Executive Order 13388: Changing Information Sharing Priorities for Federal Agencies

On October 25, 2005, President Bush signed Executive Order 1388, which orders that "agencies shall, in the design and use of information systems and in the dissemination of information among agencies: (a) give the highest priority to . . . (iii) the interchange of terrorism information between agencies and appropriate authorities of State, local, and tribal governments, and between agencies and appropriate private sector entities . . . ." The text of the Order can be found here.

Agencies, as defined by the Executive Order, include the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affair, and Homeland Security, along with the Postal Rate Commission, the United States Postal Service, and every Government corporation. The Government Accountability Office is not considered an agency for purposes of this Executive Order, although it would typically be considered an agency under the broad definition of the statute on which this Executive Order's definition of agency relies, 5 U.S.C. ㋔ 105. The Executive Order does not define, nor does it discuss, who or what the "appropriate private sector entities" with whom agencies are ordered to interchange terrorism information are.

"Terrorism information" is defined according to section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-458). "Terrorism information" includes:

[A]ll information . . . [and] other activities relating to:

the existence, organization, capabilities, plans, intentions, vulnerabilities, means of finance or material support, or activities of foreign or international terrorist groups or individuals, or of domestic groups or individuals involved in transnational terrorism;
threat posed by such groups or individuals to the United States, United States persons, or United States interests, or to those of other nations; communications of or by such groups or individuals; or
groups or individuals reasonably believe to be assisting or associated with such groups or individuals.
Pub. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3665.

The Executive Order requires "the head of each agency that possesses or acquires terrorism information" to pay attention to "any guidance issued by the Attorney General to fulfill the policy" of "protect[ing] the freedom, information privacy, and other legal rights of Americans in" the interchange of terrorism information. It does not appear, however, at this point that the Attorney General has issued any guidance relating to information privacy and Executive Order 13388.

The Executive Order is aimed at carrying out the goals of ㋔ 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which addresses the establishment of an Information Sharing Council and an Information Sharing Environment. Congress appropriated $20,000,000 in each of fiscal year 2005 and 2006 to fulfill these goals.

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