Intelligence Collection

First Essay
Factors that are of higher priority for intelligence collection
Intelligence collection is a vital process for any country that aims at
securing its people from current and future security threats.
Technological advancement (including military technology, high speed
data processing, and precision guidance) has resulted in significant
changes in the process of collecting and analyzing intelligence data 1.
Although the intelligence collection process is mostly done for the
purpose of national security and policy formulation, some collections
may not be necessary for national security policy in the future. This is
because the stakeholders intelligence collection need consider a wide
range of factors (such as inadequate of available sources of data and
benefits expected from the efforts of the intelligence community) while
identifying the data collection priorities. This essay provides a
discussion of issues of higher priority for intelligence collection, but
not for national security policy.
Intelligence collection on the operations of the Jihadists especially in
West Africa is an issue of priority for the intelligence community,
although may not have policy implications. Al Qaeda, which is an
international terrorist group have established networks in West African
countries particularly in Nigeria 2. The December 2009 terrorist attempt
to destroy a passenger craft by a Nigerian Jihadist is a clear
indication of security threats that the United States is likely to face
in the future. Despite the high level security scrutiny at the airport,
terrorist develops various strategies to avoid detection while executing
their plans.
1 Dupont, Alan. “Intelligence for the twenty-first century”.
Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 4 (2003): 15-39.
2 George, Friedman. “The Christmas Day Airliner Attack and the
Intelligence Process.” STRATFOR Geopolitical Intelligence Report,
January 4, 2010.
This implies that the mere application of security devices is not
sufficient, but the effective intelligence collection is necessary to
ascertain the al Qaeda operations in Western Africa since future
undetectable destruction attempts may succeed. Moreover, the terrorist
group has remained functional in the region with no hope for future
termination of its operations 3.
The United States is continually being exposed to security threats that
are caused by the increase in number and spread of terrorist groups in
different parts of the world. This necessitates a continuous
intelligence collection with a focus of predicting or detecting
potential security threats that may occur unexpectedly in the absence of
intelligence information. The occurrence of terrorist attacks on
September 11, 2001, which resulted in the destruction of the Pentagon
and World Trade Center, is an indication of significant security threats
against the United States 4. However, this incident was a clear
indication of the previous intelligence faults that need drastic
correction. The correction strategies may reforms in different agencies
forming the intelligence community and techniques used to analyze
intelligence data in order to enhance accuracy. Dedication of time and
resources towards intelligence collection in within the country as well
as the collection of data on border polarity is a priority because it
will enhance homeland security. However, this can only be achieved in
the presence of intelligence community leadership that is free from
political influence 5.
The increase in terror threats in the Middle East has resulted in
several actions of military intervention to reduce progression of terror
groups. The war in Iraq destabilized the
3 George, Friedman. “The Christmas Day Airliner Attack and the
Intelligence Process.” STRATFOR Geopolitical Intelligence Report,
January 4, 2010.
4 Richard, Best, A. Intelligence Issues for Congress. Washington DC:
Congressional Research, 2009.
5 John Prados. “Pentagon Power Play.” Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists. March/April 2005, pp. 21-23.
leadership in the country and created an opportunity for terrorist
groups to form, thus raising a major concern for the future security of
the United States and her ally 6. In addition, military operations in
Iraq and misestimated weapon programs in the country requires radical
changes in intelligence collection to help in assessing and detecting
potential use of weapons of mass destruction. The establishment of
relationship between agencies forming the intelligence community is a
priority because of its capacity to reduce duplication of efforts and
resources dedicated towards intelligence collection.
In conclusion, the increase in incidents of terrorist attacks
necessitates continuous intelligence collection to assess future
security threats. The primary focus of such form of intelligence
collection is to enable the intelligence community to reduce the
occurrence of unexpected terrorist attacks. Most of the past terrorist
attacks result either from lack of reliable intelligence information or
failure of security systems put in place. This implies that effective
collection by the intelligence community requires the application of
advanced technology, established relationship between security agencies
forming the intelligence community, leadership that with less political
focus. This is are issues of priority to intelligence agencies because
it will ensure early detection of security threats that are organized by
terrorist groups in the Middle east and Western Africa.
6 Michael Warner & Kenneth McDonald (2005). U.S. Intelligence Community
Reform Studies Since 1947. Washington DC: The Strategic Management
Issues Office and the Center for the Study of Intelligence.
Second Essay
Views that Resulted from September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack
The September 11, 2001 attack was a major security shock to the United
States and the world at large. The incident was followed by drastic
formulation of security and legal measures that focused on enhancing
intelligence collection and border security in order to identify
potential enemies within the country and enhance homeland security. Some
of the several measures taken to reduce security threats in the future
have raised concern about the balance between national security and
civil liberty. This is because several actions taken by security agents
(including extraordinary renditions, arresting of civilians without
following the defined standards, and restriction of freedom of speech)
in an attempt to detect suspect before they attack seemed to interfere
with the right to civil liberty 1. This essay will address the impact of
measures taken to enhance the national security of civil liberty,
military response to terror threats, and the capacity intelligence
gathering to challenge terror threats such as al-Qaeda.
