What are the Limits of Power of the FBI in Pursuing Surveillance of Potential Terrorists within and without the U.S.?
The role of FBI initially placed operational restriction on its role of collecting, and using intelligence information obtained to prevent terroristic attacks. After receiving crucial intelligence information regarding terror attacks, the FBI is tasked with arresting the suspects and then carry out detailed analysis of the intelligence data. This poses threat assessments and not risk assessments, hence placing limits to FBI. Alexander and Kraft (2008) noted that “FBI agents are perturbed as a result of organizational limitations which hinder their capacity to fight terror within and outside United States” (p. 241). Research shows that their investigation mandate level is a major contribution to this limitation and as a result the obligations prevent them from dealing with terror detectives. Tsai (2014) noted that over time FBI states that its law enforcement role placed limitation in pursuing surveillance and on its collection and use of intelligence data of specific domestic and overseas terrorist groups (p. 2).
The FBI has historically been a law enforcement agency and, therefore, the intelligence function is of low priority. The FBI fails to collect surveillance information relevant to counterterrorism. Research shows that the FBI does not disseminate what limited surveillance information it collects, either within or outside of the FBI (Tsai, 2014). FBI faces countless restrictions and close political scrutiny on its counterterrorism functions (Byman, 2008). Before 9/11, the FBI was primarily a law enforcement agency, which focused on persecuting cases, not undertaking a broad network of surveillance. Byman (2008) noted that FBI emphasized on gathering specific evidence, not collecting and sharing relevant information. Given this organizational ethos, it is not surprising that terrorism was viewed as a criminal matter and treated accordingly.
In your View, is the FBI Adequately Organized, Staffed, and Trained to Perform the Myriad of Missions Tasked?
After 9/11, FBI has been transformed from a law enforcement organization into an entity more focused on preventing attacks and gathering intelligence. Resources devoted to counterterrorism are now considerable and the FBI has made major institutional changes to centralize its work on the fight against terrorism to prevent some of the problems that plagued it before 9/11. The agency has more than 120 joint terrorism task forces, more than double the number it had on 9/11. At a time when increasing attention arguably should be focused on terrorist funding, Congress has provided adequate resources in this area. May, Jochim & Sapotichne (2011) noted that “FBI has provided appropriate level of management attention to its staff. FBI has appointed an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASACs) in each field office whose sole responsibility is intelligence activities within each field office” (p. 289).
The attorney general and the director of FBI have placed preventing terrorist attacks as the FBI’s top priority. FBI changes include increasing the number of staff, analyzing intelligence and hiring applicants with specialized expertise, including foreign language capability, computer skills, and science and engineering backgrounds. Caforio (2008) noted that FBI efforts to fight terrorism is managed by Counterterrorism Division at the FBI headquarters and emphasized at every field office, resident agency and Legat. FBI Counterterrorism Division is adequately staffed to collect, analyze and share information and critical intelligence with various federal agencies and departments, including CIA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The FBI has transferred about 500 agents from their previous positions as crime investigators to serve in terror investigation. This restructuring meant to orchestrate the US war against terrorism has not only impacted its domestic affairs, but helped to combat terrorism on the global arena.
Based on the Readings and your Research, what is the Status of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2011 and Resultant Action on the Key Divisive Issues?
The United States PIRA (Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act) of 2011 introduced on February 3rd 2011 were not enacted. The act somewhat constricted the condition under which an order for roaming watch may be issued. The act, if passed, might have specified power a roaming surveillance of an overseas authority or agent under FISA of 1978. Previously, it was evident to state in the request and categorizes the character of the target and, or else to embrace an explanation of the target. However, an order for roaming inspection still does not require the identification of the locality of each of the amenities or places at which the electronic surveillance will be directed (Ballin, 2012).
