- You may be looking for CTU Los Angeles.
The Counter Terrorist Unit (also referred to as the Counter Terrorism Unit or CTU) was an intelligence and law enforcement agency in the United States of America which worked to investigate and prevent terrorist acts within U.S. borders.
Position Within the U.S. Government
It is not entirely clear what government entity is in charge of CTU, but it may operate under the Central Intelligence Agency. In real life, the CIA does aid counterterrorism efforts by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information on foreign terrorists. The agency is overseen by the National Security Council, of which the Secretary of Defense is a part. Thus, the Secretary of Defense could have some legitimate authority over a branch of the CIA, as seen in Day 4.
In The House Special Subcommittee's Findings at CTU, CTU is described as a branch of the CIA. The book's explanation of CTU reads in full:
- Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) - Elite branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Counter Terrorist Unit operates domestic counter-terrorism divisional headquarters in major U.S. metropolitan areas. The purview of the CTU is to investigate the activities of domestic or foreign terrorists inside America's borders and to prevent terrorist attacks. CTU divisions are made up of investigative agents, intelligence agents, undercover operatives, crack tactical squads for major raids, and special agents to oversee unit activities. CTU is specifically set up to coordinate activities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, and the Secret Service as well as local authorities. As a branch of the CIA, CTU operations are overseen by both Congress and the Executive Branch of the federal government.
In the "24: Declassified" novels, there is a note preceding the story that reads in full:
- After the 1993 World Trade Center attack, a division of the Central Intelligence Agency established a domestic unit tasked with protecting America from the threat of terrorism. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Counter Terrorist Unit established field offices in several American cities. From its inception, CTU faced hostility and skepticism from other federal law enforcement agencies. Despite bureaucratic resistance, within a few years CTU had become a major force. After the war against terror began, a number of early CTU missions were declassified. The following is one of them...
Organization and Structure
CTU is based in Washington, D.C. but has many field offices across the U.S. 24 follows CTU Los Angeles, which has had to respond to the attempted assassinations of a senator, a nuclear bomb threat, a deadly viral threat, the abduction of the Secretary of Defense, the attempted meltdown of multiple nuclear power plants, a nuclear missile launch, the theft of twenty canisters of weapons-grade nerve gas, and the threat of five Russian suitcase nuclear weapons.
District Command oversees a larger region than Division Command, and reports directly to CTU Headquarters in Washington, D.C. When David Palmer flew to Los Angeles during Day 2, he operated out of District Headquarters. It is possible that the District office oversees an entire region of the United States, and that the one seen on the 24 has jurisdiction over the Pacific Coast area. The other Districts presumably oversee other regions of the country including Midwest, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast. This may be contradicted by the conversation between Jack Bauer andGeorge Mason in Season 1, where Mason, the District Director, tells Jack that he reports to Chappelle, chief of Division. However, Chappelle tells Tony Almeida in Season 2 that he has his orders from District. District can also order a lock-down of domestic offices, as in Season 1 Mason locked down CTU: Los Angeles on the authority of District Office.
Division Command oversees the Domestic Units in a given region. Division can order a lock-down, which halts all operations within a unit.
CTU Domestic Units are similar to FBI Field Offices, covering operations within a single city or metropolitan area. Domestic Units report directly to Division Command, but are also subject to evaluation and interference from District. The following is a list of known Domestic Units:
- CTU Los Angeles: CTU Los Angeles has averted several large-scale terrorist attacks.
- CTU Austin: Mentioned by Tony Almeida during Day 3. He was being tested by Ryan Chappelle to prove he was competent after being shot earlier in the day. One part of the computer monitor Chappelle had asked him to repeat back to him was an all clear sign from this branch. (Day 3 9:00pm-10:00pm)
- CTU Boston: Curtis Manning originally worked at CTU Boston.
- CTU Chicago: Around 7:50am in Day 6 7:00am-8:00am CTU Chicago responded to the hotel bomb
- CTU Denver: Secured a vial of the Cordilla Virus. (conjecture) (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm). Milo Pressman and Mike Doyle originally worked at.
- CTU Detroit: Nadia Yassir originally worked at CTU Detroit.
- CTU Fairbanks: Helped Jack Bauer run a sting operation on an eco-terrorism group in the graphic novel Midnight Sun.
- CTU Las Vegas: Found a vial of the Cordilla Virus. (conjecture) (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm)
- CTU Miami: George Mason once worked at CTU Miami.
- CTU New Orleans: Jack Bauer contacted CTU New Orleans in order to check into the sudden disappearance of Robert Ellis, who was murdered during a telephone conversation with Jack and David Palmer.
- CTU New York: Found a vial of the Cordilla Virus along with the New York Police Department. The vial was attached to a railing but was defused. (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm)
- CTU Phoenix: Secured a vial of the Cordilla Virus. (conjecture) (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm) CTU Phoenix also sent a helicopter to back up Jack Bauer in the graphic novel One Shot.
- CTU San Diego: Howard Bern was sent to CTU San Diego to create an alibi after raiding the Chinese Consulate and being identified on surveillance film. (Day 4 2:00am-3:00am). During the events of Day 2 CTU San Diego loaned one of their best analysts, Randy Murdoch, to CTU Los Angeles to help in the effort to locate the nuclear bomb.
- CTU San Francisco: Found a vial of the Cordilla Virus. (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm) CTU San Francisco also had the closest first-tier Jane Saunders lookalike. A close nuclear target in (Day 6 8:00pm-9:00pm)
- CTU Seattle: Found a vial of the Cordilla Virus. (conjecture) (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm) Bill Buchanan and Michelle Dessler worked together at CTU Seattle. This unit also held Abu Fayed in custody as a detainee 14 months prior to Day 6.
- CTU Washington: Found two vials of the Cordilla Virus. (Day 3 11:00am-12:00pm) Alberta Green transferred to CTU Washington after the events of Day 1. (FaCTU) According to 24: The Game, Chase Edmunds and Chloe O'Brian also worked at CTU Washington before transferring to CTU Los Angeles.
Note: Phoenix is only seen on screen and not mentioned. For Las Vegas, Denver, and Phoenix, it is not stated explicitly that a Domestic CTU Unit found the vials of the virus. However, since these are large U.S. cities, it makes sense that each would have a domestic unit.
In Season 4 an "old CTU Substation" is mentioned. The CTU substations presumably are the rough equivalent of FBI R.A's, in that they are small offices covering areas of less population than the Domestic Units, which cover major cities. The CTU agents who assisted Jack Bauer in bringing in Jane Saunders were possibly part of the CTU Substation covering Santa Barbara. The Substations presumably report to District and Division Commands.
Background information and notes
- While there is no Counter Terrorist Unit in real life, the United States Department of Defense created the Counterintelligence Field Activity Agency in 2002, designed to investigate and repel terrorism within the United States and its interests. Another counterterrorism organization, the National Counterterrorism Center, was established in 2003.
- In the 2004 film The Punisher, one of Frank Castle's first jobs was an agent for CTU. Likewise, a CTU agent by the name of Lee Castle is featured in 24.