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Reasons for Why the IC Has Consistently Been Able to Prevent the Gap Exposing the U.S. to Terrorist Threats

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9/11 was a strategic event and a mandate for change. The inability to “connect the dots” led to significant debates to improving intelligence

Post-9/11 intelligence reforms led to significant organizational change. These changes and the emphasis on information sharing have also resulted in the significant application of resources. Reorganization and reform raise other questions – particularly concerning domestic intelligence. First, are these changes improving security? Major changes lead to implementation challenges. Second, has information sharing improved? Information sharing carries multiple meanings, which lead to differences in expectations. Lastly, has intelligence oversight improved?

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The intelligence establishment of the United States is a vast enterprise with more than a dozen agencies, roughly 100,000 employees, and a budget larger than the gross domestic product of many nations. Approximately 20 percent of the employees are analysts, a category that subsumes photo interpreters, those who interpret intercepted signals, specialists on foreign military systems, and a number of other specialists in addition to those who analyze political, economic, societal, and other security-related developments. All are members of the intelligence community (IC), but their missions, customers, professional identities, and organizational cultures are to a substantial extent determined by the agency (or agency component) to which they are assigned. They work on different kinds of problems for diverse sets of institutional and individual customers

The diversity of missions and masters has resulted in a pluralistic structure with sensible—if not always optimal—divisions of labor and professional specialization.The mission of intelligence analysis is to evaluate, integrate, and interpret information in order to provide warning, reduce uncertainty, and identify opportunities. Providing insight on trends, the political calculus of particular foreign leaders, or the way problems are perceived by people outside the United States is often more helpful to decision makers than is the presentation of additional “facts” or speculation about “worst case” possibilities. Discovering that a country is cheating on a treaty commitment may be less important than providing insight into why it is doing so.

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Terrorism has led to the death of many civilians. It constitutes one of the greatest risks to security after the end of the cold war. Several countries have experienced terrorist activities, with the United States being hit hard in 2001 after terrorists used hijacked planes to carry out suicide attacks on the pentagon and the twin towers (Kramer, 2009). The United States has responded by instituting measures that are aimed at preventing such attacks, with one of these being the use of security agencies in places such as the CIA and the NSA (Latham, 2003). However, some measures allow terrorists to be ahead of the security agencies including the technologically improved communication

The CIA and the NSA have had a significant success in the fight against terrorism, with some of the acts of terror being thwarted before they occur. The United States’ federal government has engaged in war with several countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, with the main aim being to smoke out the remaining terrorists and/or close their operating bases (Kramer, 2009). Currently, the war is being fought on the internet and other technological fronts, with the terrorists, also being equipped for this battle. Has the CIA failed to counter-terrorism and lagged in the use of technology to fight terrorism? Is the NSA technologically equipped to use technology in the war on terrorism? Which of the two organizations has had more success in the utilization of technology in the war on terrorism? These comprise the questions that this paper will answer.

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Overall, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security remains vigilant and forward-looking, prepared to adapt and evolve to multiple threats and crises, just as the threats we confront adapt and evolve. We will safeguard the American people, our Homeland, and our values with honor and integrity. The source and nature of the terrorist threat may have expanded, but we will continue to fight to ensure that all Americans are able to live free from the fear of violence, no matter the ideology behind it.

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Best, R. (2001). The National Security Agency: Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service Report for congress. London: The Library of Congress.

Duckworth, A. (1997). The Defense HUMINT Service: Preparing for the 21st Century. Defense Intelligence Journal, 6(1), 1-5.

Kramer, D. (2009). Cyber power and national security. Washington, D C: Center for Technology and National Security Policy.

Latham, R. (2003). Bombs & Bandwidth: The Emerging Relationship Between Information Technology and Security. New York: New Press.

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