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December 2007

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


New USMS Threat Assessment Center Provides Immediate Response to Threats

In September, officials from the federal Judiciary and the U.S. Marshals Service cut the ribbon formally opening the Marshals Service’s new Threat Management Center (TMC). The facility will be the nerve center of the Judicial Security Division’s Office of Protective Intelligence, whose mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate information about threats to the Judiciary to field investigators.

“During my tenure as chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, I have frequently discussed with Director Clark the U.S. Marshals Service’s threat assessment capabilities,” said Judge David B. Sentelle (D.C. Cir.). “I have also visited two of their tech centers and been most impressed with what they have done in the use of technology for fugitive tracking and apprehension. I have been delighted with the way they have adapted their technical knowledge and expertise to the protection of judicial security. We should all be pleased with this new addition to their arsenal and with the direction the USMS is taking in the protection of federal judges.”

Marshals in all 94 districts, from Guam to New York, have 24-hour access to the TMC. The Center will provide vital data and recommendations to district personnel conducting protective investigations. A protective investigation defines how marshals will address and mitigate a potential threat.

Judge Henry Hudson (E.D. Va.), who now chairs the Conference Committee on Judicial Security Off-site Security Subcommittee, recognized the need for the ability to respond immediately to threats to the security of judges when he served as director of the U.S. Marshals Service from 1992 to 1993.

“We needed an information base and people skilled in its analysis, along with the ability to quickly put into place a security plan,” said Hudson. “The Center is that 24-hour resource. It’s a central location judges can call if they feel there is a potential threat. The Center is able to mine the database, assess a viable threat, and quickly determine the appropriate level of response.”

The TMC has been designated a sensitive compartmented information facility, also known as an SCIF, which allows for the transmission and storage of classified information, provides secure video teleconferencing, and has geospatial data-mapping capabilities. The Center monitors numerous Department of Justice and USMS networks and databases, and has access to additional law enforcement networks, both classified and unclassified. Several intelligence products are generated in the Center, such as USMS intelligence bulletins, alert notices, and threat assessments for cases and high-threat trials.

Providing the deputy marshals with instant access to the TMC will improve the timely delivery of pertinent information to the many protective details and threat investigations being conducted by marshals, as well as to the agency’s senior leadership. In addition, the Center will coordinate threat investigations directly with key officials of state, local, and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Understanding that partnerships are at the core of any successful operations center, the USMS has established liaison positions at the FBI National Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and other joint terrorism task forces. The marshals also have part-time liaison positions at the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Supreme Court Police.