Guardian Threat Tracking System
"Since September 1, 2004, threats classified up to the Secret level are entered by many FBI components into the FBI's Guardian Threat Tracking System," according to the "Findings and Recommendations" of a February 2007 U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General report.
"However, because Guardian is only classified up to the Secret level, a small percentage of cases (less than 1 percent according to a TMU official) are still entered in the TMU's local database application. The Guardian system was pilot tested in 8 FBI field offices beginning on July 8, 2004, and was on-line in all 56 FBI field offices by the end of September 2004. By the end of October 2004, the Guardian system was on-line in all 58 FBI Legal Attaché offices throughout the world. According to the TMU official, the Guardian system now tracks all threats reported to the FBI, except those threats that the field offices choose not to enter into the Guardian system. The use of Guardian to report threat data in the future should significantly improve the accuracy of the number of threats reported. For FY 2005, the Guardian system contained 40,041 threats tracked by the FBI, which is significantly greater than the number of threats reported as tracked in FY 2003 and FY 2004. Guardian tracks these threats until they are mitigated and resolved."
In January 2005, a panel led by Dick Thornburgh, U.S. Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, reported that the next phase of Guardian would "make database access available to state and local law enforcement in a web-based format." (See e-Guardian below.)
Guardian Version 2.0
In Fall 2006, the FBI "started using an upgrade called Guardian Version 2.0 ... with improved metrics and better terrorism threat tracking."
Guardian 2.0 "allows users to enter, assign, and manage terrorism threats and suspicious activities in a paperless environment, and it allows all field offices and Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) members to view information simultaneously. Version 2.0 of the Guardian system is nearing completion and contains significant improvements," according to an FBI National Security Branch (NSB) FAQ updated July 31, 2006,
"The NSB is developing an automated method, e-Guardian, for sharing certain unclassified information from Guardian's Terrorism Threat System with state and local law enforcement officers via Law Enforcement Online (LEO). Once sharing agreements are signed, police chiefs and sheriffs will be able to query local terrorism threats and also submit terrorism information to the FBI through e-Guardian," according to the July 31, 2006, NSB FAQ.
According to a March 2006 audit report conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General on the FBI's efforts to protect the nation's seaports, Guardian "is neither easily searchable nor a useful tool for identifying trends in types of incidents. As a result, during [the] audit the FBI could not identify the number of maritime-related threats from 2002 to the present."
Assumes TALON duties
The U.S. Department of Defense announced its Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) will close the TALON Reporting System effective Sept. 17, 2007, and maintain a record copy of the collected data in accordance with intelligence oversight requirements.
"To ensure there is a mechanism in place to document and assess potential threats to DoD resources, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs will propose a system to streamline such threat reporting and better meet the Defense department’s needs.
"In the interim, until this new reporting program is adopted, DoD components will send information concerning force protection threats to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Guardian reporting system."
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- Bush administration U.S. attorney firings controversy
- George W. Bush's domestic spying: Related SourceWatch articles
- System to Assess Risk (STAR)
- "The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Efforts to Protect the Nation's Seaports (Redacted and Unclassified) Audit Report 06-26, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, March 2006.
- "The Department of Justice's Internal Controls Over Terrorism Reporting. Findings and Recommendations," Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, Audit Report 07-20, February 2007. Report Note 32: "The Guardian system is designed to make immediately available threat and suspicious activity information to all system users, and provide all users with the capability to search all incidents for threat trend analysis."
- TMU = the FBI's Threat Monitoring Unit.
- Report Note 33: "The FBI’s Legal Attaché offices are offices staffed with FBI agents and support staff in U.S. embassies and consulates."
- "Transforming the FBI. Progress and Challenges," A Report by a Panel of the National Academy of Public Administration for the U.S. Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, January 2005. Full 123-page report (pdf). See "Information Sharing in the Field", page 42.
- Wilson P. Dizard III, "Ghosts in the machine. Error-riddled databases haunt Justice," GCN.com, April 16, 2007.
- "Frequently Asked Questions: 'Information Technology'," National Security Branch, FBI, updated July 31, 2006.
- News Release: "DoD to Implement Interim Threat Reporting Procedures," U.S. Department of Defense, August 21, 2007.
- "Pentagon Caught Spying on U.S. Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activists," Democracy Now!, December 15, 2005.
- Paul Shukovsky and Mike Barber, "Ferries a top terror target, FBI cautions. Local office links ranking to reporting of incidents," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 21, 2006.
- "Report: FBI Databases on Americans," Associated Press (International Herald Tribune posted by Dissident News), July 11, 2007.
- Marcy Wheeler, "TALON, Guardian, Insert Your Name of the Week," The Next Hurrah Blog, August 21, 2007.
- Frank James, "Pentagon ditches Wolfowitz's baby--threat database," The Swamp Blog/Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2007.
- "The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Efforts to Protect The Nation's Seaports" (Redacted and Unclassified), Audit Division, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, Audit Report 06-26, March 2006. Full 117-page report (pdf); Executive Summary.
- "The Department of Justice's Internal Controls Over Terrorism Reporting" (Redacted and Unclassified, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, Audit Report 07-20, February 2007. Full 160-page report (pdf).
- "The Department of Justice's Internal Controls Over Terrorism Reporting. Appendix I: Audit Objective, Scope, and Methodology," Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, Audit Report 07-20, February 2007.