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Washington ranks seventh of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations, and 15th overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11. In dollar amount, the state ranked 17th in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 11th in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 27th in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to Washington by analyzing data, including the following: * Washington is one of 13 states or territories where U.S. attorneys secured one terrorism conviction from Sept. 11, 2001, through March 2010, according to the Justice Department. * Seattle is one of the 64 urban metropolitan areas that have been designated by the federal government as "high-threat, high-density" with regard to acts of terrorism. Soon after the December 1999 arrest of "millennium bomber" Ahmed Ressam while he was entering the United States from Canada, Washington state began building a counterterrorism apparatus and had two Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) in place before 9/11. Today it ranks fourth in the nation (tied with Alabama, New York and Ohio) with four JTTFs. Since 9/11, the state has activated a Domestic Security Executive Group, which oversees state counterterrorism efforts, and a Committee on Homeland Security under the Emergency Management Council, which coordinates homeland security and emergency management.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 115

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 21

81.7% Pre-9/11

18.3% Post-9/11

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The Washington homeland security regional planning and coordination structure is divided into nine Regional Homeland Security Coordination Districts, each with a designated region lead and a homeland security coordinator. The state is located in FEMA Region X; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is in Seattle.

Law Enforcement
Law Enforcement
Includes organizations at the federal, state and local levels that have the police powers to make arrests and investigate criminal matters.
Emergency Management
Emergency Management
Organizations tasked with responding to natural disasters, attacks using weapons of mass destruction and other emergencies.
Homeland Security
Homeland Security
Organizations responsible for activities -- such as infrastructure protection, border control and planning for the aftermath of terrorist attacks -- handled mainly by the Department of Homeland Security.
Organizations, such as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces, that work exclusively on terrorism cases.
Joint Terrorism Task Force
A multiagency task force, run by the FBI, that has the lead in investigating terrorism within the United States.
Intelligence and Fusion
Organizations that collect, analyze and share information about domestic threats.
Fusion Centers
Fusion Center
A place where information from multiple agencies in a state or region is sent to be analyzed.
Totals 96118115


  • Counterterrorism

    Washington has four Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs): the Seattle JTTF (also known as the Puget Sound Counterterrorism Working Group (PSCTWG) or the Puget Sound JTTF (PSJTTF)), the Inland Northwest Regional Terrorism Task Force (INRTTF) in Spokane, and JTTF annexes in Everett and Tacoma. The INRTTF covers northern Idaho, western Montana and eastern Washington. The U.S. attorney chairs Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) in Seattle and Spokane.

  • Intelligence

    Washington is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Western States Information Network (WSIN). The King County Sheriff's Office operates the King County Regional Criminal Intelligence Group. At the federal level, the FBI operates a Field Intelligence Group (FIG) in Seattle. The Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in Seattle performs criminal intelligence analysis. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in Seattle has jurisdiction over Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Idaho.

  • Fusion

    The Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC), established in 2003 and formerly called the Washington Joint Analytical Center (WAJAC), is the state-designated all-crimes, all-hazards and counterterrorism fusion center. It is a component of the Washington State Police and a joint effort with the FBI. In 2010, the WSFC was designated as one of 12 state agencies to be part of the new Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative.

  • Homeland Security

    Washington relies on two executive-level policy and advisory groups to oversee its homeland security efforts. The Emergency Management Council Committee on Homeland Security advises the governor on all hazards issues and counterterrorism. The Domestic Security Executive Group (DSEG) advises on all matters pertaining to state domestic security. The Homeland Security Section of the Emergency Management Division is the operational agency; it is assisted by Regional Homeland Security Coordination Districts. To assist in critical infrastructure protection (CIP), a DHS Protective Security Advisor is located in Seattle, and one of nine national DHS CIP Teams is located in Washington to conduct assessments of selected critical assets. Federal Protective Service (FPS) Region 10 headquarters is located in Federal Way.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Washington State Patrol is the statewide law enforcement agency. The Washington Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is the clearinghouse for the state's criminal justice information. The FBI's Seattle field office operates resident agencies and satellite offices in Bellingham, Everett, Everett, Olympia, Richland, Silverdale, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver and Yakima.

