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Counterterrorism Mid - Essay Example

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Counter-terrorism is the group of activities required to mitigate and respond to a terrorist threat. This includes physical security, threat elimination, contingency planning, and strategies and tactics. Counter-terrorism may be undertaken by the military, federal and local law enforcement agencies, as well as private businesses that may be targets of a terrorist attack…
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Counterterrorism Mid
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Download file to see previous pages Understanding who may potentially attack a specific target also will disclose what tactics might be expected. Additional counter measures can be implemented to deal with group specific threats.
In the United States, terrorist threats may be international or domestic. International threats come from groups who perceive the US as too intrusive in their homeland or their economic system. For example, Al-Qaeda has threatened the US because they see the US military bases in the Middle East and the Western capitalist ideas as a direct threat to Islam (Pape, 2003, p.7). Domestic terrorism is carried out by people who have an extremist view on a singular social issue. This is usually the environment, animal rights, or anti-abortion. However, on occasion racist and hate groups may act to diminish another citizen's human rights through the use of terrorism.
Traditionally, acts of domestic terrorism were viewed as criminal acts and carried the same judicial implications as any other criminal act. For example, the destruction of a church may have once been viewed as arson and the process and sentence would be implemented accordingly. However, more recent laws and acts have made the motivation for the crime a differentiating factor between crime and terrorism. A person that bombs a corporation could be considered a terrorist if they did so as an act of social protest or part of an activist group. This gives law enforcement greater powers to gather evidence and investigate. In addition, the label of terrorism carries with it more severe sentencing. Fighting terrorism is a combination of law enforcement and counter-terrorism. Typical law enforcement techniques are used to analyze a crime scene, but the investigation and disruption of terrorist activity is unique to terrorism.
If the crime is linked to international terrorism, the perpetrator may forfeit certain constitutional rights and the right to due process. Under the Bush administration policies, a person committing a crime that is linked to Al-Qaeda can be labeled an enemy combatant, rather than simply a criminal. This gives the government the power to hold them indefinitely without a trial and suspend the right to habeas corpus. The government can additionally justify 'sneak and peek' searches of their residence and the homes of their associates that may become suspect. Their communications can be monitored and their personal records seized.
3.) The Nature of Surveillance
The war on terror and modern technology has combined to totally revolutionize the nature of surveillance. Surveillance used to involve watching a person, tailing them, and monitoring their activities. Police could also wiretap their telephone with sufficient probable cause to be able to get a warrant. However, technology has made everyone's communications more accessible than ever before. The use of cell phones and electronic financial records has made it easier to monitor or locate a subject. In addition, the war on terror has made courts more sympathetic to law enforcement and have eased some of the tight restriction on getting a warrant. These changes, when taken together, have a great potential to impede the civil ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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