October 30, 2008

Does America require a Domestic Counterterrorism agency

Following the 9/11 attacks, academics and experts have continually questioned whether the U.S. needs a domestic counterterrorism agency. A contention based on the belief that the attacks may have been prevented, if a dedicated body were previously established.

On the surface, it would appear to be a no brainer, which is far from reality. Should for example, the FBI take the reins or is there s a need to restructure U.S. efforts and establish a domestic agency based on Britain’s M15 model? There are compelling arguments either way.

After the attempt to down 10 airlines using liquid explosives was foiled by London authorities in 2006, experts quickly praised the effectiveness of British counterterrorism agencies, in stark contrast to criticism often leveled at the U.S. intelligence community.

The Department of Homeland Security also recently asked the RAND Corporation to conduct an independent study on the feasibility of creating just such and agency. Among the key findings of the report:

>> The motivating question is one of organization, and depending on how the problem with the nation's domestic intelligence approach is defined, changing organizations is one solution. However, other approaches – such as reallocation resources, changing regulations or laws, or enhancing agency collaboration – are options as well.

Fundamentally, what the United States seeks by way of domestic intelligence remains unclear, and existing arrangements have not been assessed in detail, all of which raises questions about the objectives of any reorganization effort.

Break-even analysis provides a systematic means of exploring the question of how much a new domestic intelligence agency would have to reduce terrorism risk – given a presumed level of threat and estimates of agency cost – to justify creating it.
A summary of the RAND Report can be found here

Many interesting questions need be considered. Are U.S. counterterrorism agencies as effective as their British (and European) counterparts are? Or is it simply a case of their efforts going unrecognized because of the secretive nature of their operations? Should counterterrorism be law-enforcement activity, a military one or both?


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

In my opinion, American intelligence is, at this point, too fractured and too territorial from literally years of power base and budget building. Additionally, the State Department has done its level best to sabotage our current administration at most every turn.


WomanHonorThyself said...

national security has NOT been a priority for a govt who wont even racially "profile!"..what a joke my friend..scarey indeed!

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting topic Otto. I don't honestly know what to think in this case. It seems like it would be a good route to explore regardless of which side you are on. If it works in Europe, what conditions are so different that it would not work here in the U.S.?

Z said...

I guess I've always thought the FBI should do this?

Yes, we need one. To fight the New York Times. Just a little levity...very little, I know! But, truly....I consider it terrorism when a newspaper is giving away confidential information, no?

With Obama as president, the last thing I'd want is an agency like this; look what his thugs have done to Joe the Plumber.

Welcome back from vacation, Otto!

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

While I beleive the need is there the possibility of it happening is very remote for several reason.

First remember the problems that have been sparked simply by the use of survellience on phone conversation that involved terrorist and entities within the US. The left portrayed this very neccessay measure as, "domestic," spying to try and make it sound like everyones phone conversations were neing tapped. So a Domestic Intell agency would never get Congressional approval without a GOP super majority in both chambers of Congress.

Next it also would hinge on the election. If Obama is elected,(I still beleive McCain will, my fingers are crossed for the continuation of a FREE America),he and his cronies beleive that terrorism shold be handled through the courts and a counterintell agency does not work under the courts jurisdiction so it would never get anywhere under Obama.

Under McCain again unless he has a strong GOP majority it would go nowhere because the left still wants to treat terrorism as a crime through the courts.

While needed and as proven by the Brits a necessary aspect to preventing terrorism, under the current political climate I don't see it ever happening in the US. Which is unfortunate because we should be leading the way in this.

David Schantz said...

Great post. "Are U.S. counterterrorism agencies as effective as their British (and European) counterparts are?" No "because of the secretive nature of their operations?" the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

Tapline said...

Otto, I thought the FBI took care of any such activities located within the States. Outside of the states it was the CIA. Now, I'm not certain how it works with the new organization structure, DIA, NSA, Security Services within the Military services etc,,,etc,,, I'm sure we have such an outfit and the rules that didn't allow them to talk to each other is, I think, No longer in existance That is the ones that wouldnt allow them to talk to each other... great post as usual...welcome back I hope the vacation was restful. Stay well...

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Whoa! "Should counterterrorism be law-enforcement activity, a military one or both?"

This is as provactive as wearing a thong to church Otto.

First impression is to say a combo deal. Kill them when it's cool, incarcerate and interrogate when it's cool.