Florida slams feds for not sharing antiterror data

Florida slams feds for not sharing antiterror data

Florida's top law enforcement officer has blasted the FBI for failing to share data essential to tracking down terrorists. James 'Tim' Moore, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, objected to federal data-sharing policies and laws in a recent letter to FBI director Robert S. Mueller III and Homeland Security Office director Tom Ridge.

Several of the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackers took their pilot training in Florida. Describing his department's extensive antiterrorist activities since Sept. 11, Moore wrote, 'To date we have received limited information [from the FBI] and few requests for assistance since the initial leads were developed.'

FBI officials in Washington declined to comment on Moore's letter. Special agent Judy Oriehuela in Miami said the special agent in charge of the Miami office, Hector Pesquera, would not comment until he had spoken with Moore.

Moore also condemned some data-sharing provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, signed into law last month. He advocated removing obstacles to sharing information among federal and state agencies.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft this week ordered Justice Department agencies to share more data with local authorities [see story at www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/17477-1.html].

'In Florida, the ability to allow such sharing takes on even greater importance since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has just been funded to develop a statewide counterterrorism intelligence database and to facilitate the collection and dissemination of counterterrorism information,' Moore wrote. 'Unless appropriate federal information can be shared with us, the database capacity we are currently developing will never meet its full potential, and the capacity of our 40,000 law enforcement officers will not be used to the fullest.'

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