Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act

Terrorism and coordination of intelligence have been some of the major challenges facing the United States in the twenty first century. The intelligence community has over time been revealed to lag and lose impetus when managing intelligence which led to the introduction of the recommendations of the 9/11 commission of 2002 as well as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission on intelligence community reform

The 9/11 commission was a body that was established in November 2002 after the 11th September 2001 attack on the United States in which more than two thousand people died. The attack was said to be the boldest act of terrorism against the United States when terrorists hijacked two passenger planes and crashed them into the towers of the world trade centre (Cumming 2).

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The United States under President Bush discovered that they like other countries were also vulnerable to terrorism and the 9/11 commission was founded to investigate the reasons for the incapacity of America to foretell and prevent the attacks as well as derive recommendations from their findings that would ensure terrorist attacks would never happen on American soil(Wentworth 3).

The intelligence community was especially culpable of negligence, after it was discovered that information regarding the September attack had surfaced in various agencies prior to the attack but there was a lack of coordination regarding that information hence different agencies had bits of different information which was more or less useless, it was enjoined with information from other agencies (Farmer 56). The major recommendations that were presented by the 9/11 commission included the following;

The 9/11 commission recommended the establishment of the Terrorist Threat Integration Centre (TTIC). This body would be in charge of compiling and analyzing information regarding terrorism threats and the collection of the information would be done both locally and in foreign countries (Farmer 59).

The TTIC was to be made up of both intelligence and law enforcement bodies to facilitate for efficient information recovery and similar response to a positively identified threat. The TTIC will therefore have among them members of the FBI, CIA, DOD, DHS, police and the Department of Justice and the TTIC was to be under the control of the National Counterterrorism Centre (Kean & Hamilton 84).

The 9/11 commission furthermore recommended the formation of the Terrorist Screening Centre to keep updated information on all known terrorists and supply this information to all entry points to the United States(Fenster 5). The information would also be supplies to other countries to monitor the activities of known terror suspects (Cumming 5).

The major role of the Centre would therefore be to ensure that screeners and investigating agents are all referred to a similar set of integrated, comprehensive anti-terrorist information. The 9/11 commission also recommended that the centre be properly equipped with manpower and expertise that would enable them to operate promptly when a suspected terrorist is identified (Wentworth 4).

The 9/11 commission in addition recommended a far-reaching reformation of the Federal government through the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS was responsible for assembling more than twenty bodies which had more than two hundred thousand staff.

Each member of each body has a key role to play in important homeland security operations. The end result was a single Federal department whose main objective and purpose of formation was to protect the United States against terrorist threats (Kean & Hamilton 89).

Furthermore, the 9/11 commission recommended the establishment of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), a synchronized partnership structure connected to all concerned agencies. The use of the structure would be to monitor and report global terror patterns and also identify potential terrorist acts. The 9/11 commission recommended that the HSIN to be connected to all major urban areas in the United States and also have surveillance activity in all the states of America.

The 9/11 commission advised the restructuring of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to allow for the extensive investigation of terrorism under this body (Farmer 65).

The 9/11 also commission recommended the reorganization of the FBI in order to transform it into an agency that was also concerned with the preclusion of terrorism through the compilation of intelligence as well as the use of other relevant means. The role of intelligence collection for the FBI with regards to terrorism was recommended to be supplementary in addition to its capacity to carry out its conventional responsibility of a highly respected law enforcement agency (Thompson & Seidner 11).

The major IC components of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 introduced an amalgamated approach to its operational mechanism to in its effect reach equilibrium between the needs of both the community and the agencies.

There was to be a total of seventeen components under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act with an innovative human resource management program with some components relinquishing part of their legal sovereignty in order to create a powerful and unified entity (Thompson & Seidner 14). This called for vigorous changes to the entire system and management framework. The major components of the new system are;

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) recommended and facilitated for the formation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as an autonomous body that would provide the Director for National Intelligence with complementary assistance.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is the parent body to the National Counterterrorism Centre organization and the body has more than a thousand staff members (Wentworth 6). Further changes to the organizational structure of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence came in 2007 when the Director of National Intelligence pronounced several modifications to the organizational structures.

These changes included the introduction of an Executive Committee responsible for jointly making formal decisions based on intelligence and the creation of a new Deputy position to the Director of National Intelligence Who would be responsible for; Policy, Planning, and Requirements contrary to the previous Deputy to the Director of National Intelligence who was only responsible for requirements position.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 gave the central intelligence agency an essential role however some of the agency’s clout were transferred to the Director of National Intelligence (Thompson & Seidner 12).

The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) which is now Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA) was previously the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and he supervised the Intelligence Community and also acted as the president’s primary intelligence advisor (Cumming 9).

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency therefore has no mandate over other agencies rather is the head of the Central Intelligence Agency only. Currently, the CIA as well as all other Intelligence Community agencies works under the leadership of the Director of National Intelligence (Thompson & Seidner 15).

Department of Defence (DOD)

The department of defence is the other main IC component of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. The Department of Defence is broad and is made up of several other agencies that were instituted to help protect the interest of the society (Thompson & Seidner 16).

The agencies within the Department of Defence are mainly tactical units and function outside the borders of the United States. Some of the groups that function under the Department of Defence include the Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States army and the United States air force (Thompson & Seidner 17). These groups work under the authority of the office of the secretary of defence.

Other agencies that operate under the department of defence include National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Civilian Agencies

These are agencies that execute their duties in a clandestine manner hence are able to operate within the borders of the United States. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act allowed for the classification of these agencies into different departments in order to facilitate the holistic procurement of intelligence in all sectors within the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) together with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is now under the Department of justice (Cumming 12).

