The project deals with changes in the federal law enforcement since 9/11 attacks. The opening paragraphs induct into the political microclimate of the early 2000s and the rationales behind the 2001 terrorist attacks. Further sections give insight into improvements and changes made by the Department of Justice, one of principal law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, its subordinate agency, and police. The paper reflects the opinion of prominent security experts, accomplished writers, and governmental officials.
Keywords: security, counterterrorism, attack, law, enforcement, bureau, police, justice
Being a big geopolitical player that it is, the USA has its economic and political interests in a good number of world countries, inclusive of those in the Middle East. To keep the line-up of forces in the world intact and keep the Muslim civilization from going global, it enlists the support of tributary states, conducts proxy and hybrid wars, and pursues the policy of cultural assimilation. A forced Westernization and military presence do not seem to fit too well into the vision and lifestyle of conservative Muslims who will not have their values and cultural legacy replaced by foreign substitutes. Thus, the most religiously devout zealots with the history of bad tolerance and extremist organization affiliation come to attack both internal and external targets, such as embassies, civil quarters, and governmental institutions, in a move that sends the message to the entire Western world of no intrusion being tolerated. The Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Persian Gulf War, and conflicts in Afghanistan, Korea, Kosovo, and Bosnia, to name but a few, get local groups angry and dissatisfied with the subsequent anarchy, economic disarray, or excessive intervention. It is these conflicts that caused terrorist organizations to emerge and target American military, civilian, and governmental targets, which inflicts both physical and human damage.
The entire American nation felt itself exposed in 2001, the year that Islamist hijackers crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center and the building of Pentagon leaving hundreds of people buried under the heaps of concrete and steel. The attacks claimed the lives of a total of 2000 civilians and rescuers who died trying to evacuate people from debris. Al Qaeda admitted responsibility for the attack, making their dissatisfaction heard. Never has the external force shaken the country to its very foundations that seriously. What happened sent shockwaves throughout the entire western world, changed the complexion of the American security system and pointed to its obvious flaws that resulted in what was a massive loss of life or mortality. At first, it sent experts fussing about in panic; still, the US authorities went reforming the law enforcement system to make a shift from a responsive to a preventive counterterrorism doctrine. That the Boston Bombings, the next resounding act of terror, had place some twelve years after the catastrophic events of 2001, shows the depth of reforms made in the wake of the 2001 national disaster.
According to Chase Gingerich and Adjunct Professor Gene Coyle (2013), Americans demanded that top power elites change the policy by focusing heavily on national security agencies that would deter terrorist from conducting attacks in future years. What became the most hackneyed mantra for all law enforcement agencies was intelligence sharing supervised by the Director of National Intelligence, a position formed in 2004 to make sure no valuable piece of knowledge goes unnoticed. The American Intelligence Community, or IC, has gone from being directionless and chaotic to being centralized and productive following New York and Washington 2001 attacks. If the IC had had interagency cooperation of today back there and then, intelligence services might have prevented the catastrophe, which means it has changed a great deal over the ten-year-plus period. Apart from information-sharing improvement, the agencies that shaped the national counterterrorism frame needed budgets enlarged. One of the reason the September attack had place, was budgetary cuts in the Post-Cold-War period, affecting the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA, or the National Security Agency. With no Soviet Union around any longer, no spending seemed necessary (Gingerich and Coyle, 2013).
Well-proportioned budget allocation is central to any national security system inasmuch as money is needed to conduct clandestine operations, gather intelligence, track terrorist, and take preventive measures. It was very illogical of the American government to curtail security expenses since the 1990s was the new round of the tacit war and the armament race, with Russia being a legitimate heir to the Soviet Empire. Besides much weakened Russia due to a mass privatization made by American counsellors in the Russian government, Asian countries were amassing nuclear stockpiles, and Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, traditional anti-American rivals, were strengthening their positions and recruiting new neophytes. American rivals soon made themselves known in the shape of Islamist terrorist cells that attacked, according to Holder, Robinson, and Rose (n.d.), the icons of American military and commercial power. Despite the involvement of state and federal agencies, the main responsibility rested with law enforcement organizations.
The US Department of Justice is one of the most important federal executive departments that includes the FBI among other law enforcement agencies. According to the United States Department of Justice (2011), national security efforts and changes made in the post-9/11 period demonstrate the degradation of the terrorist capability of inflicting damage and human losses on the USA. The Department of Justice has amended its ability of detecting, penetrating, and wrecking terrorist plots due to the series of fundamental structural reforms, the elaboration of law enforcement and intelligence instruments, and the creation of mentality that cultivates prevention and information exchange coupled with the protection of privacy interests and civil liberties. Not only the cooperation with law enforcement, military, and intelligence community collaborates, but also that with overseas partners has become a priority since the events of 2001. One of the main changes was in investigation and criminal prosecution. The department has taken advantage of the criminal justice system to press charges against terrorists and incarcerate them, with punishment for terrorism-related activities intensified. The accused now have no chance whatsoever of escaping federal custody.
