The National Counterterrorism Center: What Is a Terrorist and How Do We Know Who They Are?

bomb  In reaction to the 911 attacks on New York City, President George W. Bush issued Presidential Executive Order 13354 on August 27, 2004, thereby creating the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The precursor of this center was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), first announced by Bush as part of his 2003 State of the Union Address. Both of these counterterrorism centers came as a result of recommendations by the 911 Commission, which had arrived at the shocking conclusion that none of the measures adopted by the United States prior to the 911 tragedy had done anything to slow or stop the efforts of al Qaeda. Even more shocking was the assessment that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had failed to recognize the possibility of the attacks and acted unwisely and independent of each other.

nctc     Renaming the TTIC to the National Counterterrorism Center came as a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which also established the position of the Director of National Intelligence to oversee the new entity. At present, the NCTC has been under the supervision of five different men, with Matthew G. Olsen serving as the current director since August 16, 2011. The mission of the NCTC is to “lead our nation’s effort to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort.” Through its efforts, the NCTC is charged with establishing a database entitled the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), which consists of a list of some 500,000 terror links – including the names of suspected terrorists. In essence, the NCTC sifts through, analyzes and integrates all intelligence information that pertains to the fight against terrorism, with the interesting exception of domestic terrorism. NCTC is therefore the principal organization concerned and charged with strategic efforts of counterterrorism in the United States.

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Matthew G. Olsen – Present Director of NCTC

To be included on the TIDE database as a suspected terrorist, a person must meet at least one of the following qualifying criteria:

  1. Have committed or helped plan an act of international terrorism;
  2. Solicit funds for an act of international terrorism or terrorist organization;
  3. Gather information for potential targets for international terrorism;
  4. Solicit membership in/for an international terrorist organization;
  5. Provide material support for a terrorist organization (i.e. i.e. safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons, explosives, or training);
  6. Be a member or represent a terrorist organization or state.

Each day, TIDE analysts review and enhance their records, based on the “nominations” they receive from contributing sources – and this information is exported to the FBI Terrorist Screening Center. This list is also a critical tool for Homeland Security in its efforts to secure and defend the United States from terrorist threats. Optimally, the desired result from the efforts of the NCTC is a more coordinated and informed response of the 16 government agencies that are charged with conducting intelligence activities. The following list of these agencies is available on Wikipedia:

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Heat Maps of Global Terrorism Are Available By Clicking This Image

The interesting piece of information revealed here is the fact that NCTC is not concerned with acts of “domestic terrorism” – which includes any of the school shootings, such as the recent horrors that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, and the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Do we consider any of the individuals that instigated these events to be “terrorists?” Please leave us your opinion on this subject by participating in the survey below.

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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The Monument for Victims of Hostile Acts: Honor Inscribed In Stone

  The Mid-East has a reputation for being a hotbed of terrorism, obviously due to a clash of three major religions that frequently makes the evening news. The State of Israel is no exception to this rule, having experienced acts of terroristic violence for well over a hundred years. Prior to the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948, the intention of this bloodshed was to “weaken the spirit” of the Jewish people and thwart the creation of a national homeland, whereas since 1948 the objective has been to destroy the very existence of Israel as a political state. In the words of the Organization of Israel’s Terror Victims, “the front line and home front have become one and have placed the entire country at the frontlines of this bloody battle against terror.”  Blunt facts that have been traced back to the year 1920 make this statement brutally true, as evident in research conducted by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise – which lists a total of 3,715 human beings that have lost their lives to acts of terrorism between 1920 and 2012. Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor, director of the Center for National Defense Research in Israel, has presented startling information that contains even more significance to this fact – stating that 1 in 5 Israelis, or about 1.27 million people, have lost someone to acts of terror.

An Israeli Postage Stamp Commemorates The Monument for Victims of Hostile Acts

Therefore, it is no accident that the State of Israel has taken efforts to reach out to families that have lost loved ones, making sure that the memory of the fallen is preserved forever. The Organization of Israel’s Terror Victims was established specifically for that purpose, with the mission to “assist the victims of terror in their effort to continue with their lives and bear the social, financial, cultural and spiritual burden of their daily struggle and personal survival following the tragic experience.”  Uniquely reaching out to this huge segment of society, this organization established a monument specifically dedicated to the remembrance of those that have died at the hands of terrorists.

The Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial, established in 1998, is but one part of a large national site of commemoration located on Mount Herzl, which lies on the western side of Jerusalem close to the Jerusalem Forest. The mount is named after Theodor Herzl – founder of modern Israel – and the location of Yad Vashem, the national monument dedicated to the Holocaust. Herzl’s tomb lies at the very top of the mount, and Yad Vashem contains the Holocaust History Museum, the Children’s Memorial, the Hall of Remembrance, and the Museum of Holocaust Art. Similar to Arlington National Cemetery, there is also a national burial ground located on Mount Herzl dedicated to Israel’s war dead. As a sign of the deep respect the State of Israel bestows on victims of terror, the official day of remembrance now has the designation as the “Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and the Victims of Terror.” In this obvious manner, those that have fallen in acts of terrorism are held in the same respect as soldiers that have fallen on the battlefield. As an even deeper indication of this esteem, in April of 2012 the Israeli Cabinet approved the construction of the Hall of Names Memorial, which “will list the 22,993 names of those who have been killed fighting in Israel’s declared and undeclared wars and those slain in terrorist attacks.” The names of those to be honored will be permanently etched on brick.

The List Of Names Inscribed On The Victims Of Acts of Terror Memorial Includes All Those That Have Died, Even Non-Jews

The Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial is built of strong stone, upon which the names of all those that have fallen to terrorism are inscribed. The list of names includes all those that have died in acts of terrorism, even non-Jews. Designed by the Israeli architects Moshe and Rita Oren, with the aid and cooperation of the National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Defense, the monument is intended to denote “the stand of the Jewish People against those wishing to demolish its existence.” With this memorial, the Israelis place their trust in the words of the prophets – as they do with so much in life:

“Thus said the Lord: A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Thus said the Lord: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, said the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in your end, said the Lord, and your children shall come again to their own border” (Jeremiah Chapter 31, verses 15-17).

Those that support this website believe it is time for such a monument in the United States, a country that has also lost thousands to acts of terror. But you can communicate your opinion through our poll, which you will find below.

You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.

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