Examining The Effective Counter Terrorism Policy Criminology Essay


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For almost 250 years the counter terrorism policy of the United States has proved effective. The use and threat of international terrorism has always been considered a foreign and domestic security threat. The 1990s saw an increase in international terrorism with the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole, and the World Trade Center in 1993, and the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 (Perl CRS summary). The country also witnessed a homegrown attack in 1998 when Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb in Oklahoma City killing 168 individuals. These attacks should have been a wake-up call to those in charge of the intelligence community. On September 11, 2001 the world served as a witness to the ineffective counter terrorism measures employed by the United States prior to that time. The United States was plunged into a war against a faceless enemy and was left scrambling to correct antiquated policies of the past. This attack helped to bring the issue of terrorism to the forefront of American interest and focused the nations attention on the often forgotten subject of international and domestic terrorism. But one big question remains unanswered; Is the United States capable of effectively dealing with state- sponsored and homegrown terrorism?

Before we begin to discuss the effectiveness of the U.S. Counter terrorism policies, we should first define terrorism. Although there is not a universally accepted definition of terrorism, for our purposes we can define terrorism as an act or threat of some kind of violence against non-military personnel with the ultimate objective of influencing or intimidating the targeted population (Thetford 5). Using this single definition will allow us to include both international and domestic terrorism in one definition. As we found out after 9/11, the motivation for such attacks is not always a political one.

Counter terrorism can be defined as the policies and strategies that a government, military or intelligence agency implement to prevent or counter terrorism (Legal). Policy options include diplomacy, engagement of the enemy, economic sanctions, covert action, security enhancement and military force (Perl CRS summary).

Many indicators point to the fact that U.S. Policies and U.S. Intelligence organizations were ill -prepared for the devastating attacks that occurred in the 1990s and and made no corrections heading into the new millennium. When we look at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) distribution of tactical workload before and after the September 11 attacks, it becomes apparent how ineffective the counterterrorism measures were. During the fiscal year 1996, 48 % of the FBI workload was concentrated on criminal investigations while only 10 % was focused on counter terrorism. During fiscal year 2003, the numbers have been reversed with only 15 % of the workload being focused on criminal investigations and 43 % on counter terrorism. This includes an increase in counter terrorism agents as well as new technologies. Counter intelligence remained 42 % throughout this time frame (U.S. Report 19).

Counter terrorism is carried out by every governmental agency. The measures used often blur the lines between state borders, internal and international security and the differences between foreign and domestic policy because of the involvement of those in non law enforcement or defense roles. As a policy, it involves a range of specific policies, decisions, general guidelines, and observable state or nation's behavior. There are often two views on counter terrorism, 都oftor å¡-ard-liner. Soft measures often take the form of diplomacy, negotiation, and social reform. Hard-line strategies include the use of military force, and economic sanctions. These two categories are only applied to democratic societies where laws and policies often dictate a commitment to human and civil rights (Omelicheva 3-8). Totalitarian governments do not have restrictive laws and rarely feel obligated to observe any human rights concerns. They can use more extreme forms of interrogation and often use threats and violence when dealing with potential terrorists. They do not worry about collecting compelling evidence for a trial. They are known for tracking down terrorists any where in the world and eliminate them. Communist countries, such as the former Soviet Union and its eastern block nations, were more successful at preventing terrorists attacks than the NATO and western democracies (Lutz 2).

Democratic societies are assumed to be more inviting to terrorist activity due to the fact that they are often more politically open than their totalitarian counterparts. Democracies often spell out the protections of their citizens as well as the citizens of foreign nations in their policies and laws. They often have restrictions on investigations, surveillance, and weak control of their borders which makes it easier for exit and entry undetected. This was the case of the 9/11 hijackers who entered the U.S. through Canada. Even when an arrest occurs, there are usually strict limits on the amount of time a person can be held in detention, and how a person can be interrogated, and the use of a fair trial where the accused has the opportunity ti gain an acquittal if the evidence is weak. The use of a free press also provide an opportunity for the accused to spread their views to the public (Lutz 3).

On June 5,2000, the National Commission on Terrorism (NTC), a congressionally mandated bi-partisan body, issued a report providing a blueprint for U.S. Counterterrorism policy with both policy and legislative recommendations.

Discuss the use and effectiveness of counter terrorism measures by the United States

For almost 250 years the counter terrorism policy of the United States has proved effective. On September 11, 2001 all that changed and we became aware of the new threats facing the U.S. and the world. The United States was plunged into a war against a faceless opponent and was left scrambling to correct the antiquated policies of the past. This paper will discuss the effectiveness of the new information agencies; new laws and regulations; and the creation of a new sense of cooperation with our allies will assist us in bringing the fight directly to the terrorist.

I. Introduction - Thesis

II. Democracy and Terrorism

A. Counter Terrorism

B. Background and Issues

III. Counter Terrorism policies before 9/11

IV. Counter Terrorism policies after 9/11

A. The new face of terrorism

B. FBI response

C. Justice Department response

D. CIA response

E. Creation of the Terrorist Threat integration Center (TTIC)

V. Anti Terrorism Legislation

A. 18 USC 2332

B. USA Patriot Act (P.L. 107-56)

C. 18 USC 1203

D. 18 USC 2339

E. U.S. Vs U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297

VI. NATO and Counter Terrorism

A. European vision

B. American vision

C. Legal Aspects of fighting terrorism

VII. Effectiveness of the war on terrorism

A. Effectiveness in irregular warfare

B. Strategy research project

C. The future and U.S. Foreign Policy

Detention/ Secret Detention


Extraordinary Rendition

Fair Trials

Targeted Killing

D. European/ American vision

VIII. Conclusion

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