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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 26, 2003
Text of a Letter from the President to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on International Relations, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
March 25, 2003
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Enclosed is the report to the Congress, prepared by my Administration, identifying Federal law enforcement and intelligence community information identified as necessary by the Department of State (DOS) to screen visa applicants and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen applicants for admission to the United States, and to identify those aliens inadmissible or deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act. I am forwarding this report to fulfill the requirement under section 201(b) of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-173).
The Federal Government is working to improve data-sharing capabilities between agencies. To support this effort, the Department of Homeland Security will create an inventory of essential information needed to secure our Nation; determine horizontal and vertical integration requirements; define target architecture for information integration; and, determine the resources necessary to integrate information. In the short term, DHS will work to virtually consolidate or link watch lists from multiple agencies and create a homeland security portal for users at all levels of government. Additionally, consular officers and immigration inspectors have access to more complete intelligence and criminal history information through the Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) and the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS). Since September 11, more than seven million names of persons with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records were added to CLASS so that now it contains approximately 13 million name records from DOS, DHS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and intelligence resources. The U.S. Customs Service has also provided 20,000 name records of serious violators to CLASS. The CLASS now has over 78,000 records of suspected terrorists, up 40 percent in the past year. Since September 11, 2001, approximately 20,000 new terrorist lookouts have been entered into the DOS's TIPOFF system.
Furthermore, an Entry-Exit System (EES) project team is building an integrated, automated information EES to enable existing/ emerging entry exit processes. This core EES will integrate electronic arrival and departure manifests, electronic visa data, Federal agency lookouts, traveler information, Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) data, Immigration Benefit information, overstay information as well as perform risk assessment analysis and lookout queries, and incorporate biometric technology.
Additionally, the newly established Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) will analyze terrorist-related infor-mation collected domestically and abroad in order to form the most comprehensive picture of the terrorist threats we face. The TTIC will also play a lead role in overseeing a national counter-terrorism tasking and requirements system and in maintaining an up-to-date database of known and suspected terrorists that will be accessible to appropriate officials at all levels of government. The TTIC represents an important milestone in our effort to improve collaboration between and among the intelligence and law enforcement communities.
These efforts and others are improving available information and systems while planning for the development of compatible information systems. This will allow Federal, State, and local entities to share information nationwide that will ultimately contribute to securing our borders and protecting our Nation.
GEORGE W. BUSH
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