Changes made in the Department of Justice and its subordinate, child agencies have enabled law enforcement officers to thwart the 2009 New York Subway Plot, the 2010 Times Square Plot, the 2010 Mumbai and Denmark Terror Plots, and the 2009 Al-Shabaab Terror Recruitment (the United States Department of Justice, 2011). There is no better way to deter terrorist from committing attacks than by showing the price of crime. Bigger prisons terms and efficient justice administration are the best deterrence tools. The United States Department of Justice (2011) suggested that changes have made the dispensation of justice more efficient, with radicalized legal permanent residents brought behind the bars for their attempts to provide logistical support for terrorist, apply the WMD, recruit associates abroad, facilitate terrorists, and threaten other residents. Michael Finton, Faaroque Ahmed, Daniel Boyd, Zachary Chesser, Colleen LaRose, and Hosam Smadi are among those indicted on the abovementioned charges. The Department of Justice has made a significant accent on the process of intelligence collection by developing the network of informants and cooperators to identify and bring the con-conspirators to justice.
The post-9/11 years saw structural changes implemented in the Department of Justice. In 2006, the organization launched the National Security Division to unite the primary national security components of the department into a single division in hopes of combating security threats more effectively. Multiple structural mergences and changes resulted in various accomplishments, such as the improved coordination between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and strengthened efficiency of counterterrorism efforts, reorganized and increased staffing for the Office of Intelligence, promoted and developed national program of counterterrorism enforcement that has produced numerous prosecutions. The Office of Intelligence has introduced amendments into three sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, authorizing surveillance and intelligence collection to detect the acts of espionage or terrorism, establishing cyber-security. NSD creation has also allowed lowering the FISA wall between law enforcement and intelligence investigations. The establishment and staffing of a new Office of Law and Policy has done a lot to harmonize national policy and security legal functions for the whole department and boost essential national security priorities, such as updating legislation, including that supporting cyber-security (the United States Department of Justice, 2011).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a subdivision of the US Department of Justice, which is a part of the law enforcement system. As such, the FBI has changed its attitude towards Al Qaeda terrorist, formerly recognized as being equal to ordinary criminals, as well as departing from the apprehension mentality, that is to say, they used to detain criminals after them committing crime before 2001. Richelson (2009) stated that the agency had embraced the strategy of penetration, long-term surveillance, and prevention (as cited in Gingerich and Coyle, 2013). Sulmacy (2011) suggested that the FBI made a fundamental shift from the apprehension to the proactive prevention mindset (as cited in Gingerich and Coyle, 2013). The main objective of the agency was protecting communities, children, business, electronic and physical infrastructure, economy and democracy from both internal and external foes and threats. Siegel and Worrall (2013) also claimed that the FBI has reformulated its priorities in the years following the attack, which became possible thanks to a coordinated intelligence gathering with the Secret Service, the Border Patrol, and the CIA. The Federal Bureau may be credited with collecting and accumulating crucial crime statistics, training local law enforcement officers, and establishing a comprehensive crime laboratory. Hess and Orthmann (2012) suggested that, unlike terrorist methods, FBI and other enforcement agencies’ approaches had changed. Indeed, the overriding priority of the agency became the protection of citizens from the assault of extremists. The FBI has made investigations, intelligence, and partnerships the main principles the better to address multi-jurisdictional, complex threats in a joint effort. The Federal Bureau has become the leading agency for responding to domestic terrorism at the federal level (Hess and Orthmann, 2012).
According to Gingerich and Coyle (2013), the FBI had many employees shifted from criminal programs to counterterrorism-related matters. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2012), the number of intelligence analysts rose to twice its pre-9/11 number, that of linguists increased by three times. Agents were assigned to cyber-terrorism departments (as cited in Gingerich and Coyle, 2013). The agency addressed the lack of intelligence through the Patriot Act signed on October 26, 2001, which enabled the FBI to share intelligence with such agencies as the CIA in a two-way cooperation. Another essential instrument the agency received in the 2000s was the application of National security Letters authorized by the Patriot Act. It is owing to these letters that the federal agency can demand information and records from companies, which reveals their customers’ identity, with the company not permitted to inform clients about the request. However, prior to issuing the letter, the FBI is to provide the reason for surveillance. After them not providing the reason of doing so a number of times over the years, they had certain organizations and individuals take legal actions against the agency since such actions come into collision with the First Amendment. The agency issues an estimated 50.000 letters in 2002 while in 2011 there were 16.500 such requests for information on 7.200 individuals issued by the FBI (Gingerich and Coyle, 2013).
