Israeli technology powers FBI’s counter-terrorism data system

ClearForest’s technology will draw patterns from terrorism-related intelligence collected from several sources into a centralized datamart that serves as part of the agency’s modernized Trilogy network. A system developed in Israel is powering a new counter-terrorism database within the United …

ClearForest’s technology will draw patterns from terrorism-related intelligence collected from several sources into a centralized datamart that serves as part of the agency’s modernized Trilogy network. A system developed in Israel is powering a new counter-terrorism database within the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, enhancing the government’s ability to thwart terrorist attacks.

The system will ensure knowledge and sharing of all terrorism-related information within the FBI and with the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies

The tool created by the ClearForest company, will allow bureau analysts to more easily pore through the more than 1 billion documents that make up the FBI repository and share information with other intelligence agencies.

ClearForest, with headquarters in New York and Research and Development facilities in Israel, is a leader in organizing unstructured information and finding important patterns that help analysts form theories and reach conclusions. Their tools, ClearTags and ClearResearch, will draw patterns from terrorism-related intelligence collected from several sources into a centralized datamart that serves as part of the agency’s modernized Trilogy network.

Trilogy’s Virtual Case File component, the electronic container for all this data, will be up and running by the end of the year, said FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell. According to the FBI, over 40 million pages of documents have already been scanned into the counter-terrorism database.

The FBI was severely criticized in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks for failing to follow up on memos from the field that might have led investigators to the terrorists. The memos were just several in a stream of tens of thousands of pieces of hard copy information flowing into the bureau before the attacks. FBI officials believe the new computerized digital system will help analysts find and properly evaluate such information in the future, conceivably before terrorists can strike.

With ClearTags and ClearResearch used to quickly analyze the FBI’s entire document repository: over 1 billion existing documents, with up to one thousand new documents per day – collaboration among those dealing with the FBI’s terrorism-related information, both internally and with the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies will improve.

ClearResearch provides a single-screen diagram of relationships between people or places, and agents can receive a brief narrative outlining the nature of the relationship by clicking on the link between people. This tool has a powerful recognition system with logic which the bureau can customize to its needs.

To power the new program, called the “Terrorism and Intelligence Data Information Sharing Data Mart,” the FBI will deploy ClearResearch on the desktops of all 300 analysts in the agency, enabling them to quickly draw valuable, previously unknown insights from counter-terrorism intelligence gathered from disparate sources, and to respond immediately and efficiently to field events.

The bureau plans to connect the data mart to state and local databases, telephone records, Pentagon databases, Drug Enforcement Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm databases, the State Department’s visa database and other agencies.

“ClearForest’s technology will help the FBI fight terrorism by uncovering mission critical insights that are currently hidden in huge masses of intelligence data” said Barak Pridor, CEO of ClearForest, “We are very proud to have been chosen by the Bureau to participate in this critical counter-terrorism program and contribute to America’s national security.”


“Today we are a changed organization,” FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters at a headquarters news conference earlier this year. “We are stronger and we are better focused. I believe we have made monumental strides in a number of key areas which will help make us the counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence and criminal agency we need to be to best protect the American people.”

Mueller said the new FBI “mantra” is, “Let no counter-terrorism lead go unanswered.” Its second priority has become protecting the United States from foreign intelligence, followed, in the No. 3 spot, by the battle against cyber-attacks. White-collar crime and significant violent crime are now No. 7 and 8 respectively on the bureau’s priority list.

Up until the last year, agents used something called an “automatic case file” – essentially a green screen with white letters. The system was slow, extremely limited, and could not contain audio, video or photographic images.

W. Wilson Lowery, the FBI’s assistant director for administration, said the new “virtual case file” will make it much easier to input information, with modern analytical and search capabilities, sufficient band width to include audio, video and photographic images, and a complete set of documents in electronic form.

The FBI believes the “virtual case file” will revolutionize the way agents and analysts will do their jobs. The new system is much more like an Internet browser, with an easy point-and-click navigation.

The Virtual Case File system, slated to be complete in December, is an Internet-based system on the Trilogy network that will allow agents to search, analyze and compile case information. It is the first real change in workflow processes the bureau has seen in 50 years, officials said.

In March, the Trilogy network was deployed to 591 sites, linking 22,000 new desktop workstations, 2,612 switches and routers, 622 Ethernet local-area networks, and 291 servers. The project also includes an enterprise operations center where the network is managed. It will soon include increased security so FBI officials can monitor usage and ensure that people with proper clearances are accessing files.

The case file is an information entry and retrieval system that will allow the FBI’s counter-terrorism division to compile information quickly and easily from a number of open and classified sources in an attempt to track everything from an individual, suspected terrorist’s movements to relationships among thousands of names kept on file.

The system instantaneously pulls information from various databases and sources, including: Unclassified sources; message and cable traffic between suspects and monitored individuals; terrorist watch lists, intelligence data; State Department visa data; data from state and local law enforcement organizations; data from all 66 Joint Terrorism Task Forces nationwide; date from court subpoenas and data obtained from other federal agencies.