Terrorism and Policy Thesis

Pages: 5 (1564 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Terrorism and Policy: An Examination of the Federal Policy Changes Since 9/11

The objective of this work is to summarize the federal policy changes that resulted from the tragic events of September 1, 2001. This work will examine Homeland Security National Strategy and the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act in conducting an analysis of contemporary crime control policies.

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TOPIC: Thesis on Terrorism and Policy Assignment

The National Strategy for Homeland Security, published by the Office of Homeland Security in July 2002 states as Homeland Security 'strategic objectives' the following: (1) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; (2) Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism; and (3) Minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur. It is related in this same publication that six major initiatives which have been identified for the effective reorientation of law enforcement organizations in their ability to "focus on counterterrorism objectives" are the following: (1) Improve intergovernmental law enforcement coordination; (2) Facilitate apprehension of potential terrorists; (3) Continue ongoing investigations and prosecutions; (4) Complete FBI restructuring to emphasize prevention of terrorist attacks; (5) Target and attack terrorist financing; and (6) Track foreign terrorists and bring them to justice. (2002) Stated in the National Strategy for Homeland Security is the importance of protection of critical infrastructure and key assets in the United States and because "...the modern way of life are dependent on networks of infrastructure - both physical networks such as our energy and transportation systems and virtual networks such as the Internet." (2002) the National Strategy for Homeland Security has identified eight primary initiatives for protection of infrastructure and key assets which includes the following: (1) Unify America's infrastructure protection effort in the Department of Homeland Security; (2) Build and maintain a complete and accurate assessment of America's critical infrastructure and key assets; (3) Enable effective partnership with state and local governments and the private sector; (4) Develop a national infrastructure protection plan; (5) Secure cyberspace; (6) Harness the best analytic modeling tools to develop effective protective solutions; (7) Guard America's critical infrastructure and key assets against 'inside' threats; and (8) Partner with the international community to protect our transnational infrastructure. (2002)


The U.S. Department of Justice states that the changes in its federal state and local efforts since September 11, 2001 includes the use of the full range of available statutes to "disrupt terrorist threats through prosecution. The statutes contained in 18 USC 2339 a, B & C. have formed a critical component of the Department's overall terrorist prosecutorial efforts, allowing prosecutors to target the provision of support, resources, and other assistance to terrorist and to intervene during early stages of terrorist planning." (USDOJ, 2008) Additionally, the USDOJ states that it has had success in disruption of terrorist activity through use of other criminal statutes, which include the following:

18 USC 2332b (terrorism transcending national boundaries), 18 USC 2332a (use of weapons of mass destruction), 18 USC 2332 (terrorist acts abroad, including murder, against U.S. nationals), 18 U.S.C. 1203 (hostage taking), 18 USC 844, 922 and 924 (explosives offenses), and 18 USC 956 (conspiracy to murder, kidnap, or maim persons or to damage property overseas). (USDOJ, 2008)

The U.S. Department of Justice and its "component agencies have fundamentally restructure their operations to better address national security threats and prevent terrorist attacks." (USDOJ, 2008) Major structural reforms are stated to include those as follows: (1) FBI: Transformed more than ever in U.S. history for better detection, penetration and dismantling of terrorist enterprises in what is described as a "culture shift to threat-driven intelligence and law enforcement..." Steps taken include: (a) overhauling of counterterrorism operations; (b) expansion f intelligence capabilities; - modernization of business practices and technology; and - improvement of coordination between partners. (USDOJ, 2008) Significant adjustments include: (i) establishment of clear priorities that have prevention as the emphasis combined with "ensuring the protection of privacy rights and civil liberties; (ii) realignment of the organizational structure of the FBI's budget; (iii) approximate doubling of the budget between FY2001 and FY2008; (iv) establishment of a great number of operational units with the provision of capabilities that are new or improved in addressing the threat of terrorism and inclusive of the 24/7 Counterterrorism Watch, the Terrorism Financing Counterterrorism Analysis Section; (2) Creation of the Justice Department - National Security Division: This division is stated to have "...together the former Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, the Counterterrorism Section and the Counterespionage Section from separate parts of the Department. The new Office of Law and Policy, the Executive Office and the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism have completed the NSD" (USDOJ, 2008) Included in the achievement of this division are the following:

Improved coordination between prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, on one hand, and intelligence attorneys and the Intelligence Community, on the other, to strengthen the effectiveness of the government's counter-terror efforts.

Created a new Office of Intelligence to handle dramatically increased FISA workload, to better coordinate FISA litigation and to improve national security and intelligence oversight.

Created a new Office of Law and Policy to harmonize national security legal and policy functions for the entire Department.

Launched a comprehensive oversight initiative to ensure national security investigations comply with the nation's laws, rules and regulations, including privacy interests and civil liberties.

Promoted a coordinated national counterterrorism enforcement program through collaboration with Department leadership, the FBI, the Intelligence Community and U.S. Attorneys' Offices

Processed record numbers of applications for electronic surveillance or physical search authority submitted to the FISA Court, including 2,371 applications in 2007, compared to 932 in 2001.

Provided critical prosecutorial support to the Military Commission prosecutions of high-value detainees suspected of involvement in the 9/11 attacks and other non-high value detainees.

3) Third is the updating of guidelines for investigation of terrorism including: (a) revision of Attorney General Guidelines for FBI criminal investigations in 2002; (b) overhaul of the new Attorney General Guidelines for FBI National Security Investigations and Foreign Intelligence Collection in 2003; - consolidation of Attorney General Guidelines for FBI activities and consulting with Congress on the scope of these guidelines; and (4) new consolidated guidelines aim to "eliminate arbitrary differences in the standards and procedures that currently apply to an FBI activity based on how it is characterized. (USDOJ, 2008) Also important is the 'Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 which was signed into law by the President July 10, 2008 and which is "landmark legislation" stated to have brought modernization to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This act: (i) Ensures that the Intelligence Community has the tools it needs to determine who terrorists are communicating with, what they are saying and what they are planning; (ii) Provides critical authority for the Intelligence Community to acquire foreign intelligence information by targeting foreign persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States; (iii) Preserves and provides new civil liberties protections for Americans; (iv) Requires court orders to target Americans for foreign intelligence surveillance no matter where they are and requires court review of the procedures used to protect information about Americans; and (v) Provides critical liability protections for companies whose assistance is necessary to protect the country from terrorist threats. (USDOJ, 2008)


The USA Patriot Act was first signed into law in 2001 enables law enforcement in identification, dismantling and disruption of the plots of terrorists. These laws are stated to have assisted law enforcement agencies as well as intelligence agencies in the protection of the United States in the following ways: (1) Helped bring down the "wall" that prevented effective information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence personnel; (2) Allowed federal agents to better track sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection and gave national security investigators tools comparable to those used in criminal cases; (3) Updated investigative tools to reflect… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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