According to Thompson (2003), the ad hoc 9/11 National Commission assembled to investigate the attack and search into security system miscalculations, rationalized the creation and improvement of other law enforcement institutions. The commission outlined the main changes expected to improve the security system. The unification of operational planning and strategic intelligence against Islamic terrorists with a new National Intelligence Director, the unification of counterterrorism effort participants and their valuable knowledge in a network-based system of exchanging information, the unification and improvement of congressional oversight to mend accountability and law enforcement quality were among the changes to come. The same could be said of the solidification of FBI and homeland defenders that was among the main ambitious aim of law enforcement (as cited in Gingerich and Coyle, 2013).
Police is one of the most recognizable and important law enforcer in the USA. Dempsey and Forst (2014) stated that police departments had launched specialized antiterrorism units nationwide shortly after the attack. Their members received a very profound training in antiterrorism duties and disaster control. To put an example, the New York City Police Department established a counterterrorism bureau headed by a deputy commissioner. Composed of 1000 officers, the bureau included investigating units and a counterterrorism section. The effects of the terrorist attacks were the guidance that dominated the law enforcement agencies, including police, even years after the tragedy on local and national levels. Besides changes in policing, federal government reorganization created the Department of Homeland Security that produced operational and organizational changes in the state and federal law enforcement that influenced police as well. Performing strengthening and uniting functions, the aforementioned Patriot Act gave arch-important terrorism interception and obstruction instruments. Police and other law enforcement agencies received the authority of searching, detaining, seizing, and eavesdropping in their chase of terrorists, which could not but raise civil liberty concerns.
In the wake of the 2001 attack, the American authorities started the new initiative of putting law enforcement agencies on stand-by during military operations like that in Iraq back in 2003. During these, agencies are used to going into heightened security, with police officers obtaining special ammunition similar to that wielded by assault troops, police boats patrolling the waterfronts, officers searching trucks and guarding important governmental institutions. New York security analysts, for example, have developed a contingency or emergency plan now described as being one of the most all-round counterterrorism efforts to date. Though costing 5 million dollars on a weekly basis in police overtime only, it provides expanded and efficient street patrols with a special focus on tourist attractions, financial establishment, governmental buildings, houses of worship, and hotels. Subways, harbor, and waterways are also within police jurisdiction and supervision. The plan has prioritized checkpoints at tunnels and bridges as well as on the streets (Dempsey and Forst, 2014).
Significant is also law enforcement in Jewish neighborhoods perceived as terrorist targets. Safety in such neighborhoods, indeed, should be police concern and other law enforcement agencies’ concern in the light of the fact that Islamic terrorists are anti-Zionists, including Hezbollah that detests Israel, a long-time American ally. In the context of the post 9/11 counterterrorism efforts, police patrols harbors in efforts to protect commuter ferries, uses sniffing dogs to detect explosives, and protects the Wall Street, the financial heart of New York. Television news outlets are also under protection since terrorist might decide to seize the agencies to force media into broadcasting anti-American messages. It is important to note that such unprecedented security measures take place nationwide, with casual car searches being made at airports in all American states. In Ohio, for example, authorities have caused weigh stations on highways to remain open for twenty four hours to enable officers to inspect commercial vehicles (Dempsey and Forst, 2014). Such are the main counterterrorism measures taken by such law enforcement agency as police that reflect the quality and depth of changes in the repackaged system of the national security. While examples put demonstrate efforts made by New York and other cities, they coincide nationwide, with road inspections, car searches, embankment, institution, and civil infrastructure guarding implemented in all American states.
Conser, Paynich, and Gingerich (2013) noted that law enforcement agencies had created communication networks and protocols to facilitate intrastate and interstate interaction. The authorities have improved the National Crime Information Center, creating an extensive computerized communications network and database, which connected local, state, and federal agencies. Operated and maintained by the FBI, the database now provides exhaustive information on stolen property, fugitives, missing persons, and the criminal record history. Another sample of the improved interrelationship is the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System maintained by the Federal Bureau as well. The database enables law enforcement officers to access database with information on mug shots, fingerprints, tattoos, and scars. All agencies within the enforcement system contribute to the database on a voluntary basis. Since 2001, American states have established communication networks of their own and connected them to the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Conser, Paynich, and Gingerich, 2013). According to Kennedy and McGarrell (2011), the exchange of critical intelligence, its collection, analysis, and processing were one of the main expectations related to law enforcement changes. Information sharing is central to well-timed tactical and strategic decision-making that has the potential of curbing terrorism.
