Markle report says antiterror effort should be decentralized

The Homeland Security Department cannot operate flexibly enough in procurement or technological innovation, the Markle Foundation of New York said in a report prepared late last year with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution and the University of Virginia. Procurement reforms 'permit but fail to require' a break with past practices for technology development, the report said.

The federal government should not build a centralized architecture to combat terrorism but instead use a decentralized network of federal, regional, state and local agencies as well as companies.

Information bottleneck

'The federal approach can inform and support local efforts, but information needs to be available widely and should not be required to flow through a central hub,' the report said.

The authors condemned proposals for 'endless mining of vast new government data warehouses to find intricate correlations,' saying such approaches do not improve security but instead 'evoke memories of the walls of clippings collected by paranoid genius John Nash' in the film 'A Beautiful Mind.'

The foundation's broad-brush network architecture emphasized the Justice Department and FBI as lead law enforcement agencies and the Homeland Security Department as the lead agency for shaping domestic intelligence products.

The foundation is headed by former U.S. attorney general nominee Zoe Baird and Jim Barksdale, formerly chief executive of Netscape Communications Corp.


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