President Bush yesterday sent Congress a plan to improve information-sharing about terrorism, reports the Washington Post. It creates a Washington-based “threat assessment group” that includes federal, state, and local officials. It aims to reduce more than 100 restrictive and confusing categories of “sensitive” federal information to a half-dozen or fewer so local-level officials can better understand what they are told. State and local governments and law enforcement officials have complained of a lack of coordination among the federal agencies that send terrorism-related alerts, analysis, and instructions. The new plan allows state and local officials to take part in deciding what players need to know and designates an online channel to distribute the information.
The 165-page plan complies with part of the intelligence reorganization mandated by Congress in 2004. The plan was written by the office of Thomas E. McNamara in the directorate of national intelligence. McNamara was appointed by Bush to fulfill the legislation’s vague instruction to establish an “information sharing environment.”