how exactly does the FBI help keep terrorists from
setting foot -- and perhaps later launching attacks
-- on American soil?
two main ways, explained Robert Garrity,
Deputy Assistant Director of our Records Management
Division, at a Friday hearing of the House Subcommittee
on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and
Human Rights in Los Angeles.
we take the names of all those applying for U.S.
VISAs and run them through our National Name
Check Program (NNCP). Anyone whose name comes
back with a "hit"--meaning it appears
in an FBI investigation, generally either as a known
terrorist, an associate, or a witness -- is checked
out further to see whether he or she poses a threat.
This helps weed out terrorist travelers before they
show up at our doorstep.
what if someone shows up at a U.S. seaport, airport,
or border checkpoint, with all the right papers,
but acting suspiciously? Or what if his or her name
registers a "hit" by screeners? Or what
if an agent or officer stops someone who appears
to have crossed the border illegally? Who would
screeners and officers contact to make absolutely
sure that the person isn't a terrorist?
where the second part of the answer comes in: the
Terrorist Screening Center, or TSC. TSC was
stood up on 12/1/03 to provide "one stop shopping,"
24/7, for screeners, agents, and police around the
world to call when they need to check names and
get more identifying information from the universe
of U.S. investigative files and watch lists. TSC
capabilities are increasing in speed and precision
as interagency files are consolidated into a single
our efforts -- and those of our many partners --
guarantee that a terrorist won't get into the U.S.?
Unfortunately, no. Terrorists can obtain bogus or
fraudulent VISAs. They may slip unseen across our
extensive borders. They may not be known to the
FBI or law enforcement... and thus not be named
in our records. But our efforts -- and the collective
efforts of U.S. law enforcement and the international
community -- continue to turn terrorists away and
make a real difference in preventing potential attacks
on American soil.
more details? Read Mr. Garrity's full
statement. Or see the fact
sheet and recent
congressional testimony on the TSC. You can
also take a look at Mr. Garrity's earlier congressional
statement on our name check program.