Intelligence gathering and sharing is nothing new to the aviation industry. Up until the attacks on September 11, 2001 in which terrorists from Al Qaeda hijacked four commercial aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and one into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, intelligence gathering was primarily the responsibility Federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Other agencies exist that took part as well but the bulk of these operations fell upon the shoulders of the agents in these two agencies. Both had separate jurisdictions. The FBI was only allowed to gather intelligence or “Intel” within the United States whereas the CIA had no authority within our own country but rather outside our borders in foreign countries. Although both were very effective in gathering this information, they had no channels in which they could share it with one another. This situation could be compared to a relay team in track, but instead there was no way for one runner to give the baton to the next. At the time of September 11th, there were many indicators both overseas and here in the United States that hinted towards the impending attack; however our government couldn’t connect the pieces due to issues such as classified information that hindered the sharing of intelligence. Unfortunately since we couldn’t build the big picture, we weren’t able to do anything to prevent these attacks. In this essay I will cover the ways in which intelligence gathering and sharing has involved in the wake of September 11th as well as what new systems have either recently been implemented and what new ones are being developed.
There are two types of information that must be discussed. The first is openly acquired information (Aviation). This is information that has been gathered by the private and public sectors and shared publicly with other like minded organizations. The second is classified intelligence (Aviation). This is information gathered by federal agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and NSA. The difference between classified intelligence and openly acquired information is the ways in which it’s shared. As I’ve stated, openly acquired information is able to be easily shared between civilian agencies whereas classified intelligence is much more difficult to share (U.S. Airport Security Measures Use "Real-Time" Intelligence). Due to its role in protecting national security, classified intelligence must be censored and declassified prior to its release to the general public. A challenge that exists between the two is how useful it is vs. its repetitiveness (Raffel). All agencies, including public ones, must be careful when it comes to releasing the same information more than once. Repetitive intelligence may lead to confusion as well as complacency. Confusion may arise if small differences exist between the information shared. Complacency may occur when a group such as an airport operator sees the same intelligence briefs over and over again. They may see that this information doesn’t come to fruition in a timely manner and may begin to disregard it, eventually leaving them vulnerable to attack.
Before releasing any of this information to the public or airports in this case, the keeper of this information needs to identify whether or not it is appropriate. Too much information sharing, especially if it is irrelevant to the receiver, may lead to a version of information overload (Staar). This can result in an airport spreading its security assets to thin leaving them vulnerable since they lack adequate security in one threat scenario or another.
Finally, when it comes to types of intelligence, a common and effective method of gathering and deciphering it is trend analysis (Raffel). Trend analysis I when intelligence analysts who…