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Research Says Suspicious Activity Reports Don’t Get Plot Info

A report from the Institute for Homeland Security Solutions says the suspicious activity reports (SARs) officials rely on to find terrorist activity don’t capture the type of information that helped to stop terrorist plots in the past decade, FierceHomelandSecurity reports.

The April 2011 report found 86 publicly known cases of terrorism or attempted terrorism against U.S. targets outside of conflict zones, with 68 plots being foiled. However, 80 percent of the clues leading to the thwarting of plots came from law enforcement or the general public.

“In a majority of the foiled plots examined, the initial clue came from a public/informant tip or a discovery during what was initially considered a ‘routine’ criminal investigation,” the report says.

Under the Information Sharing Environment’s standards for SARs, not all clues would have been reportable as an SAR.

The report recommends law enforcement officials be trained to identify terrorism-related activities during routine criminal investigations and officials develop relationships with the community to maximize information sharing.

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