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A Closer Look at the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces


JTTF GraphicThey are our nation's front line on terrorism: small cells of highly trained, locally based, passionately committed investigators, analysts, linguists, SWAT experts, and other specialists from dozens of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

When it comes to investigating terrorism, they do it all: chase down leads, gather evidence, make arrests, provide security for special events, conduct training, collect and share intelligence, and respond to threats and incidents at a moment's notice.

They are the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or JTTFs.

Where are they based? In 100 cities nationwide, including at least one in each of our 56 field offices. Sixty-five of these JTTFs were created after 9/11/01.

How many members? 3,723 nationwide—more than four times the pre-9/11 total—including 2,196 Special Agents, 838 state/local law enforcement officers, and 689 professionals from other government agencies (the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, and the Transportation Security Administration, to name a few).

The first JTTF? New York City, established way back in 1980.

The newest? Actually, there are 16 of them: in Montgomery, Alabama; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Fresno, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; West Palm Beach, Florida; Bloomington, Indiana; Covington, Kentucky; Portland, Maine; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Helena, Montana; Erie, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Midland, Lubbock, and Plano, Texas; and Everett, Washington.

Their contributions? More than we could possibly capture here, but JTTFs have been instrumental in breaking up cells like the "Portland Seven," the "Lackawanna Six," and the Northern Virginia jihad. They've traced sources of terrorist funding, responded to anthrax threats, halted the use of fake IDs, and quickly arrested suspicious characters with all kinds of deadly weapons and explosives. Chances are, if you hear about a counterterrorism investigation, JTTFs are playing an active and often decisive role.

How do these JTTFs coordinate their efforts? Largely through the interagency National Joint Terrorism Task Force, working out of FBI Headquarters, which makes sure that information and intelligence flows freely among the local JTTFs.

And here's the final—and most important—thing you should know about these JTTFs: They are working 24/7/365 to protect you, your families, and your communities from terrorist attack.

Link: FBI War on Terrorism