  • Emergency Management

    The Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD), a component of the Washington Military Department, is the state agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness. The EMD manages the state's Emergency Operations Center, located on Camp Murray, near Tacoma. Washington is a member of the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement (PNEMA), along with three other states, British Columbia and the Yukon. The Emergency Management Council advises the governor and state director on all matters pertaining to state and local emergency management.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
Colville Station (Border Patrol)  
Metaline Falls Station (Border Patrol)  
Tri-Cities Office (Drug Enforcement)  
Bellevue Police DepartmentBellevuex
Bellingham Air and Marine Branch (Customs)Bellinghamx
Bellingham Aviation Operations (Customs)Bellingham 
Bellingham Resident Agency (FBI)Bellingham 
Bellingham Station (Border Patrol)Bellingham 
DHS Office of Investigations Field Office BellinghamBellinghamx
ASAC Blaine (ICE)Blaine 
Blaine/Bellingham Coastal Site (Customs)Blaine 
Blaine Office (Drug Enforcement)Blaine 
Blaine Sector (Border Patrol)Blaine 
Blaine Station (Border Patrol)Blaine 
Bonners Ferry Station (Border Patrol)Bonners Ferry 
Defense Coordinating Officer/Element FEMA Region X (NORTHCOM)Bothellx
FEMA Region X Federal Regional CenterBothell 
FEMA Region X MERSBothell 
NCIS Resident Agency Bremerton (Navy)Bremerton 
State of Washington Emergency Management DivisionCamp Murray 
Wash. Counterdrug Task Force (Nat'l Guard)Camp Murray 
Washington Army National GuardCamp Murray 
Washington Military DepartmentCamp Murray 
Wash. National Guard JFHQCamp Murrayx
Curlew Station (Border Patrol)Curlew 
Eureka Station (Border Patrol)Eureka 
Everett JTTF Annex (FBI)Everettx
Everett Resident Agency (FBI)Everett 
NCIS Resident Agency Everett (Navy)Everett 
Northwest Wash. Regional Terrorism Working GroupEverettx
AFOSI Det 322 (Air Force)Fairchild AFB 
FPS Region 10-Federal Way, Washington (Fed. Protective Service)Federal Way 
44th Military Police Detachment (CID) (U.S. Army)Ft. Lewis 
6th Military Police Group (CID) (U.S. Army)Ft. Lewis 
Fort Lewis Resident Office (Military Intel.)Ft. Lewis 
DHS Office of Investigations Field Office SeattleKirklandx
Lynden Station (Border Patrol)Lynden 
AFOSI Det 110 OL-F (Air Force)McChord AFB 
AFOSI Det 305 (Air Force)McChord AFB 
NCIS Resident Agency Whidbey Island (Navy)Oak Harbor 
Olympia Resident Agency (FBI)Olympia 
Washington State Citizen CorpsOlympiax
Washington State PatrolOlympia 
Wash. State Fusion Center (WSFC) / Washington Joint Analysis Center (WAJAC) (State Police)Olympiax
Oroville Station (Border Patrol)Oroville 
RA Oroville (ICE)Oroville 
Port Angeles Border Patrol Station (PAW)Port Angeles 
RA Port Angeles (ICE)Port Angeles 
Pasco Sub-Station (Border Patrol)Richland 
RA Pasco/Richland (ICE)Richland 
Richland Regional Office (Dept. of Energy)Richland 
Richland Resident Agency (FBI)Richland 
ATAC Western District of Wash. (U.S. Attorney)Seattlex
FIG Seattle Office of Intelligence(ICE)Seattlex
IRS Criminal Investigation, Seattle Field OfficeSeattle 
King County Sheriff's DepartmentSeattle 
Northwest HIDTA (Nat'l Drug Control)Seattle 
N.W. Great Plains Customs Management CenterSeattle 
Port of Seattle Police DepartmentSeattle 
Protective Security Advisor Seattle District (DHS)Seattlex
Puget Sound Counterterrorism Working Group (PSCTWG) / Puget Sound JTTF (PSJTTF) / Seattle JTTF (FBI)Seattle 
Resident Agent in Charge - Seattle (ICE)Seattle 
SAC Seattle (ICE)Seattle 
Seattle Division (FBI)Seattle 
Seattle Division (Postal Inspection)Seattle 
Seattle Electronic Crimes Task Force (Secret Service)Seattle 
Seattle Field Division (ATF)Seattle 
Seattle Field Division(Drug Enforcement)Seattle 
Seattle Field OfficeSeattle 
Seattle Field Office (Defense Sec.)Seattle 
Seattle Field Office (ICE)Seattle 
Seattle JTTF 308th Military Intelligence Battalion LiaisonSeattlex
Seattle JTTF (Coast Guard, FBI)Seattlex
Seattle Office of Emergency ManagementSeattle 
Seattle Police DepartmentSeattle 
Seattle Resident Agency (Defense)Seattle 
Seattle Resident Office / Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence (Diplomatic Sec.)Seattle 
USAO Western District of Washington (U.S. Attorney)Seattle 
USMS Western District of Washington (Marshals)Seattle 
USSS Seattle (Secret Service)Seattle 
Western Region Security Office (Dept. of Commerce)Seattle 
NCIS Northwest Field Office (Navy)Silverdale 
NCIS Polygraph Site Northwest (Navy)Silverdale 
NCIS Technical Services Det Bangor, Wa. (Navy)Silverdale 
Silverdale Resident Agency (FBI)Silverdale 
Eastern District of Wash. ATAC (U.S. Attorney)Spokanex
Inland Northwest Regional Terrorism Task Force (INRTTF) / Inland Northwest JTTF (FBI)Spokanex
RAC Spokane (ICE)Spokane 
Spokane Area JTTF Annex of INRTTF (FBI)Spokanex
Spokane Aviation Operations (Customs)Spokane 
Spokane County SheriffSpokane 
Spokane Office(Drug Enforcement)Spokane 
Spokane Police DepartmentSpokanex
Spokane Resident Agency (FBI)Spokane 
Spokane Riverine Site (Customs)Spokane 
Spokane Satellite Office/Industry OperationsSpokane 
Spokane Sector, Wash. (Border Patrol)Spokane 
USAO Eastern District of Washington (U.S. Attorney)Spokane 
USMS Eastern District of Washington (Marshals)Spokane 
USSS Spokane (Secret Service)Spokane 
10th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Tacomax
AFOSI Tacoma JTTF (Det 305) (Air Force)Tacomax
Tacoma JTTF (FBI)Tacoma 
Tacoma Office (Drug Enforcement)Tacoma 
Tacoma Resident Agency (FBI)Tacoma 
Washington Air National GuardTacoma 
Portland Fraud Resident Agency (U.S. Army)Vancouver 
Vancouver Police DepartmentVancouver 
Vancouver Resident Agency (FBI)Vancouver 
RA Wenatchee (ICE)Wenatchee 
Wenatchee Sub-Station (Border Patrol)Wenatchee 
RAC Yakima (ICE)Yakima 
Yakima Office (Drug Enforcement)Yakima 
Yakima Resident Agency (FBI)Yakima 
Yakima Satellite Office (ATF)Yakima 

