A massive new database program that culls information from more than nine federal sources will help law enforcement agents link possible terrorists or other suspected criminals with associates whose records are in the system, federal officials say. The program’s goal is to close gaps in information-sharing identified in The 9/11 Commission Report, which chided law enforcement for failing to piece together the hijackers’ terrorist cell, reports USA Today. Critics say it raises privacy and accuracy concerns.
“The system will make connections for us,” says Jason Henry of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Other federal, state and local law enforcement will be able to access the ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection System, dubbed “ICEPIC.” It will collect information from databases that track foreign students, visitors and immigrants as well as criminals and suspected terrorists. Among the databases is the government’s terrorist watch list. Investigators previously searched 10 to 15 databases manually for people who met “suspicious criteria,” a process that could take as long as three days per person, Henry says.