feb.2004 12:59


Oh, wrong TIA.

Actually this organization makes perfect sense. Once established the Ministry of Information Retrieval can be created under its aegis. And then when they start charging folks for their own interrogations the cycle will be complete.

Sorry? You don't know what I'm talking about? Of course, not. You've not seen the movie, Brazil. How silly of me.

They Want More Information 27.Feb.2004 14:00

not norml

One more layer of command and control to heap on the back of the State beast. Here's more of the same on another front--or should I say another "war"?
International "Drugged Driving" Conference Calls For Expanded Role For Drug Testing

February 26, 2004 - Tampa, FL, USA

Future Laws Could Mandate Drivers To Submit To Random Roadside Drug Screening

Tampa, FL: State DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) laws should allow police expanded authority to randomly draw bodily fluids from drivers in order to deter people from driving while impaired by illicit drugs, recommended panelists at this week's two-day symposium on drugged driving, sponsored by The Walsh Group, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

The meeting, entitled "Developing Global Strategies for Identifying, Prosecuting, and Treating Drug-Impaired Drivers," focused on ways police could better identify drivers who have used marijuana. Panelists proposed allowing law enforcement officials to collect blood, saliva, and/or urine samples from drivers during roadside stops to test for either illicit drugs or, in some cases, drug metabolites (inert compounds indicative of past drug use). Panelists agreed that an ideal policy would allow police the authority to test drivers both with cause (i.e. drivers believed by the officer to be impaired) and without cause (i.e. drivers not believed to be impaired).

"America's experience with workplace drug testing (where suspicionless drug testing is allowed) has prepared us for drugged driving testing," former NIDA director Robert DuPont said. "We must move away from the concept of 'You can't drive impaired by drugs,' to 'You can't drive on drugs at all.'"

Currently, nine states (Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Rhode island, Utah, and Wisconsin) have enacted so-called "zero tolerance" per se laws which make it a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle while having a drug or metabolite in one's body or bodily fluids. Under such statutes, individuals can be found guilty of violating the law if the driver is found to have been operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a prohibited substance present in their system. In the case of marijuana, the inactive metabolite remains identifiable in the urine for days and sometimes even weeks after its use.

NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup called such laws unfair and bad public policy. "While driving under the influence of pot is never acceptable, neither is it acceptable to treat sober drivers as if they are impaired simply because low levels of inactive marijuana metabolites may be detectable in their blood or urine," he said. "These 'zero tolerance' laws are neither a safe nor sensible way to identify impaired drivers; they are an attempt to misuse the traffic safety laws to identify and prosecute marijuana smokers per se."

For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

    updated: Feb 26, 2004

Rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy 27.Feb.2004 14:34


Relative to the article by norml -- New Mexico may require breathalyzers in *all* cars. They don't trust nobody nomore. Wonder what this will do to mouthwash sales?

And "zero tolerance". What an ugly concept. Tolerance is a requisite for freedom. But "zero tolerance" is taught daily in our public schools. The message they give when they confiscate the penknife or aspirin bottle is that authoritarian rule is an OK thing.

Give me librium or give me meth...

whole lot of consolodating going on... 27.Feb.2004 15:55

this thing here

what they would love to do is have all 670,000 law enforcement personnel wearing the same uniform with the same badge on it, having gone through the same training. in other words, there would be no difference between a police officer, an f.b.i. agent, and a c.i.a. intelligence operative. whether they're writing speeding tickets, spying on terrorists from foreign nations, or spying on american citizens engaged in legal protest or resistance, it's would become the same mission. this is what is known as the stasi, or kgb. and it's all for "our" security...

oh come on here... 27.Feb.2004 16:57

J. Ashcroft have anything to do with

INTELLIGENT people? GET REAL, will ya? The man is a joke!

Springtime for Ashcroft 27.Feb.2004 18:09


So was Heinrich Himmler or Ernest Röhm, when portrayed in cartoons in newspapers published in countries thousands of miles away.
Prisoners in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 1938
Prisoners in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 1938