Our analysis revealed four tiers of risk posed by hazards. Earthquakes and floods present the highest risk to Washington. Terrorism, epidemic/pandemic; chemical incident; volcanic ashfall or lahar; drought; urban fire; and wildland fire are in the second highest risk tier. Radiological incident; Columbia Generating Station incident; dam failure/levee break; pipeline incident; avalanche; infestation; landslide; and severe storm are in the third tier. Tsunami and Umatilla Chemical Depot incident are in the fourth risk tier.”

Source: 2009-2014 Washington Statewide All-Hazards Emergency Preparedness Strategic Plan

A terrorism incident could occur at any time and/or location in the state of Washington, causing significant human suffering, injury, death, damage to public and private property, demolishing infrastructure, environmental degradation, loss of essential social services, economic hardship, and disruption to federal, state, local, and tribal governments. The events of September 11, 2001, in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania and the subsequent anthrax mailing heightened American concern, awareness, and security. Airports, nuclear power facilities, businesses, border crossings, and governmental, military, and private facilities have implemented or enhanced security. Additional measures have been taken to ensure increased terrorism mitigation and preparedness is implemented nationwide.”

Source: State of Washington Integrated Fixed Facility Radiological and Chemical Protection Plan, 2008

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyExtreme heat; Floods; Landslide and debris flow; Thunderstorms; Tornadoes; Winter storms; Extreme cold; Volcanoes
Domestic SecurityEarth Liberation Front; White supremacists
Sourcing: Natural hazards are taken from DHS documents and State Emergency Operations Plans. Domestic terrorist threats are based upon U.S. government intelligence documents and actual attacks undertaken since 2001.

This project was last updated in September 2010. Data is accurate as of that date.
"Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. | Read More »

More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America. | See the details »


Top Secret America on Frontline

A short video from PBS’s FRONTLINE on The Post’s two-year investigation. An hour-long documentary film is forthcoming. Watch the trailer »

The reporters

Dana Priest

Investigative reporter Dana Priest has been The Washington Post's intelligence, Pentagon and health-care reporter. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for "The Other Walter Reed" and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. She is author of the 2003 book, "The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military, (W.W. Norton).

William M. Arkin

William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post and since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.

Project Credits

Stephanie Clark, Ben de la Cruz, Kat Downs, Dan Drinkard, Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, Justin Ferrell, David Finkel, Jennifer Jenkins, Robert Kaiser, Laris Karklis, Jacqueline Kazil, Lauren Keane, Todd Lindeman, Greg Manifold, Jennifer Morehead, Bonnie Jo Mount, Larry Nista, Ryan O’Neil, Sarah Sampsel, Whitney Shefte, Laura Stanton, Julie Tate, Doris Truong, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Michael Williamson, Karen Yourish, Amanda Zamora.

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