Term Paper: DOJ Policy Changes

Pages: 10 (3268 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Growing pains should be expected and the blows suffered on 9/11 by our nation are still not fully healed. The terrorist attacks that occurred revealed the structural weaknesses within the criminal justice system and ironically these holes were exploited literally and figuratively. Law enforcement officials and professionals swear oaths to protect and defend and its usually best when politics is not overly saturated within these confines. They hyper-political and divisive nature of American culture in today's world is no doubt an echo of the structural deficiencies that were present over a decade ago and this presents challenges in creating a balanced and effective approach. Trial an error must be accepted as a means to survey this new landscape that is present in this post 9/11 world and the importance of faith in leadership and intelligence can greatly assist in this process of change.

Legal Changes

Legislation is an important ingredient in the recipe to fight terror and keep a peaceful homeland. The DOJ's role in enforcing these laws have are integral and require open and clear communication between the different branches of government. Words and phrases are very important in deciphering what the role of law enforcement agencies actually is and presents a manner to which information may be shared and completely understood.

The most impactful form of legislature that has been developed since the attacks on 9/11 is the U.S.A. Patriot Act of 2001 and its amended sequel, the U.S.A. Patriot Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005. This federal piece of legislature essentially changed the legal system at its core as new powers were granted to certain areas of law enforcement that were previously unavailable. Like any newly acquired power, the danger of opening a Pandora's box has proven to be real and significant as well. This legal modification, however has allowed the forces of justice to be carried out in a new and novel means that not all agree with.

Baginski (2005) elaborated to Congress on some of the results that were seen early on with the Patriot Act. "the information sharing provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act are vital to our national security. Allowing these provisions to sunset would be inconsistent with the spirit of the recently enacted Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which included many provisions designed to enhance information sharing within the federal government. Provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act are critical to implementing the Congressional mandate for an "information sharing environment." Section 203(b) of the U.S.A. Patriot Act specifically authorizes the sharing of foreign intelligence information obtained in a Title III electronic surveillance with other federal officials, including intelligence officers and national security officials, such as DHS and DOD officials. Section 203(d) specifically authorizes the sharing of foreign intelligence information collected in a criminal investigation with intelligence officials. Allowing either of these provisions to sunset could seriously damage our information sharing and coordination efforts with the CIA, other intelligence agencies, and even internally between criminal and intelligence investigations."

Another important legislative change that has occurred since the attacks of 9/11 is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 and then again in 2012. This was a revaluation and alteration of the previous FISA law enacted in 1978 years earlier. Congress had passed this act in order to broaden the criminal justice organizations' abilities to gather intelligence in a more responsive and efficient manner. This policy change was designed to ensure that the intelligence community had all the necessary tools to gather and disseminate information while still protecting the civil rights of Americans. This is no doubt one of the more controversial changes that has occurred and has sparked debate about its effectiveness.

Liu (2013) described this transformation as " reauthorizations of expiring provisions of FISA have been an annual occurrence in Congress since 2009. Prior to 2012, the legislative debate and reauthorizations largely dealt with three amendments to FISA. Most recently, in 2011, these three provisions were extended until June 1, 2015."

FISA adjustments have put panic into those who wish to safeguard the privacy rights of Americans as many of these involvements are threatening to this right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Critics have been vocal about how individual rights are systematically trampled upon due to overzealousness or unreliable intelligence. Blumenthal (2013) argued that "FISA court judges decide whether the government can tap phone calls, access business records and sweep up a wide array of data that can be used to map the contours of our daily lives. After the court rules, its findings are almost never made public. Americans whose privacy may be compromised by FISA court rulings cannot read those rulings, much less contest or appeal them. The FISA court serves a critical purpose in our national security apparatus, ensuring timely consideration of surveillance requests when seconds matter most. But the court in its current form -- unaccountable, secretive, one-sided -- is broken. It not only lacks any genuine transparency and accountability, but it also deprives the entire system of trust and credibility in the eyes of the American people."

Partnering and Cooperation

The problems revealed on the 9/11 attacks suggested that a broader, and more involved approach may need to be generally practiced alongside other, more traditional methods. By seeking the involvement of other entities including the American people, Muslim populations and foreign governments, the law enforcement community has widened its reach to help solve the many problems that accompany such counterterrorism efforts.

The need to ensure that American citizens' rights are not being violated has become an important change in the way that justice is carried out. The DOJ must strive to be a model for the benchmarks and principles that makes America a free country worth saving and defending. The Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Attorney's Offices have taken hate crime and hate speech as new means of protecting individuals rights. Also Muslims and other potential terrorist suspect groups have also been afforded special anti-discriminatory provisions.

Looking beyond the borders of America has also been a new practice that has been implemented over the years since the attacks on 9/11. Coordinating with counterparts in other parts of the world has yielded significant results and has proven to be an effective and efficient mode of tackling counterterrorism by cooperating and trusting other sources of information that have not been traditionally been used.

Recommendations

In order to help understand the changes that have been demonstrated related to counterterrorism over the past 13 years, certain Recommendations are offered to help contextualize and rationalize the situation and provide realistic and helpful objectives that can be used to guide and steer the argument in the right direction.

Balance is Key

In any endeavor in life taking a balanced and focused approach will serve that person or organization well. The DOJ must not forget that they have a tough responsibility of balancing the political factors of the Executive while protecting and serving the rights of the American citizens. Media distortions, aside, it is up to the leaders within the organization to realize their responsibility to achieving and maintaining this balance. The pressures that have come with the threat of terrorism has made this alignment difficult but not impossible. It is recommended that the true principles of the U.S. Constitution serve as the map to the correct decisions in finding this balance.

Quality vs. Quantity

The temptation to simply throw more resources at a problem without any real aim or purpose is real and dangerous. Law enforcement officials who have been granted access to new resources must not wantonly waste or misappropriate this energy without good reason. While the results of the fateful attacks proved that there was a significant dearth of resources applied to our security, it is also important not to over-correct the problem and ignore what actually needs to be done. More people, more technology and more resources may allow for justice officials to do more, but if these actions are not properly aligned with a grander strategy, much will be lost in the process.

Continue Cooperation

One of the most pleasing aspects about the growth and evolution of the criminal justice policies since 9/11 is the spirit of cooperation. This practice of unification, while certainly not mastered, has allowed for law enforcement agencies to make great strides in their abilities to counter terror. This trend should be continued and reinforced by leaders within the community who can demonstrate personally how this action can be performed. The volatile political environment that is present in today's society will require leaders to do unpopular things like ignoring their pride and individual efforts for larger more important benefits that stand to serve the collective.

Efficient Employment of Technology

Modern technology has also proven to be… [END OF PREVIEW]

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DOJ Policy Changes.  (2014, April 15).  Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/doj-policy-changes/1994594

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