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Counterterrorist Operations

In the mid-1980s a series of high-profile terrorist attacks galvanized US policymakers to take the offensive against international terrorism. A task force chaired by then Vice President George Bush was formed in 1986 to address the problem of international terrorism. The task force concluded that US Government agencies collected information on terrorism, but did not aggressively operate to disrupt terrorist activities.

In 1995 and 1998 President Clinton issued Presidential Directives which have become the central blueprint for US counterterrorism policy. These Directives are backed up by legislation that defines terrorism as a crime and sets up procedures to apprehend and punish perpetrators worldwide. Congress, furthermore, has appropriated funds to enhance federal agencies' capabilities to prevent, counter, and manage the consequences of international terrorism. The National Security Council is charged with coordinating US policy on combating terrorism, and the Director of Central Intelligence is charged with coordinating Intelligence Community issues and sharing information through the Counterterrorist Center and the Interagency Intelligence Committee on Terrorism (IICT).

On December 17, 2004 the President signed into law the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 which creates a new Director of National Intelligence, establishes into law the National Counterterrorism Center, and enacts a wide range of additional changes to the Intelligence Community.

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