United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) embraces the United States Coast Guard (USCG) together with the Intelligence agency (IA). Other civilian agencies include, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) under the department of state and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) under the US Department of the Treasury.

Compare and contrast the 9/11 Commission recommendations with the IRTPA

The recommendations of the 9/11 commission as well as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act had a lot in common as far as their fundamental perspectives were concerned. Both the recommendations and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act were first and foremost driven by a need to change the government’s approach towards terrorism (Farmer 83).

The recommendations came at a time when the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism was exposed and drastic measures needed to be put in place to ensure that such an occurrence would never happen again (Kean & Hamilton 104).

There is however a “difference in the way the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act sought to curb the terrorism threat” (Kean & Hamilton 112). Recommendations of the 9/11 commission identified several failed mechanisms in the security and justice system that provided the fissure that was being exploited by terrorists.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act on the other hand sought to reinforce measures that had already been put in place, by altering the organizational structure of the intelligence community to facilitate an easier flow of information within and between agencies. Therefore even though both the 9/11 commission recommendations and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act performed a similar task of fighting terrorism, they differed in the way both were implemented (Kean & Hamilton 112).

Both the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act had a direct effect on the intelligence community. The recommendations directly affected the intelligence community in that they provided a different approach as to how agencies and organizations in the community were to relate to each other in terms of sharing information.

The recommendations went ahead to offer innovative opinions as to how new agencies and organizations would be created to perform a task that was earlier being performed by the intelligence community for instance the monitoring of terrorists through screening agencies(Wentworth 7). On the other hand, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act also had a direct effect in how the intelligence community was to be governed (Fenster 7).

The act was successful in shifting power from one agency to another or from one individual to another. New positions were also created within the organizational structure for example the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA) a position that was not previously present.

How the IRTPA will impact on the national intelligence community

The impact of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act on the national intelligence community in America was exceptional.

This is because the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act sought to restructure the entire intelligence community in order to facilitate a better flow of information as well as efficient coordination of operations. Previously, the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for acquisition and distribution of information to and from other agencies.

The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) reported directly to the president in matters regarding intelligence (Cumming 12). However, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act proposed and implemented a system whereby the Central Intelligence Agency and indeed all other agencies were no longer autonomous but worked under the guardianship of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

The national intelligence community was hence diverted from once centre of power to another (Thompson & Seidner 17). The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was consequently transformed into the most powerful intelligence office and the Director of National Intelligence was transformed into the head of all intelligence activities (Fenster 8).

The national intelligence community was also split into two tiers contrary to the previous top-down approach that was one directional and hence was complex with a lot of information being lost along the way due to the number of veto points(Cumming 14).

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act facilitated an easier approach to the transmission of information with all components being required to gather information and pass it to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence where it would be compiled and analyzed (Wentworth 7).

The national intelligence community can therefore work more effectively and cover a broader scope of information because of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. Though not as autonomous as before, components of the intelligence community have a diverse threshold for intelligence collection due to the enhanced collaboration with other agencies.

How the reforms will impact on the various agencies

The 9/11 commission recommendations and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act were to introduce rigorous reforms in all the units in the intelligence community. Most affected would be the Central Intelligence Agency because of its position in regard to information (Kean & Hamilton 98).

The Central Intelligence Agency was the chief intelligence centre with all other agencies being obliged to surrender their intelligence to the agency (Cumming). This means the Central Intelligence Agency was extremely powerful and also the head of the community (Farmer 86). The enactment of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act meant that the clout the Central Intelligence Agency bore was transferred to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was also drastically affected by the recommendations of the 9/11 commission to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the war against terrorism (Fenster 11). This meant that the staff of the FBI who were mostly involved in domestic criminal activities would be required to become conversant with terrorist activities and basically form and staff an entire division to deal with terrorism (Farmer 90).

Though other agencies mostly had a reduction in clout, they were also affected in terms of jurisdiction meaning that matters they previously had authority over were no longer accessible. Consequently, some departments and specialists were transferred to other agencies or became redundant.

Conclusion

America’s need for security escalated after the twin tower bombings and legislators in the house of congress were desperate to reassure the American citizens of their safety especially from terrorism.

The president assigned the 9/11 commission after the September bombings and the role of that commission was to come up with recommendations that would minimize the possibility of another terrorist attack on American soil. After the recommendations were compiled, most of them were approved by the Senate and the House of representatives.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act gained a lot of popularity because the country was losing confidence in the intelligence community. Legislators have been adamant in the reorganization of the intelligence community especially after it was discovered that there was a possibility that some agencies knew of an impending attack before the twin tower bombing.

Policy makers needed to restore order in the intelligence community which was seemingly unable to coordinate intelligence between its ranks. The introduction of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act by U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins was viewed as a required break for the conventional intelligence community with the senate approving the bill in a 96 to2 vote. The Act was then enacted into law on December 17, 2004 after President George W. Bush signed it.

Works Cited

Cumming, Alfred. CRS report for congress. CRS. October 2004. 1st March 2010: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl32601.pdf

Farmer, John. The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America under Attack on 9/11. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.Print.

Fenster, Mark. Designing Transparency: The 9/11 Commission and Institutional Form. February 2005. 1st March 2010:
http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=mark_fenster

Kean, Thomas & Hamilton, Lee. Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission. New York: Random House, 2006.Print.

Thompson, James & Seidner, Rob. Federated human resource management in the federal government: the intelligence community model. April 2009. 1st March 2010:
http://www.businessofgovernment.org/pdfs/thompsonseidner_magazine.pdf

Wentworth, Donna. 9/11 Legislation Launches Misguided Data-Mining and Domestic Surveillance Schemes. December 2004. 1st March 2010:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2004/12/9-11-legislation-launches-misguided-data-mining-and-domestic-surveillance-schemes

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