The Lack of Intelligence Sharing Between Federal Agencies

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The Lack of Intelligence Sharing between Federal Agencies

Author, James C. Brown, Kaplan University, Student 2009 - 2011

Abstract:

The lack of intelligence sharing between federal law enforcement agencies is a known problem. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 attempted to correct the laws that erected a legal and bureaucratic wall, created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and others that prevented intelligence sharing between federal law enforcement agencies. My hypothesis is that Federal Law Enforcement agencies must share gathered intelligence; even the smallest piece of information may be the piece that is missing from another investigation. This study will show that more work needs to be done to improve intelligence sharing, not only between federal agencies, but also between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; and at times should involve sharing information with the private sector. This study will also show that there is a need for policy changes to encourage intelligence sharing and get away from policies created during the cold war era.

Introduction:

Intelligence gathered by Federal, State, and Local law enforcement is the information that keeps us safe from the criminal element, terrorists, or any other group planning to harm citizens of this country and our interests abroad. The inability to share this information allowed the terrorists that attacked the United States homeland on September 11, 2001 to live and train in our communities. Federal law enforcement knew that the terrorists were here but failed to put the pieces of the puzzle together to prevent the attacks of that tragic day. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, changing laws that prevented intelligence sharing between Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies. President George W. Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law on November 25, 2002. A legal and bureaucratic wall erected during the Watergate era by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, separated our intelligence agents from our law enforcement officers (Kearney, 2004); the Homeland Security Act tore down this wall and allowed sharing of intelligence. Even with the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 that tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall, intelligence sharing has not improved to significantly enough to prevent future attacks on the homeland. Terrorist groups continue to adapt to our countermeasures. This is another reason that all of our law enforcement officers and intelligence agents need to be on the same page. As proof that there are still lapses in intelligence sharing, weakening our internal defenses, we look to the incident at Fort Hood, the largest military base in the United States this year. On November 6, 2009, US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist at Fort Hood, walked into a Soldier Readiness Center and opened fire with two handguns killing fourteen and wounding thirty. The fatalities include twelve soldiers, ranking from Private First Class to Lieutenant Colonel, one army civilian employee, and one unborn baby carried by Francheska Velez, Private First Class (American Forces Press Service, 2009). The investigation into this shooting is still ongoing but there is information that Hasan was in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical prayer leader that was at the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, VA. Hasan attended prayer meetings at the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center at the same time as two of the September 11 hijackers. It is unclear if there was any contact between Hasan and the two hijackers (Meyer, 2009). My hypothesis is that Federal Law Enforcement agencies must share gathered intelligence; even the smallest piece of information may be the piece that is missing from another investigation. The goal of this research is to prove that intelligence sharing, has slipped back close to where it was before the...
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