National Counterterrorism Center

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is a United States government organization responsible for national and international counterterrorism efforts.[1] It is based in Liberty Crossing, a modern complex near Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia.[2] NCTC advises the United States on terrorism.

National Counterterrorism Center
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Terrorist Threat Integration Center
HeadquartersMcLean, Virginia, U.S.
Agency executives
  • Russell Travers, Acting Director/Deputy Director
  • Lora Shiao, Executive Director
Parent agencyOffice of the Director of National Intelligence

Part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the group brings together specialists from other federal agencies, including the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Defense.[3]

In 2012, the United States Attorney General Eric Holder granted the agency the authority to collect, store, and analyze extensive data collections on U.S. citizens compiled from governmental and non-governmental sources for suspicious behavior through pattern analysis and to share the databases with foreign states. The effort has drawn controversy for its pre-crime effort, which has been likened to the Information Awareness Office and its proposed mass surveillance.[4][5][6][7]


The precursor organization of NCTC, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), was established on May 1, 2003,[8] by President George W. Bush by Executive Order 13354.[9] President Bush announced the creation of TTIC in his 2003 State of the Union Address. TTIC was established in response to recommendations by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) that investigated the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Among other things, the 9/11 Commission concluded that "none of the measures adopted by the U.S. government before 9/11 disturbed or even delayed the progress of the al Qaeda plot".[10]

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 renamed TTIC to NCTC and placed it under the United States Director of National Intelligence. It has access to various databases, including those from the NSA and the CIA, and is in charge of the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database.[11] It also operates the publicly accessible Worldwide Incidents Tracking System database.


The center analyzes terrorism intelligence including potential domestic threat intelligence; monitors communications internationally and domestically for potential threats; generates actionable information to potentially prevent criminal acts domestically; stores terrorism information; supports U.S. counterterrorism activities using information technology (IT); and plans counter-terrorism activities as directed by the President of the United States, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council.

In August 2019, The Daily Beast reported that the NTC had begun to work on counterintelligence to combat domestic terrorism.[12]


Its goals include providing terrorism information to the intelligence community; provide detailed lists of terrorists, terrorist groups, and worldwide terrorist incidents; support the response to terrorist incidents in the United States and worldwide; write assessments and briefings for policymakers.

After the Christmas 2009 terrorist attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, the NCTC was tasked with creating a process to "thoroughly and exhaustively" prioritize terrorism threat threads; identify follow-up action by intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security; and enhance the "Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment" database, to add names to watchlists.[13]

Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment

The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) is a database compiled by the NCTC containing over 1,200,000 identities of individuals suspected of terror links and domestic individuals of interest including the names of known or suspected terrorists as well as those affiliated.[4]



: Joseph Maguire is currently serving as the Acting Director of National Intelligence

Principal Deputy Directors

  • Arthur M. Cummings (2004–05)
  • Kevin R. Brock (2005–07)
  • Michael E. Leiter (2007–08)
  • Geoff O'Connell (2008–2011)
  • Andrew Liepman (2011–2012)
  • Nicholas J. Rasmussen (2012–2014)
  • L. Joseph Camilleri (2016-2017)
  • John J. Mulligan[15]

Executive Directors

Lora Shiao (March 2019 - Present)

See also


  1. Bloy, Natalie; Peters, Heidi M. (August 18, 2017). National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. Priest, Dana; William M. Arkin. "A hidden world, growing beyond control". The Washington Post.
  3. Elliot, Phillip (January 2, 2010). "Obama says al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently responsible for airliner bombing plot". 680 News. Associated Press. Accessed January 2, 1010.
  4. ANGWIN, JULIA (December 12, 2012). "U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens". WSJ.
  5. Zetter, Kim (December 13, 2012). "Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans". WIRED.
  6. Kelley, Michael (Dec 13, 2012). "CONFIRMED: US Counterterrorism Agency Can Amass Data On Any Citizen". Business Insider.
  7. Hill, Kashmir (December 14, 2012). "The Little Known Spy Agency That Knows Your Flight Plans And Much More". Forbes.
  8. "The Terrorist Threat Integration Center: One Year Later". FBI. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  9. Terrorist Threat Integration Center
  10. "Public Statement Release of 9/11 Commission Report The Hon. Thomas H. Kean and the Hon. Lee H. Hamilton" (PDF). July 22, 2004. Retrieved 22 Feb 2010.
  11. DeYoung Karen (January 7, 2010). "After attempted airline bombing, effectiveness of intelligence reforms questioned". The Washington Post.
  12. Woodruff, Betsy (2019-08-07). "Post-9/11 Intel Center Goes After Domestic Terror". Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  13. Pelofsky, Jeremy (January 7, 2010). "Factbox: Actions Obama ordered after December 25 bomb plot". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-02-22.
  14. "Acting Director of NCTC Nicholas J. Rasmussen". National Counterterrorism Center. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  15. "DEPUTY DIRECTOR NCTC". DNI. Retrieved 2017-08-06.

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