The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2011 authorizes the director of FBI to demand in appeal an enquiry to fabricate concrete proof for intelligence from other nation’s or terror survey from global sources. The roaming observation stipulation under FISA was at first projected to expire in 2005. This sunset stipulation was unmitigated by The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 to December 31st 2009. On February 27, 2010 the President signed the Act ‘to extend expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until February 28, 2011. The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2011 has also extended the permissible period for orders that authorize the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices to obtain foreign intelligence information that does not concern a US person from 90 days to one year.
Explain the Department of Homeland Security's Role in Combating Domestic Terrorism
According to Haynes (2004), the DHS primary goals include reducing the vulnerability of the country to terrorism at home and reduce the harm and assisting in the recuperation of citizens and affected departments after the attack (p. 368). The three main goals of DHS include thwarting terror assails in United States, reduction of the country’s susceptibility to terror and reducing the level of effects and helping in the recovery efforts after terror attacks. Haynes (2004) noted “that DHS has a key role in fighting domestic terrorism, especially with respect to its duties to conduct threat analysis and protect critical infrastructure” (p. 369). Regarding domestic terror groups, DHS analyzes the information to determine whether domestic groups possess the capability and intent to conduct a catastrophic attack on US critical infrastructure or resources.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) works with DHS to fight bioterrorism. May, Jochim, and Sapotichne (2011) indicate that “the two departments have contributed much to the nation’s readiness for combating bioterrorism related activities” (p. 301). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) links with DHS to fight terrorism (Lewis, 2000). Haynes (2004) noted that “the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is charged with coordinating data from nation’s primary intelligence gathering agencies provides domestic terrorism surveillance information of DHS” (p. 367). Lewis (2000) argued that “DHS manages who enters the country and works to prevent the entry of terrorists and the instruments of terrorism while simultaneously ensuring speedy flow of legitimate traffic” (p. 202). The DHS is also in charge of securing territorial waters, including ports and waterways.
Within DHS, the office in charge of the organizations budgetary allocations, expenses and accountability issues is known as Directorate for Management. FEMA works closely with the DHS to train citizens on hazard management and the process of recovering after national disasters. Within DHS is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) whose obligation is to secure the country’s transport system and infrastructure to enable free movement of people and smooth running of businesses. May, Jochim, and Sapotichne (2011) indicate that “the USA Cost Guard works within the DHS to protect the citizens, the environs, and United States business welfares around the country’s coastal ports and seas as well as maritime regions within United States and internationally along the major ports and waterways” (p. 303).
What Vulnerabilities would a Terrorist See Based on your Answers to the above Four Questions?
Vulnerability is a physical feature or operational attribute that renders an entity, asset, system, network, or geographic area open to exploitation of susceptible to a given hazard. The vulnerabilities include the inability to share and use existing intelligence information, lack of strategic coordination of resources among those agencies responsible for the nation’s security (Lewis, 2000). There is also lack of technical preparedness for the kinds of weapons likely to be used by terrorists (Malisow, 2008). Vulnerabilities result from competition and administrative barriers among these agencies create a security system that is loosely coupled that is incapable of adequately meeting national security needs.
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Failure to clearly identify goals, values, and expectations guiding the development of an intervention spells security vulnerabilities that are exploited by terrorists. Inadequate analysis and assessment of information within intelligence and law enforcement organizations such as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prevents optimum cooperation (Lewis, 2000), thus posing security threats. This causes vulnerabilities because FBI may not have the ability to connect information between its field agents that may uncover the terrorists plot. Airport security personnel may fail to detect the simple but deadly, box cutters that attackers may exploit as weak spots (Malisow, 2008). Bureaucratic difficulties keep different law enforcement and spy groups from sharing information with each other, resulting to vulnerabilities. For example CIA is only supposed to act outside the borders of America, so that is does not spy on American citizens even by accident (Lewis, 2000). The conflicts between CIA, FBI, Defense Security Services (DSS), the National Security Agency (NSA) and many other groups result to security vulnerabilities that are exploited by terrorists.