Dramatic Improvement in Intelligence Sharing Because of ISIS

European countries are voluntarily providing the United States with large amounts of information about their citizens, particularly as those citizens attempt to travel, the nation's top counterterrorism official said.

ObamaCompared to the summer of 2013, US intelligence professionals have seen a "pendulum swing" in the willingness of European law enforcement to share information with the United States on European citizens, said Nicholas J. Rasmussen, director? of the National Counterterrorism Center, or NCTC, on Wednesday.

Things have turned around since summer 2013, when NSA contractor Edward Snowden first disclosed some of the nations closely kept secrets on surveillance capabilities. Rasmussen said that "the politics are difficult for some of our European partners" but tracking Islamic State fighters, or ISIS, has become a priority.

Rasmussen, before the House Committee on Homeland Security, said that European partners continue to differ form US counterparts on the issue of bulk metadata collection. But European reservations about data sharing in more targeted investigations had "seen a dramatic improvement," particularly in populating the NCTC's database, called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE. It is one of the key person-of-interest watch lists that the US and other countries use to track potential or suspected terrorists.

Thanks in part to better collaboration, he said, the Turkish "banned from entry list" now includes 10,000 individuals who are primarily European citizens. Turkey is seen as the most direct route that foreign fighters in Europe use to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

More than 20,000 fighters have flocked to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, including 3,400 from Western countries and 150 Americans, according to previously-submitted written testimony from Rasmussen, first obtained by the Associated Press.

Many security experts and even some Navy SEALs argue that encryption keeps the nation safer from cyber attacks by keeping user information more secure.

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/02/dramatic-improvement

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