As worldwide terrorism continues to grow, and the need for even tighter security increases, we are constantly reminded through public announcements and signs to be on the alert for suspicious packages or luggage left unattended in public places. DO NOT TOUCH THEM, LEAVE THE AREA, and REPORT THE ITEM TO SECURITY PERSONNEL IMMEDIATELY we are told. Unfortunately, after the Jewell affair, the majority opinion of people seems to be that they will follow the first two instructions, and IGNORE the last about notifying security personnel; it appears that NO ONE wants to be the person that points out a potential bomb, lest they become the initial suspect of law enforcement, to be treated in the same manner as Richard Jewell.
The 9/11 terror attacks is one of the historical and fatal events that changed the United States of America forever, especially in relation to terrorists and terrorism. While these concepts were on the minds of very few people in America's population before the attacks, the 9/11 incident made terrorism to become one of the major concerns for the whole nation. This is despite of the fact that they were carried out in New York City, Washington, and parts of Pennsylvania. Since it was a major concern, the terror attacks dominated all kinds of media and contributed to increased security measures for average Americans. Moreover, terrorism currently provides a major threat to global security that any time in American and global history (Dyson, 2001, p.3). As a result, it has become a fundamental aspect for law enforcement agencies and their initiatives, particularly with the rapid technological advancements.
There was a possible security threat regarding a tractor-trailer that occurred in Times Square in New York City. The New York Police Department issued an advisory that a possibly dangerous tractor-trailer had deviated from its original course and was headed towards Times Square after being paid $10,000. After proper communication and information was shared between the New York Police Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Rhode Island Fusion Center, Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, and the Connecticut Intelligence Center, the Connecticut State Police was able to intercept the vehicle and determined it was not a threat. It only took three hours from the time the New York Police Department issued an advisory to the time that the Connecticut State Police stopped the vehicle and determined it posed no threat to the public (5). Even though the truck was not a threat, this was a great example of proper communication, fusing of information, teamwork, and dissemination of information to counter a possible terrorist attack.
Clay Dillow’s October 2015 article in Popular Science “To Catch a Bombmaker” explores how FBI forensic skills have been developed since 2003 to benefit United States forces fighting bomb making foreign insurgents. Dillow tells the story of how a small lab at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico has used FBI analytical data to link more than 2,700 suspects to possible terrorist activities, adding more than 350 people to the terrorist watch list. Dillow’s purpose was to reveal how detective skills have evolved to address a growing number of homemade bombs threats to the United States. While the article examines many one case in which insurgents are nabbed, information is not shared on how forensic data alone may not be enough to tell a more balanced story about bomb makers. Dillow writes an article of how one bomber is stopped, but the narrative falls short of offering a deeper account of how effective our efforts have been to stop terrorists in their tracks.
The key question he presented was whether or not the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) was capable of making a difference and finding those who were responsible for insurgent outbreaks. Dillow carefully covered each aspect that answered this one question and did not rely on his own point of view to strengthen the article. Multiple facts were given to supported his argument along with quotes from experts, such as Greg Carl and Tim Beam, who held important FBI positions. Carl stated, “Up until TEDAC, the Department of Defense didn't understand the
Roughly 2,753 people were killed on September 11, 2001, by terrorists who overtook commercial airplanes (Jones). The cause of these thousands of deaths were a series of attacks in New York City by an Islamic terrorist group, Al-Qaeda. However, there are still many questions about what actually happened the morning of September 11, 2001. As there are many different conspiracy theories about what happened that day, 9/11 was an attack which began with Al- Qaeda hi-jacking airplanes, but ended with more questions than answers. Many questions still remain about the authenticity of cell phone calls from inside the planes, why air defense was told to “stand down,” and how three buildings imploded as the result of two buildings being struck by airplanes.
