According to Stefanie Olson (2001), the Act provides government with increased electronic surveillance, search and data gathering power. Under the guise of tracking down “potential” terrorists, the expansion of Internet eavesdropping technology provides the government with full viewing rights into any private life they choose. In this way, immigrants who enter the country and conduct their business in a perfectly legal manner are now targeted for such surveys (White, 2008).
Local and National Changes in Law Enforcement – the basic mission of law enforcement and foreign/defense policy in the United States has dramatically changed since the events of 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terrorism.” Since 9/11, policies across the United States and abroad have changed from being reactive to being intensely proactive. There, are, however, several challenges faced by law enforcement and the legal issues of defense and foreign policy regarding this new approach to terrorism (Simonson, 2006).
Even with new legislation, the face of terrorism is not like finding a serial killer or bank robber; profiles are intensely difficult to find; men, women, and teens can be part of a group; terrorists can be ingrained in many aspects of society; and many groups and/or agencies can be used as terrorist fronts while seemingly being magnanimous and legal. The stakes are also a great deal higher post 9/11 — biological warfare, nuclear devices, and mass murder are higher consequences than faced in the U.S. In recent times (Schafer, n.d.). Additionally, human resources for law enforcement are often taxed, and the expertise often needed (Arabic, Islamic studies, etc.) have not been focused upon historically, since the Cold War focused on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Terrorists, like criminals, also have access to more technology than ever before, and more ways to hide their activities. Terrorists do not inhabit a single country or area, and are thus much harder to find and combat. Foreign policy must be cautious regarding an over exuberance yet must also be diligent when credible threats are uncovered (White, 2008).
One of the major challenges in both the domestic and international arena is information gathering, analysis and dissemination. The lack of information sharing was, according to many, one of the root causes of the inefficiency surrounding the 9/11 attacks. There are numerous intelligence agencies in the United States, some focused on internal issues, some on foreign issues, some on domestic violence, others on domestic fraud, etc. Without the sharing of communication, it is often difficult to track issues that emerge from international means into domestic cells. Additionally, one agency might intercept international calls, and without sharing, domestic intelligence or law enforcement will not have the proper information on which to act, or even to investigate (“After 9-11,” and Lynchg, n.d., and Toffler). There are, of course, some obstacles to implementing information sharing: habits and human issues within the intelligence community; system differences; storage issues; interpretation and expertise; and the very vast amount of data that needs to be sifted before it becomes meaningful. Indeed, too, the more people that have access to sensitive information, the less sensitive it becomes, and the more vulnerable that intelligence becomes. The issue of the “exclusionary” rule post 9/11 is both controversial and difficult; in the post 9/11 world, information that is important for the safety of the nation may not always be seized legally, however, the 5th Amendment to the Constitution must also be followed if we are to maintain our basic legal structure. The idea of “probable cause,” then, is often more of a gray area; since different people perform different functions within law enforcement, and come with different views and backgrounds, “probable cause” can be interpreted in different ways and still be justified (Kegley, 2002).
The complexity and vastness of the war on terrorism has broken with much of America’s foreign policy, at least since World War II. Instead of leading the world in the concept of peace, and having only a few real enemies (the Cold War effect of America vs. communism), the war is not less overt, and more global. It is an undefined war, and an undefined battleground, which is quite a swing from even the Vietnam conflict. Because the war on terror perceives enemies everywhere, and imminent attack looming, the undeclared “war” means the country is indeed, always at war. Instead of focusing on budgetary woes that will prop up the economy, we must also focus on defending our citizens at home, and abroad, another significant switch. and, to make it even more complex, nations with whom we have friendly relations are often places in which terrorists hide; making the idea of a single foreign policy dedicated towards a country or region almost impossible (Pillar, 2004). Finally, the complexity of this nightmare is increased since there is really no face of the enemy — the enemy could be a multitude of nationalities, creeds, ages, and in every part of the globe or domestically. Even newly elected President Obama has an apocalyptic vision of the next attack on Americans. “The danger of terrorism was, he declared, ‘no less grave’ that that posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War” (Edelstein, 2009).
In most of the literature on terrorism, the planning and suggested responses to disaster recover mention Dade & Hillsborough Counties, Florida. Tampa, for instance, has a population of just under 400,000, but is part of the major metropolitan area commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area, or a four-county area of almost 3 million people. Because of this, it remains one of the most often “tested” sites for potential terrorist attacks in the U.S. Eastern Seaboard (“Tampa Bay Metro,” 2007).
Overall, Tampa’s response to a terrorist action is completely dependent upon the location and severity of the event. Centering the event around the Stadium, for instance, is also dependent upon the severity — nuclear weapons, chemicals, biological, etc. There is a disaster plan in place regarding events, but if we postulate that the event is a low yield nuclear device, all law enforcement at the event would be killed instantly. Similarly, there would be few fleeing civilians, but what would ensue would likely be panic and disruption out of the Tampa Metro area. Note below, the major areas of exit:
Now, if we extrapolate a blast from a low-yield WMD, we see that, depending on prevailing winds, most of the fallout would head to St. Peterburg and the Gulf causing issues of mass fleeing in the north area:
Again, depending on the type of event, newsmedia would likely have helicopters in the sky almost immediately after the blast, endangering evacuation of peripheral areas and creating even more panic. There are, however, numerous commonalities to hurricane planning and terrorist planning for the Tampa/St. Petersburg areas (See “The Tampa Bay Catastropic Plan,” 2010). Combined with the integration of Tampa’s Police Department, again, depending on severity, plans are in place to react quickly and decisevely in the event of a terrorist attack (See: “Tampa Police Department,” 2010).
Conclusions – as the world become more and more complex, as technology actually makes the geographic differences in the world relatively insignificant, and as Third World countries acquire both the expertise and the ability to gain mastery over weapons of mass destruction, research must continue into ways to ensure greater internal safety and security without losing the basic tenets of the Constitution. Public safety is now under the rubric of defense policy, and can be improved by such things as better building materials and techniques to withstand explosives (different window materials, stronger building supports); technologies to enhance mass-transit security; advanced computer algorithms to search for voice patterns in calls over the cellular airwaves or internet (when legal), and more technology used to enhance human intelligence on the ground (Mariana, 2003). Systems must be more integrated and appropriate for use in the modern world, and a different set of recruitment and standards enacted to ensure continued professionality within the law enforcement and intelligence fields (Simonsen, 2006). However, diligence is important and must continue — most of America’s top foreign policy officials do not believe the United States is winning the war on terrorism, and in fact, they see “a national security apparatus in disrepair and a government that is failing to protect the public from another attach” (“The Terrorism Index,” 2006).
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