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.

Joseph Maguire Current Director of NCTC

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 six different men, with Joseph Maguire serving as the current director since December 27, 2018. 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.

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:


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.

About jrcclark

On October 2, 2001, scarcely one month after the horrors of 911, Representative Jim Turner of Texas introduced H. R. 2982 to the House of Representatives, calling for “the establishment of a memorial to victims who died as a result of terrorist acts against the United States or its people, at home or abroad.” The resolution was amended by the Committee on Resources in June of 2002 and eventually approved on September 25, 2002 on a “motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill.” It was sent to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, but it has languished there ever since – in effect dead and going nowhere. In 2008, this Senate Committee considered making Dark Elegy, the work of a New York sculptor who lost a son in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, as the monument called for in H. R. 2982. However, the committee turned down the touching and thought-provoking sculptures of Suse Ellen Lowenstein – on the grounds that “…as compelling and impressive a proposal as has been made for the memorial in question, that we believe that, for the time being, that it relates to a very specific incident and should be treated as such rather than as a generic monument to victims of terrorism for all time.” Today the resolution seems forgotten, and it is the purpose of this website to promote a petition to the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, requesting that H. R. 2982 be reconsidered and revisited.
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