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By Zoe Baird, James Barksdale

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Extra info for Protecting America's Freedom in the Information Age (A Report of the Markle Foundation Task Force)

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The Information Integration Office proposed by the President has been zeroed out. This was an unfortunate decision because investments in the proper use of information can make all the rest of the spending more productive. But now a National Strategy for Homeland Security has been announced. A new Department of Homeland Security is being created. The best reason to create this Department is to create entirely new capacities for government action, above all in the area of information. Information and information processing is to homeland security as the brain is to the human body.

2: “Watch-Out Lists” and “Gates”: A Hypothetical Application to the 9/11 Attacks* Hypothesis: Each person buying an airplane ticket is checked against lists of possible terrorists. If there is a “hit,” that person’s available information is checked to identify possible associates. • Software already exists that can check names and addresses against multiple databases. It is capable of accounting for errors and variations in the way names are spelled, and can perform these functions on very large databases in seconds.

This DHS IT Center should be provided with multi-year budgetary support, including in particular funds to be used for interagency IT activities and for monetary awards to DHS agencies or departments that perform effectively in adopting IT recommendations. The Center should be required to review all IT infrastructure proposals made by or on behalf of any DHS entity, and to certify such proposals to Congress as warranting legislative support. Finally, the DHS should join the CIA as a major sponsor and client of In-Q-Tel, using that firm as an effective, working vehicle that can tap cutting-edge expertise about new IT developments and help convert these ideas into usable, deployable products that can make America safer and freer.

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