How National Counterterrorism Center Analyzes Data 24/7


Mike Leiter, director of the federal National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va., tells National Public Radio that it’s impossible to guarantee security – no matter how much safer the U.S. has become. At the center, a couple dozen or so analysts keep an eye on three or four computer screens each. Leiter says, “We have secure video teleconferences at 1 a.m. every night where people sit down – ‘What do you see? What have you seen over the past eight hours?’ – This never stops.”

The NCTC was established in 2004, partly in attempt to coordinate the sharing of information between more than 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and departments. Before the Sept. 11 attacks, Leiter says, “There was a whole lot of information out there, but people weren’t communicating with one another,” he says. “Our job is to make sure we know where that information is and the people who need to have it to act on it see it as soon as possible.”

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