Terrorism can be separated as home grown, international or domestic. In my opinion, the vulnerability of a state to each one of them cannot be generalized and would depend on various factors, specific to that state. Gathering information is vital to any state intelligence fusion center. To me it is therefore, facilitating the information gathering process and increasing the powers of the intelligence officers, that is crucial to preventing terrorist attacks. Looking for vulnerable points across every aspect of state assets is important to preventing attacks.
Counter terrorism activity has been transformed radically world over, post September 11, 2001. The events of September 11, had a huge impact on the security measures, implemented at all levels. Now nations throughout the world have policies in place to monitor and protect it from terrorist activities (Olga, 2003). Although terrorism can be identified as international, domestic and home grown; the threat by anyone or all of them is proportional to the susceptibility of the security system in place. The priority of security for the states cannot be generalized as threat for each one could be unique. Therefore states should determine their major threat based on several factors including its geography, nature of its terrain and borders, population and demography, its number and nature of assets to be protected, and the resources for its security.
Therefore when I take over as the chief of the state intelligence, I shall look for vulnerability in the state’s security measures, because the most vulnerable point is the biggest threat opportunity for terrorists. State security shouldn’t be compromised due to shortage of resources. However it is the responsibility of the state intelligence fusion center to ensure that the security measures are optimized and effective for the resources at hand. To me, one of the most effective strategies of combating terrorism is adapting ‘security literacy’. This literacy is the understanding of the past and current security scenario in the state and includes understanding of the evolution of these policies.
One of the most effective ways of thwarting terrorist activities is by adopting legal procedures. It is important for states to implement policies that are in line with the inputs from the intelligence community. The intelligence community makes suggestions for policies based on domestic and foreign inputs. Security and terrorism fighting is a never ending task which need to be constantly reviewed and appropriately facilitated through policies. For instance the US Patriot Act, approved increased surveillance and detention of persons who are non-citizens (Chishti, 2010). The most significant responsibility I have as the chief of the fusion center is to give more freedom and power to the officers, through state policies.
Intelligence gathering is very vital to state security. The state should therefore do all it can to support and strengthen intelligence gathering. An important aspect of intelligence gathering is the understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that domestic, homegrown and international terrorism could have links. Either separately or in collusion, they could develop strike plans. One of the few ways of learning these before it actually occurs is by covert operations. These covert operations are therefore the heart of anti terrorism strategy. Increasing the number of reliable informers is important to timely unearthing of deadly plans. Informers are recruited based on their potential to provide information. It is possible that many of these have shady backgrounds, but nonetheless, they could be useful (NCT, 1998). I would therefore suggest to the state that the intelligence agencies have a free hand at recruiting their informers without requiring any permission. Thus legislations need to be implemented to ensure that intelligence officers have more power to enable them to gather intelligence.
Another important way of harvesting information is from apprehended terrorists. Here we would have to justify the need to use torture, because only torture of these apprehended persons can provide vital information. Some protective groups oppose torture of terrorists, based on human rights; however they do not understand how effective and useful this torture is for the rest of the population. Similarly profiling of suspicious individuals is also necessary for gathering valuable intelligence. I need to seek state support to profile individuals that could have potential terrorist links. Suspicious members of certain communities and ethnical backgrounds might need to be profiled and the state should fully extend support. State support for use of torture and profiling is vital for gathering information, particularly when the resources are limited.
Therefore my top priority would be in gathering vital information and to facilitate gathering of that information. My focus would therefore be spread across every aspects of security, because the state is vulnerable at all fronts. Concentrating on only some of them and being lax on others can prove costly. Ensuring appropriate legislations and policies in line with these, is the need of the hour. This is particularly true for a state which has limited resources.
Chishti M., (2010) Immigration and Security Post-Sept. 11. Migration Information Source [Electronic Version] Retrieved online on 10th August 2012 from http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?ID=46
National Commission on Terrorism (1998); Report on Countering the changing threat of International Terrorism. Public Law 105-277
Saratov State University.
Defining international terrorism. First Annual SIIS/IDL Conference Yaroslavl, Russia October 15-18, 2003