Nearly five years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the federal Departments of Justice and Homeland Security continue to clash over who is in charge of coordinating and vetting information on terrorism, says the Baltimore Sun. As a result, state and local authorities continue to get conflicting or incomplete information – sometimes none at all – on threats inside the United States. The feud over control of the information caused federal agencies last week to miss a White House deadline for outlining how it should be distributed to state and local authorities, said intelligence and counterterrorism officials.
The absence of a federal game plan is causing “confusion at the state level,” said Col. Ken Bouche of the Illinois State Police. “The longer we wait, the more leads we miss.” Under federal law, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are considered the main repositories for information about terrorism. In a December memo, President Bush directed Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to provide a solution on information sharing by June 14. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that the president still had not received their proposal and left open when she expected it to arrive. At the federal level, there’s a lot of confusion over who is responsible for what,” Bouche said. “There isn’t a common place to vet or gather information.”