The announcement by President Obama of the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 1st has been described by many key observers, officials, and experts as proof that information sharing is now the way the intelligence community does business—the necessary transformation of government that the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age aimed for in all its recommendations.
According to details made public in the press, the counterterrorism mission that caught up to al Qaeda’s leader was a collaborative and multi-agency intelligence effort made feasible by the foundation that has been laid over the past few years in the form of new information sharing and collaboration capabilities. Extensive sharing and collaboration among the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was crucial to the success of operation Geronimo. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, stated, “In my nearly 50 years in intelligence, never have I seen a more remarkable example of focused integration, seamless collaboration, and sheer professional magnificence as was demonstrated by the Intelligence Community in the ultimate demise of Osama bin Laden.” The 9/11 Commission chairs, former New Jersey Republican Governor Thomas H. Kean and former Indiana Democratic Representative Lee H. Hamilton, connected the success of the raid with the implementation of the intelligence reforms that included the creation of an information sharing environment, as recommended by the Markle Task Force. In a joint statement they concluded, “As a result of these reforms, there is much closer collaboration between intelligence and military components of the federal government.” Senator Susan Collins, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Committee and one of the lead drafters of the intelligence reform laws, stated in a CQ article, “Not too long ago, there would have been no communication between Washington and state and local law enforcement, much less a system that went out in a very timely way to provide this kind of information.”
Learn more about the Markle Task Force’s work on information sharing and its efforts to change the way intelligence professionals and government officials do business.