Although the most publicly well-known counterterrorist agencies in the United States are the CIA and Homeland Security, but the Department of State has also been playing an equally important role in counterterrorism for decades. Over the years, especially after the September 11 attacks, the role of the Department of State has gotten bigger and has become more visible ("State dept. official" 2012). Today, the Department of State is the leading federal agency that deals with and handles terrorist in foreign countries where the interests of the United States are involved. The Department of State takes the head role in the alliance and fight against terrorism by managing and maintaining diplomacy abroad. The Department of State works to shut down networks financing terrorists by working closely with other foreign agencies and organizations. The Department of State works to bring terrorist organizations to justice by investigating their activities ("http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/").
All the counterterrorism efforts of the U.S. government and cooperation with governments abroad is coordinated is coordinated by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism ("Bureau of counterterrorism"), which was known as the Office of Counterterrorism until January 4, 2012. The Bureau of Counterterrorism of the S. Department of State coordinates with the efforts of the government of the United States and assists the U.S. government in cooperating with foreign governments. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, who is also the Department of State’s current coordinator for counterterrorism, explained that the current purpose of the bureau is to play a leading role in the counterterrorism efforts by the U.S. government on behalf of the Department of State and to secure the United States against foreign threats of terrorism. He added that the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism would be the leading agency in counterterrorism diplomacy for the United States. He also mentioned that countering the ideology and propaganda by terrorist organizations would be the focus of the bureau, while helping partner nations to become more capable in combating terrorism. According to him, the safety of the United States depends on the counterterrorism capacity of partner nations ("Establishment of the," 2012).
As for the CIA, Homeland Security and other counterterrorism agencies operating within the United States, one of the power powerful tools that expanded the boundaries for the Department of State and the Bureau of Counterterrorism in their fight against terrorism is the USA Patriot Act. Although the Patriot Act has been harshly criticized, but the fact remains that the Department of State “needs the Patriot Act because it helps prevent terrorism while posing little risk to civil liberties” (Sales, 2011). The Department of State has its own terrorism task forces on United States soil, and “hundreds of Diplomatic Security Special Agents” ("Overseas Security Improvements," 2000)have been deployed by the Department in foreign countries where U.S. diplomatic missions are taking place, in order to amplify security ("Overseas Security Improvements," 2000). This is how the Department of State is able to coordinate responses whenever it learns about the progress of major terrorist incidents in foreign countries.
Another initiative of the Department of State to combat terrorism is by helping foreign law enforcement through its Expanded Anti-Terrorism Assistance Training. The Department’s training program includes programs such as border security, crisis management, explosive detection, maritime security, and surveillance detection. By 2000, 337 Diplomatic Security special agents, diplomatic couriers, security engineers, and security technicians were hired and trained by the Department of State for its foreign diplomatic missions ("Overseas Security Improvements," 2000), while by May 2000, 7,000 employees had been trained by the Department in domestic security awareness ("Domestic Security Improvements," 2000). The Department of State also has a “Chemical Biological Weapons countermeasures program”, which involves educating and training both domestic and overseas employees, and the use of special equipment. The Department of State conducts surveys around the world to determine the possibility of such attacks. Finally, the Department provides domestic and overseas increased crisis management training, which means that the Department’s employees have the resources to respond to future crisis situations involving acts of terrorism ("Overseas Security Improvements," 2000).
Coordinating and supporting U.S. agencies are one of the major are a major part of the purpose that the Department of State is serving, and the same is the case when counterterrorism is involved. From time to time, the Department of State has worked together with numerous U.S. agencies to combat the chances of a domestic terrorist threat. For instance a panel was assembled by Assistant Secretary Carpenter in 2000, which comprised of security experts from the CIA, Department of Defense, FBI, and other agencies, so that a variety of domestic security policies, programs, and procedures could be reviewed and the security of the Department of State could be improved ("Domestic Security Improvements," 2000). For instance, an up-to-date list of terrorists and supporters of terrorism is maintained by the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, so that they can be prevented from stepping foot on U.S. soil.
In 2010, the Department of State and the FBI worked together to release “Digitally Enhanced Photos Of Most Wanted Terrorist Suspects” ("State Department, FBI"). The CIA has recognized the Department of State as a partner in its “aggressive plan to eliminate the sources of terrorist financing” ("NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR"). According to the CIA, its effort can only operate at a steady rate particular regional strategies for the fight against terrorism are developed by the Department of State. Then again, the Department of Justice might not always agree with its fellow agencies that it cooperates and interacts with, even when it involves matters of counterterrorism. For instance, the Department of State’s views regarding lethal drone strikes in foreign countries vary from those of the CIA and the Pentagon (Miller, Nakashima & DeYoung). Nonetheless, one thing is obvious; being a leading counterterrorism department, the Department of Justice interacts with multiple agencies within the U.S. that have the same goal, with respect to counterterrorism.
