In a memo to 25 senior government officials including the vice president, cabinet secretaries, the CIA director and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent Oct. 4, President Donald Trump encourages the gathering of biometric and biographic data on “national security threat actors.”
The president wants a plan to better gather, analyze, protect, distribute and share biometric data and intelligence within 270 days. The memo mentions a list of potential categories of threat actors included in an “annex” to the document that was not released.
“National security threat actor information” includes identity attributes and associated information about individuals, organizations, groups, or networks assessed to be a threat to the safety, security, or national interests of the United States,” says the memo, which the White House released on Thursday.
“The United States Government’s ability to effectively analyze, evaluate, integrate, correlate, and share classified national security information and other information concerning threat actors and their networks, and then use that information to support a broad array of national security missions and activities, is an essential component of our national security strategy,” the memo says. “Our continuing efforts to achieve these goals requires both systematic collaboration across national security components and integrated practices that fully utilize our collective data holdings to support vital national security missions.”
The attorney general, the secretary of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence, coordinating with the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense and Energy and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency are tasked with devising criteria of who and what meet the definition of “threat actor,” according to the memo.
The same team of officials will then “advance the integration, sharing, and use of identity attributes and associated derogatory information for each individual category of evaluated national security threat actor.”
To appropriately protect intelligence gathered on threat actors, the memo calls on officials to consider, approve and monitor the information’s application and use and ensure operational security while using it “in a manner that appropriately protects individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties, including by providing appropriate redress.”
Within applicable law, Trump wants “thorough, accurate and timely national security threat actor information.” The intelligence should be carefully managed and officials should “deliberately use that information to support national security activities,” according to the memo.
Where appropriate, intelligence gathered on behalf of U.S. national security should be shared with foreign governments and international organizations and state, local and private sector entities, the memo says.