Mar 22, 2012

News Alert: U.S. Moves to Ease Limits on Use of Data in Counterterror Analysis

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thursday, March 22, 2012 -- 6:31 PM EDT

U.S. Moves to Ease Limits on Use of Data in Counterterror Analysis

The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may access, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected on Thursday to sign new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and to serve as a clearinghouse for terrorism threats, according to officials.

The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the center's ability to retain private information about Americans when there is suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and "data-mining them" — using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat — than it currently does.

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