Despite some streamlining of federal, state, and local entities that collect and analyze intelligence, improvements since Sept. 11, 2001, "are not moving forward fast enough," said Cathy Lanier, acting chief of police for metropolitan Washington, D.C. "I think this is too important -- this is too large a gap -- for it to exist as long as it has," she said.
Lanier testified for the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing late last week to consider the state of intelligence reform.
"Just like our federal partners, local law enforcement needs time for training, equipment acquisition and the development of response, mitigation and prevention strategies. Trying to do all these under the pressure of an imminent threat is nearly impossible and certainly inefficient," Lanier said.
Questioned by committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., about the obstacles that prevent the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and local law enforcement agencies from effectively exchanging intelligence, Lanier cited historical cultural differences between the intelligence community and law enforcement as the root of the problem.
"The DHS is not a law enforcement agency. ...It's very difficult for them to understand what my need-to-know is if they don't know what it is that I do.
"...We have a lot operational capabilities that they're unaware of," Lanier said.
She also noted that the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force have been more effective in efforts to exchange intelligence with her agency because they have established, and depended on, a "long-standing conduit" for information sharing.
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