What is terrorism? Often times, people use the word terrorism without ever understanding the true meaning of the word. Defining terrorism can be difficult, indeed, but, not impossible. It was quite easy to define it when that tragic event occurred on September 11, 2001. The majority of the United States agreed to fight terrorism shortly after 9/11. Terrorism has been both a motivation and a fear for the people in America. People did not realize the impact terrorism would have on the privacy of their lives and at the time of 9/11, no one cared.
The number one oal of countering terrorism at the time of the attack was protecting the citizens of the United States, and that goal hasn’t changed. However, the lengths the government is taking to counter terrorism are becoming more and more dangerous to the rights of the citizens of the United States of America. This paper will focus on issues occurring today as a result of terrorism. The status of America versus other nations regarding countering terrorism, the rights given up by the citizens of America, the pros and cons of interagency cooperation, and the roles that law enforcement play in securing the homeland.
COUNTER) TERRORISM It is no secret that the United States has a plethora of policies concerning the security of Americans. It is also no secret that terrorism has had a great influence on those security policies within the United States. Before one can focus on the negative effects that terrorism has on these policies, one must first define terrorism. The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (FBI, 2015).
The FBI believes that any person or group of persons attempting to “intimidate or coerce” other individuals to follow their beliefs and objectives are terrorists. After 9/11, the United States found terrorism to be a momentous issue because of the lives that terrorism can take away. However, most people fail to realize that there was a lengthy history of terrorism way before the September 11, 2001 attacks; including attacks at sites such as the World Trade Center.
America is not the only country that faces issues regarding terrorism; but what are other nations doing to protect themselves? Is America behind in fighting terrorism compared to other countries? The British government is very precise about what they believe to be terrorism. They defined it as “any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public. in fear” (Lacayo, Richard). The United States government is not behind in the fight against terrorism, rather, Americans are the unprepared. Other nations have had a surplus of experience dealing with terrorism compared to Americans.
The goal of terrorism, even everywhere, is to have people follow. And it is easier to lead the blind than those who are awake. Americans are ignorant when it comes to terrorism and easily swayed. Perhaps we should follow after nations such as, Northern Ireland, Italy, or Israel whom put in policies related to the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions Act). These policies they put in place outlaw violent terrorist groups and put great pressure on the innumerable groups that support and protect terrorists.
These type of policies focus on the internal aspect of terrorism, whereas, America focuses mainly on the outcome of terrorist acts. The goals of many nations in regards o countering terrorism is reducing or obliterating terrorism in its entirety. The other issues in the nation such as, racism, and social injustices sometimes effect where America stands in the fight against terrorism. The reason why other nations might be more successful than America at countering terrorism is because other nations don’t have the freedom that Americans possess.
There is a very thin line between counter-terrorism and invasion of privacy and American have a hard time choosing whether they want their freedom or protection. Terrorism is an issue that all governments share. There is an argument whether terrorism is a crime issue; nonetheless, there are numerous terrorist crime groups in the United States. While media portrays a sense of unity within the United States fighting terrorism, there are not many areas committed to these strategies.
The problem is the people in America do not feel protected by law enforcement, or the laws put in place to deter terrorism. Implementations such as face scanners and the extra security at airports discourage people to fight against terrorism if it means giving up their personal freedoms. For example, most eople want/need protection against terrorist attacks, yet when the Transportation Security Administration applied the body scanners at the airports, there was uproar about the breach of privacy to American citizens.
The issue with privacy in America stems from the roots of the government covering up lies consistently. Most often the government fine-tunes laws in order to justify conducting unconstitutional surveillance on Americans. In 2001, George Bush implemented the USA Patriot Act. “The U. S. A. Patriot Act is an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required o Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. ” The 320-page act was passed only days after the September 11th attacks. This incredibly short timeframe alone has raised numerous eyebrows.
Since the passing of the Patriot Act, over 150 communities denounced it as an attack on civil liberties. The most infamous part of the act, in terms of generating protest and lawsuits, has been Section 215, which allows for the scrutiny of “any tangible thing. ” The problem here is that “thing” includes everything – books, records, papers, and documents can all be searched” (Graves, 2009). In many ways, the Patriot Act nterferes with the 4th amendment, which protects Americans from unlawful search and seizure.
There needs to be a focus on constituting laws that balance the criteria between freedom and protection. And we cannot allow the government to be the only organization thinking of programs in reference to the fight against terrorism. And yet, we cannot allow private organizations to freely invade the privacy of American citizens. “In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most observers conclude that the United States Intelligence Community and the law enforcement agencies need o share more information” (AFCEA, 2007).
There is actually a great issue occurring between jurisdictions (federal, state, and local) when it comes to complying with some laws. The cohesiveness between organizations such as law enforcement and other organizations working for the government was non- existent and the attack on the world trade center was proof. There was no excuse for why the government was under surprise attack with all the implements they had to expect such a catastrophe. But, it is not an easy task to have better communication between agencies.
There are no direct easures being applied to these federal, local, or state agencies to force them to begin to distribute information between each other. Arrick L. Jackson and Michael Brown are two criminal justice professors wrote a paper concerning Led Policing (ILP) Paradigm, which is an advanced intelligence device. They explained, “While there is consensus on the need for better intra- and interagency cooperation among law enforcement agencies to prevent future attacks on the USA, there is a debate over the best approach to implementing paradigmatic change at the local level” (Brown, 2007).