Sacrifice of civil liberty for national security
The intelligence community of the United States is mandated to conduct
its operations under the defined rule of law, protect privacy, human
rights, and most importantly the civil liberty 2. The Civil Liberty and
Privacy Office was given the responsibilities of maintaining and
ensuring civil liberty in the United States. The September 11, 2001
attack triggered the intervention of policy makers and security
stakeholders to formulate legal and security
1 Elizabeth, Bazan, B. The foreign intelligence surveillance Act: A
sketch of selected issues. Washington DC: Congressional Research.
2 U.S. National Intelligence: An Overview 2011, Tab 6.
measures to counter future security threats. In addition, the need to
gather intelligence data by analyzing communication by foreigners and
Americans living abroad violated the right of privacy and civil liberty.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is one of the legal measures
that targeted at reinforcing intelligence collection, but it had
implications on right to civil liberty and national security 3. The
enactment of FISA, which focused on enhancing electronic surveillance,
further violated the right of speech and privacy. This is a clear
suggestion that civil liberty has been sacrificed to enable the
intelligence community to pursue matters of security interest.
The Military response to terrorism threats
There are several terrorist groups (including the al-Qaeda) that have
continually threatened the security of the United States since the
occurrence September 11 attack. These terrorist groups mostly originate
from and plan their attacks in hostile nations, a fact that has
necessitated the use of military intervention to curtail their
activities. A series of military operations that followed the September
11 attack took the form of emotional response towards nations that were
considered to be hostile. These operations (including the military
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) confirmed the public view that the
government of the United Stated focused too much on the use of military
response. In addition, the government has focused on legal reforms (such
as amendments to the Protect America Act, 2007) to authorize the use
military force against terrorist groups operating in within and outside
the country 4. Although these operations were conducted to disrupt
terrorist networks, they
3 Elizabeth, Bazan, B. The foreign intelligence surveillance Act: A
sketch of selected issues. Washington DC: Congressional Research.
4 Addicott, Jeffrey, F. & McCaul, McCaul, T. “The Protect America Act
of 2007: A Framework for Improving Intelligence Collection in the War
on Terror.” Texas Review of Law & Politics 13, No. 1 (2008): 43-71.
interfered with the sovereignty of the affected countries as well as
civil liberty of the residents.
Effectiveness of intelligence gathering measures
Although the legal reforms that have been made since the occurrence of
the September 11 attacks have interfered with civil liberty,
intelligence gathering has improved to a reasonable extent. Several acts
(including FISA) have been enacted to allow security agencies to conduct
electronic surveillance, which helps them in following conversation
between terrorist in the process of planning their attack 5. In
addition, technological advancement has helped the intelligence
community to capture and analyze electronic signals to help them in
detecting plans of terrorism attack before they occur. Although the
security measures are not perfect, it is evident that the intelligence
community has acquired some capacity to contain terror groups such as
al-Qaeda.
In conclusion, different views raised by the public and the stakeholders
in security dockets concerning security measures taken after the
September 11 attack is controversial. The majority of the legal measures
and intelligence collection activities have interfered with people’s
right to civil liberty and prioritized interests of national security.
In addition, the U.S. government has been focusing excessively on the
use of military force to destroy terrorist networks that are based in
countries perceived to be hostile. However, these legal and security
measures have strengthened the intelligence community by providing
reliable frameworks to guide them towards the collection of intelligence
data. This has enabled security agencies to counter terrorist forces and
secure the homeland security.
5 Jordan, David, A. “Decrypting the Fourth Amendment: Warrantless NSA
Surveillance and the Enhanced Expectation Encrypted Voice Over Internet
Protocol. Boston College Law Review 47, No. 1 (2006): 1-42.
Bibliography: First essay
Dupont, Alan. “Intelligence for the twenty-first century”.
Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 4 (2003): 15-39.
George, Friedman. “The Christmas Day Airliner Attack and the
Intelligence Process.” STRATFOR Geopolitical Intelligence Report,
January 4, 2010.
John Prados. “Pentagon Power Play.” Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists. March/April 2005, pp. 21-23.
Michael Warner & Kenneth McDonald (2005). U.S. Intelligence Community
Reform Studies Since 1947. Washington DC: The Strategic Management
Issues Office and the Center for the Study of Intelligence.
Richard, Best, A. Intelligence Issues for Congress. Washington DC:
Congressional Research, 2009.
Bibliography: Second essay
Addicott, Jeffrey, F. & McCaul, McCaul, T. “The Protect America Act of
2007: A Framework for Improving Intelligence Collection in the War on
Terror.” Texas Review of Law & Politics 13, No. 1 (2008): 43-71.
Elizabeth, Bazan, B. The foreign intelligence surveillance Act: A sketch
of selected issues. Washington DC: Congressional Research.
Jordan, David, A. “Decrypting the Fourth Amendment: Warrantless NSA
Surveillance and the Enhanced Expectation Encrypted Voice Over Internet
Protocol. Boston College Law Review 47, No. 1 (2006): 1-42.
U.S. National Intelligence: An Overview 2011, Tab 6.
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