On September 17, 2001, the US Attorney General directed that the United States Attorney’s Office in each district establish an Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC). The current function of each ATAC is to enhance training and information sharing among the district’s federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as other first responders and private parties, in matters related to terrorism. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Ben Schrader is the ATAC Coordinator for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The Nashville-area Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and comprised of various other state and federal agencies, is the primary agency responsible for investigating potential terrorist related activities and suspicious incidents. Prosecutions are coordinated with the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. AUSA Vincent is the lead prosecutor for terrorism cases in the Middle District of Tennessee.
The primary objectives of the JTTF are: 1) the prevention and disruption of terrorist activity by implementing the full range of resources available to investigate terrorist incidents; and 2) the vigorous prosecution of those who have committed, or intend to commit, terrorist acts in the United States.
The Tennessee Office of Homeland Security (TNOHS) operates a Fusion Center at Tennessee Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Nashville. The Fusion Center handles information related to events throughout the entire state and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The TNOHS also has a group of Liaison Officers serving at various law enforcement agencies throughout the state to coordinate suspicious incidents with local authorities. Suspicious incident reports are sent by the Liaison Officers to the Fusion Center for processing. Additionally, analysts at the Fusion Center accept telephonic and electronic reports from citizens regarding suspicious incidents. Incidents that are possibly terrorist-related are passed from the Fusion Center to the JTTF (whether based in Nashville, Memphis or Knoxville) for appropriate action.