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Adjusting to Terrorism

After the devastating September 11 attacks on the U.S., security departments in the U.S. established that the Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks. It was also established that the terrorist group had been under serious investigation prior to the attack. "Despite this extensive scrutiny of the group, most intelligence agencies admitted of not having information regarding the possibility of a terrorist attack and also admitted of lack of resources to effectively carry out the investigative process"(James,2009). This called for the coordination of security intelligence departments in information sharing a problem that was found evident prior to the September 11 attacks.

Over the last few years, federal agencies have been involved in a series of operations that have led to the arrest and prosecution of terrorist suspects. Federal agencies have also embarked on a long term approach in fighting terrorism in that they have deployed intelligence personnel and have become equipped with hi-tech equipments to avert future terrorism activities. However, there has been a lack of coordination between agencies which has resulted to the persistence of the overall risk of terrorist activities. To effectively improve the criminal justice system as well as the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate terrorism activities, there is need to create a more cohesive system that allows interagency coordination and enhanced communication with respect to the same.

One of the fundamental changes that should be incorporated in the fight against terrorism with respect to the criminal justice system is reviewing the role of prosecutors in terrorism activities. The role of prosecutors should be changed from that of screening, investigating, and prosecuting terrorist suspects to that of gathering intelligence as well as paying more attention to precursor crimes such as identity theft which is one of the most effective strategies used by terrorists. Prosecutors should also focus on the creation of fraudulent documents as well as money laundering activities which are some of the techniques that terrorists use to transfer funds used in terrorist activities and enhancing their access to other countries. A number of states in the U.S. have successively enforced the anti-terrorism legislations which focus on reviewing the role of prosecutors in fighting terrorism activities.

Another strategy that law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system should consider is improving the relationship between law enforcement agencies and Arab-American communities. With respect to this, Arab-American communities have always expressed great concerns with regards to the media attention they get thus exposing them to heightened level of suspicion. Arab-American communities have over the years complained of violation of human rights by law enforcement agencies. This has led to a sour relationship between the two parties limiting the level of smooth flow of communication which would in one way or another would be beneficial in averting future terrorist activities. In most cases, it is the desire of law enforcement agencies and the Arab -American to improve the relationship that exists between them which in turn would improve community policing preventing the occurrence of future terrorist activities.

"The establishment of a national database implemented by Homeland Security department that allows different state to share intelligence collected on terrorist and criminal activities"( Marc,2004). The main reason for this is because previously, if one state discovered any intelligence with respect to terrorist activities, the information was relayed to the respective intelligence agency but the surrounding states were unaware of the activity. The information sharing network would require an estimated $327 million in financial funding to cover for up to 30 fusion centers. The human resource would be drawn from all the intelligence agencies such as the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The effect of this would be the establishment of a seamless network of information sharing not just vertically but also horizontally across the country at different levels.

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