Literal Intelligence Collection:
National Intelligence and the NSA wireless intercept program Intelligence Collection: Sources and Challenges
February 13, 2012
In the aftermath of 9/11 the intelligence community (IC) felt pressure from all directions. Employees of the IC, Congress, and the general public wanted questions answered as to why our nation didn’t know an attack was imminent. This “failure” of intelligence caused a shake up within the entire IC, leading to many future changes. One such change was in communications intelligence (COMINT) collection. According to Cummings (2006), “President George W. Bush said that he authorized NSA to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations in the weeks following the September 11th terrorist attacks” (p. 6). The President’s decision had many repercussions. I will discuss the parameters of the decision, the management issues associated with it that lead to such controversy, and the impact it had on national intelligence and the NSA. What led to this drastic decision by the U.S. President? The United States was blind-sighted in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack which resulted in the death of 2,977 innocent Americans. This was the largest attack in the history of the U.S. on our soil and although the signs were there for the intelligence community to see, it was mistakenly not put together. Much of the attack stemmed from communications between terrorist or those connected and working with terrorist within our Country, and this was unacceptable. In order to defend against such communications, according to Lichtblau & Risen (2005), “Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible ‘dirty...
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