The criminal justice system of the United States, which of course includes the Department of Justice at the very top, has been itself credited as a counterterrorism tool ("Criminal justice system").
The implications of the Justice Department in the Department of State’s counterterrorism efforts are quite intricate. Under the Patriot Act, Secretary of State, after consulting with the Attorney General, has the authority to include names of potential terrorist suspects in a “Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL),” ("Terrorist exclusion list," 2004) which is also used by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. As mentioned, this is how the terrorist suspects on the list are prevented from entering the United States. However, the Secretary of State of State cannot enlist any individual in the list without the consent of the Attorney General, which implies a strong implication of the Department of Justice in a major counterterrorism tool that is available to the Department of the State ("Terrorist exclusion list," 2004).
Moreover, upon consulting with the Attorney General, the Secretary of State also has the authority to include names of groups that have been identified as terrorist organizations in the list. In fact, the Attorney General himself can also request the Secretary of State to include an organization in the list. There are particular statutory criteria for including individuals and/or organizations to the list, which are specified in a detailed “administrative record” that is maintained by the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and other intelligence agencies in the country. Once the Secretary of State receives this record, he makes the decision whether or not an individual and/or organization are to be included in the TEL. The Federal Register contains notices of designations. Thus, it is apparent that the Department of State and the Department of Justice work together in the fight against terrorism ("Terrorist exclusion list," 2004).
Generally, major incidents of terrorism leave mass casualties in their wake. However, there is a possibility that these casualties can be minimized if the Department of State adequately coordinates with emergency responders so that the emergency consequences of terrorist incidents can be managed. First and foremost, as the Department of State must have become aware after the September 11 attacks, is that the potential scope of destruction that occur as a result of an incident of terrorism can be beyond one’s imagination. Thus, the Department of State must coordinate with State emergency planners to plan for the unexpected, and to devise plans that emergency responders can follow, which will prepare them to minimize casualties in any possible scenarios of terrorism ("Managing the ," 2002).
On the state level, there are several responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of the Department of State, which can improve the performance of emergency responders. For instance, the Department of State should assist in supplementing the local efforts by state emergency responders and the organizations they work for. The State Department can also play a role in redirecting resources of the states toward the provision of emergency medical support in case of situations of terrorism ("Managing the ," 2002). The Department of State can also take a step by issuing emergency Declarations in all the states. “We don't do deals with terrorists” (Shipman, Williams, Stebner & Pow. Helen, 2013) is the motto of the Department of State. Considering the role of the Department of State, the tools that it is utilizing, the involvement of the Justice Department and the role the Department can play in improving the performance of medical responders, the Department of State definitely has the potential of succeeding in continuing to secure the United States from threats of terrorism, as it currently is.
Establishment of the bureau of counterterrorism [Web]. (2012). Retrieved from http://video.state.gov/en/video/1365484831001/establishment-of-the-bureau-of-counterterrorism/s~creationDate/p~1/?s=QW1iYXNzYWRvciBEYW5pZWwgQmVuamFtaW4=
U.S. state department office of counter-terrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/
Bureau of counterterrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/j/ct/
Overseas security improvements. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/fs_000807_security.html
Domestic security improvements. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/fs_000807_domestic_sec.html
Miller, G., Nakashima, E., & DeYoung, K. (n.d.). Cia drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism ‘playbook,’ officials say. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-drone-strikes-will-get-pass-in-counterterrorism-playbook-officials-say/2013/01/19/ca169a20-618d-11e2-9940-6fc488f3fecd_story.html
Criminal justice system. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/cjs/
Managing the emergency consequences of terrorist incidents. (2002, Jul). Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/pdf/plan/managingemerconseq.pdf
Shipman, Tim, Williams, David, Stebner, Beth, & Pow. Helen.'We don't do deals with terrorists': State Department REJECTS 'Battalion of Blood' gang offer to swap two U.S. hostages seized in Algeria for jailed extremists. (2013, Jan 18). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264313/Algerian-crisis-State-Department-REJECTS-Battalion-Blood-gang-offer-swap-U-S-hostages-seized-Algeria-jailed-extremists.html
Sales, N. A. (2011, Sep 8). The patriot act is a vital weapon in fighting terrorism. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/09/07/do-we-still-need-the-patriot-act/the-patriot-act-is-a-vital-weapon-in-fighting-terrorism