Federal Agencies Are Sharing Border and Terrorism Information With Local and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, but Additional Efforts Are Needed : Report to the Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives
Information is a crucial tool in securing the nation's borders against crimes and potential terrorist threats, with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the FBI, having key information sharing roles. GAO was asked to assess the extent to which (1) local and tribal officials in border communities received useful information from their federal partners, (2) federal agencies supported state fusion centers', where states collaborate with federal agencies to improve information sharing, efforts to develop border intelligence products, and (3) local and tribal agencies were aware of the suspicious activities they are to report. To conduct this work, GAO analyzed relevant laws, directives, policies, and procedures; contacted a nongeneralizable sample of 20 agencies in border communities and five fusion centers (based on geographic location and size); and interviewed DHS and FBI officials. GAO recommends that DHS and the FBI more fully identify the information needs of and establish partnerships with local and tribal officials along the borders; identify promising practices in developing border intelligence products within fusion centers and obtain feedback on the products; and define the suspicious activities that local and tribal officials in border communities are to report and how to report them. DHS agreed and the FBI did not comment.