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How much data regarding U.S. anti- and counterterrorism systems, countermeasures, and defenses is publicly available and how easily could it be found by individuals seeking to harm U.S. domestic interests? The authors developed a framework to guide assessments of the availability of such information for planning attacks on the U.S. air, rail, and sea transportation infrastructure, and applied the framework in an information-gathering exercise that used several attack scenarios. Overall, the framework was useful for assessing what kind of information would be easy or hard for potential attackers to find. For each of the attack scenarios, a team of “attackers” was unable to locate some of the information that a terrorist planner would need to gauge the likely success of a potential attack. The authors recommend that procedures for securing sensitive information be evaluated regularly and that information that can be obtained from easily accessible, off-site public information sources be included in vulnerability assessments.

The research described in this report was conducted under the auspices of the Homeland Security Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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