Procedures and thresholds for sharing this type of information ultimately vary; however, with limited exceptions, agencies must always adhere to this requirement.
U.S. Department of State personnel handle the delivery of most DTW notifications involving private U.S. citizens and organizations overseas that result from specific, credible, and non-counterable threat information. The OSAC Global Threat Warning (GTW) team coordinates with Regional Security Officers (RSOs) at U.S. diplomatic posts abroad to perform these notifications in cases where U.S.-based companies, NGOs, faith-based organizations, and/or academia are the target of a threat. This duty covers OSAC members and non-members alike.
Specific, credible, and non-counterable?
These three thresholds form the basis of both the U.S. Department of State’s DTW and its broader No Double Standard policy (NDS), which undergirds the Bureau of Consular Affairs Travel Advisory and Security Alert systems.
Requiring information to meet each of these thresholds accomplishes three important functions: it protects sources and methods by minimizing the unnecessary release of sensitive information; it avoids message fatigue resulting from oversharing of information that holds little value for the recipient; and it protects the integrity of the notifications that do occur.
When a member of the private sector receives a DTW notification, they can be confident that the underlying information has been determined to contain the following characteristics:
Sufficient detail to identify the specific target of a threat, plus enough information about the nature of the threat to inform mitigating action (Specific);
Has not demonstrated significant reason to doubt the credibility or reliability of the source (Credible);
Has not otherwise been shared with either the targeted organization or local security forces in such a way as to reasonably guarantee the disruption of the threat (Non-Counterable).
While these criteria are, by nature, subjective and fluid based on the circumstances of a given threat, they are never evaluated on an individual basis. Rather, OSAC consults with partner intelligence offices, agencies, and RSO shops to make these determinations.