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29 September 2003

U.S., UK, Colombia, Mexico Share Data on Explosives Incidents

Database called "potent tool" in war on terrorism

The Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has begun sharing a new database on arson and explosives with officials in Britain, Colombia and Mexico.

The database is restricted to law enforcement agencies and provides for the exchange of information on explosives incidents including the groups or individuals involved, vehicles used, power source, and initiation system.

ATF says the project will serve as a potent tool in the international war on terrorism, and welcomes participation by other countries.

Following is an ATF press release:

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Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Washington, D.C.
www.atf.gov
September 26, 2003

ATF SHARES UNIQUE ARSON AND EXPLOSIVES DATABASE WITH INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

Britain, Colombia and Mexico Participating So Far

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and law enforcement agencies in Britain, Colombia and Mexico are sharing a new database on arson and explosives information that will serve as a potent tool in the international war on terrorism.

The XBase Project provides its users with a comprehensive international and national information management system on explosives incidents, while facilitating and promoting the sharing of information among participating members and national bomb data centers worldwide.

"In an age when bombs and other explosives are the terrorist weapons of choice, XBase has already proven itself to be an invaluable resource," said Kathleen L. Kiernan, ATF's Assistant Director for Strategic Intelligence and Information. "By allowing ATF and law enforcement agencies around the world to share and compare information securely and electronically, XBase permits those agencies to marshal their collective expertise against terrorist bombings and other explosives threats."

The XBase Project grew out of discussions that ATF's Arson and Explosives National Repository, which Congress has entrusted with maintaining all national information on explosives incidents and arson, and Britain's Bomb Data Center began in 1999 in an effort to automate the British files.

Scotland Yard contracted with ImageBase Technology, Ltd., a British firm, and then worked with the company and ATF to develop the XBase technology. In 2000, ATF helped bring law enforcement agencies in Mexico and then Colombia online. Other countries interested in the project are welcome and will be directed to ImageBase Technology for information about joining.

XBase represents a breakthrough in technology and information sharing because it is cost-effective for developed and developing countries alike, the software it employs is user-friendly and does not require extensive new training to utilize, and all types of law enforcement can use its applications.

The project now allows ATF's Arson and Explosives National Repository to gather information on explosives incidents worldwide, and provides all four countries participating so far with "one-stop shopping" for explosives-related incidents.

XBase users, which are limited to law enforcement agencies, exchange information via encrypted messages that include, among other things, information on the explosives incident, groups or individuals involved, vehicles used, power source, initiation system and firearms. The information arrives in a format adaptable for use in any language, so that law enforcement agencies around the world can work in their own language.

Information is exchanged on a case-by-case basis, triggered by a specific request from one county to another and is "permission-based," meaning each country will send a requester only what it feels is necessary. Under XBase, each country continues to maintain and control information in its own National Repository or bomb data center.

More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov and on the Arson and Explosives National Repository at www.atf.gov/aexis2/index.htm.

Contact: Andrew L. Lluberes 202-927-8500

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