In order for states to boost intelligence and data exchange, they have created the so-called staffed intelligence fusion centers for processing local security-related information and hand vital intelligence to national networks. Such changes have placed additional burden on the shoulders of law enforcement agencies since their new task is to analyze and evaluate terrorism risks in communities, collect and share information with fusion centers and federal authorities, without obtaining any additional resources (Kennedy and McGarrell, 2011). It is safe to admit that the introduction of such systems has improved the interconnection between law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The lack of such communication and access to databases was, by far, the main reason the 2001 Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks had place. Rivalry between the FBI and CIA is a well-documented fact; however, at a time when so many human lives are at stake there is no room for competition and internal intrigues. All the agencies need to do is put aside their differences and cooperate in a joint effort to avoid casualties. The cooperation and information sharing seemed to have been working well until the Boston Bombings. It appears that the system is not flawless, which is natural, and new improvements have yet to be introduced.
The USA is a politically and economically superior nation that has its influence in the Islamic world for various purposes, whether economic or political, which cannot but cause a negative reaction on the part of conservative local elites that retaliate by arranging terrorist attacks. September 9, 2011 saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a part of Pentagon disappearing behind a shroud of smoke and dust following their collision with hijacked airplanes, which demonstrated the lack of adequate security measures. Contrary to state and federal agencies’ involvement in investigation and reforming, the authorities placed the burden on law enforcement agencies. The Department of Justice improved its ability of detecting, penetrating, and wrecking terrorist plots due to the series of fundamental structural reforms, the creation of prevention instruments, and the establishment of more efficient information exchange mechanisms. The cooperation with overseas partners has also seen a major improvement since 2001.
The department has toughened punishment measures by increasing incarceration terms, which helps prevent numerous plots and logistical attempts made by local radicalized Americans and foreigners. Amendments into three sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, authorizing surveillance and intelligence collection to identify espionage attempts is one of fundamental achievements of the Department of Justice, to say nothing of improved interagency cooperation, coordination, information exchange, and the empowerment of prosecution with larger commissions. The FBI, one of principal agencies within system of the Department of Justice, has declared it its own priority to protect both residents and property from damage inflicted by terrorist groups. One of the most important achievement has become the establishment of the channels of intelligence gathering with the Secret Service, the Border Patrol, and the CIA. Collecting and accumulating crucial crime statistics, training local law enforcement officers, and establishing a comprehensive crime laboratory are also among Federal Bureau accomplishments. The number of intelligence analysts rose to twice its pre-9/11 number, that of linguists increased by three times. Bureau officials made a special focus on cyber terrorism. The agency has started the active issuance of National security Letters authorized by the Patriot Act to trace companies’ customers without their knowledge. The National Counterterrorism Center created in the mid-2000s has facilitated and improved cooperation and information exchange.
Police, one of the most recognizable law enforcement agencies, has also changed a great deal since 2001. Its searching, detaining, seizing, and eavesdropping authorities have been enlarged. Police departments throughout the country safeguard governmental institutions, public places, neighborhoods, hotels, fiscal establishments like those on the Wall Street, and harbors. Police officers patrol harbors in efforts to protect commuter ferries and use sniffing dogs to detect explosives. Caution measures are particularly strong during military operations conducted by the American army abroad. Among other changes, the US leadership has initiated the improvement of the National Crime Information Center and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The latter provides law enforcement and intelligence services with indispensable information on mug shots, fingerprints, tattoos, and scars. Budgetary changes and intelligence sharing in the entire counterterrorism framework are among the main priorities and actual changes made over the recent decade. Despite the post-Cold-War reluctance, the events of 2001 made the country reform its security agencies very significantly. Though profound changes have been made in the national security, of which a twelve-year peace is indicative, the Boston bombings demonstrated the system of state safety is still subject to improvement.
Conser, J., Paynich, R., and Gingerich, T. (2013). Law enforcement in the United States (3rd ed.). Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Dempsey, J.S., and Forst, L.S. (2014). An introduction to policing (7th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.
Gingerich, C. and Coyle, G. (2013). National security policy responses to the 9/11 attacks. Retrieved from: Indiana University.
Hess, K.M., and Orthmann, C.H. (2012). Introduction to law enforcement and criminal justice (10th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.
Holder, E.H., Robinson, L.O., and Rose, K. (n.d.). Learning from 9/11: Organizational change in New York City and Arlington County, Va., police departments. National Institute of Justice.
Kennedy, L.W., and McGarrell, E.F. (Eds.). (2011). Crime and terrorism risk. The United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.
Siegel, L.J., and Worrall, J.L. (2013). Essentials of Criminal Justice (8th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
The United States Department of Justice. (2011, September 7). Fact sheet: the department of justice ten years after. Justice.gov. Retrieved from: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/September/11-opa-1136.html