Beginning in 2001 Intelligence about the impending nature of an attack was increasing, not only from US Intelligence sources but also from 11 other countries such as Britain, Israel, India, Egypt, Morocco and even a top Taliban commander from Afghanistan (Thompson.) Beginning in August warnings become coming in from everywhere, foreign governments, CIA and FBI sources and so on however, next to none of this information was shared between the many intelligence agencies. In April, NORAD launched a training scenario in which the pentagon was to be incapacitated by a hijacked airliner however the Joint Chiefs of Staff disregarded the scenario as “too unrealistic” (September 11 attacks advance-knowledge debate.) On august 19th the Israeli’s gave US intelligence personnel credible information including, the list of 19 suspected terrorist’s names and the fact that a large aircraft would be the primary weapon involved. The names were not shared by the CIA with other intelligence agencies (Robinson.)
By disregarding cues of possible terrorist attacks and constant mistakes within the American Intelligence for not planning ahead, the United States failed to achieve its number one goal as a governing body: not keeping its citizens safe. It is important to dig into the issue of the disaster of 9/11 and completely understand the reason for failed prevention efforts. Moreover adding to these issues was the lack of communication and information shared between the two agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Central Intelligence Agency.
Two of the important aspects that’s caused the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to take place was the lack of communication between the FBI, CIA and other various government bodies and pointless bureaucratic standoffs that handicapped counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the United States underestimated the power of al-Qaeda. Prior to 9/11 the United States were aware of multiple threats and events that had taken place, but the lack of communication between departments made it imposable to know that al-Qaeda was planning an attack on US soil. In July 1998, after kidnapping Ahmed Salama Mabruk and another member or jihad the CIA cloned a laptop computer, which contained al-Qaeda organization charts and a roster of Jihad members, but
Linstrom’s arguments support his main point stressing firefighters must change their normal routine and think like terrorists to be in the right state of mind to combat potential attacks. One of the biggest threats that first responders face during an incident is potential collapses or the threat of secondary improvised explosive devices (Linstrom, 2004). In the event of an attack by WMD’s, firefighters and law enforcement will find themselves working side-by-side in the “hot zone”, which is the contaminated area, conducting rescues, triage, and decontamination of victims. To assist firefighters with remembering the contributing agents that are associated in a WMD event, the acronym B-NICE has been established. B-NICE stands for: biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical, and explosives (Linstrom, 2004). As a result of their training, firefighters are already reasonably versed when it comes to dealing with explosives and incendiary devices, but lack the training and knowledge of dealing with WMD’s. Mr. Linstrom supports his main point with the evidence highlighting the fact that government buildings, historic monuments, churches, sporting events, transit stations, and malls are elevated targets of terrorist attacks due to their symbolism or the fact that they draw large crowds of people (Linstrom,
The United States Intelligence community draws on advanced technology and analytical techniques. An intelligence process that sets objectives, collects, analyzes, and report findings, with feedback loops integrated throughout. Explicitly, the intelligence community advantages technology and tradecraft within a proscribed process. However, estimation of threats and decision-making are outcomes of human thinking. Analysts and policymakers create mental models, or short cuts to manage complex, changing environments. In other words, to make sense of ambiguous or uncertain situations, humans form cognitive biases. Informed because of personal experience, education, and specifically applied to intelligence analysis, Davis
If you had that one piece of the puzzle that would have prevented the bombings of the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon on September 11 2001 would you know it? If you saw someone do something weird or suspicious before the attack on September 11 2001, would you have called the police? If someone had walked into a United States Embassy in a foreign country and said that they know someone was going to use a plane to destroy New York in two days, could this have stopped the attack? Intelligence Analysis puts the raw sources of information together, make predictions based on the data, and finally publish the results.
Vital to this are on-going threat assessments. Effective threat assessment is the need for abundant, timely and useable intelligence, about potential terrorist sponsors, perpetrators, activities and targets, as well as intelligence to guide our prevention and preparation activities and programs. Despite the transnational nature of many terrorist groups, challenges to integrating foreign intelligence with domestic law enforcement information remains.