A Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is a locally based, multi-agency teams of investigators, analysts, linguists, SWAT experts, and other specialists who investigate terrorism and terrorism-related crimes. Seventy-one of the 106 JTTFs currently operated by the Department of Justice and the FBI were created after 9/11. Over 4,400 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and agents work in them. These officers and agents come from more than 600 state and local agencies and 50 federal agencies.
The FBI considers the JTTFs "the nation's front line on terrorism." They "investigate acts of terrorism that affect the U.S., its interests, property and citizens, including those employed by the U.S. and military personnel overseas." As this suggests, their operations are highly tactical and focus on investigations, developing human sources (informants), and gathering intelligence to thwart terrorist plots.
JTTFs also offer an important conduit for the sharing of intelligence developed from FBI-led counterterrorism investigations with outside agencies and state and local law enforcement. To help facilitate this, especially as the threat of homegrown jihadists has emerged, the number of top-secret security clearances issued to local police working on JTTFs has increased from 125 to 878 between 2007 and 2009.
There is also a National JTTF, which was established in July 2002 to serve as a coordinating mechanism with the FBI's partners. Some 40 agencies are now represented in the National JTTF, which has become a focal point for information sharing and the management of large-scale projects that involve multiple partners.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Protecting America from Terrorist Attack: Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces (full-text).
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Protecting America Against Terrorist Attack: A Closer Look at Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces (May 2009) (full-text).
- Brig Barker * Steve Fowler, "The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Officer," 77 FBI Law Enforcement Bull. 13 (Nov. 2008).