The terrorist attacks on September 11 in 2001 made it necessary that the United States government be given additional powers to meet further threats posed by terrorism. In the name of defending the nation, the Bush administration formulated its national security strategy a year later (The National Security Strategy of The United States of America 2002).
Law enforcement agencies across the nation are faced with the dilemma with countering terrorist threats based on information that are at best loaded with the scenario that any potential terrorist act may actually happen. Using any information, most of the time unverified and unspecified to issue alert warnings to the public has been justified on the premise that the September 11 attacks happened because the intelligence agencies were slow to issue warnings and release information to other law enforcement agencies. The pre-emptive orientation of the intelligence community has gathered force in the face of growing concerns that civil liberties are in danger of being trampled. In 2004, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, creating a Director of National Intelligence to be on top of the country's intelligence community. He also acts as the President's top intelligence adviser. While this move was meant to coordinate nationwide intelligence operations, there have been considerable areas of conflict among the law enforcement agencies. The public has recently seen the military and the Central
Intelligence Agency encroaching too much on the sphere of domestic intelligence, which is the turf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Financial records of individuals and other parties who are suspected of being involved in terrorism have been examined by the FBI through the issuance of national security letters and for the most part, banks and other institutions have cooperated. However, it has been reported that even the Pentagon and the CIA have been issuing their own version of the national security letters (Lichtblau & Mazzetti 2007). Furthermore, the FBI has complained that the military have been directly dealing with the police, without proper coordination with the bureau in issuing warnings against possible terrorist threats. The White House is also mulling to give more teeth to an agency within the Pentagon called the Counterintelligence Field Activity or CIFA currently in-charge of coordinating security efforts by giving it authority to investigate crimes such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage, including economic sabotage within the country (Pincus 2005). Moreover, a legislation is being pushed to allow the military access to the database on U.S. citizens gathered by the FBI. Concerns about this have been somehow mitigated by an amendment which will require the Pentagon to seek approval for this data-sharing from the Director of the National Intelligence and to report to Congress any of such activity.
The question of whether executive powers should be expanded has come to pass because in fact the American public has indeed given its go-signal for this to happen. While the public has recently been against the War in Iraq and other reports concerning
Government Expansion for National Security 2
domestic spying, the American people had been united right after the September 11 attacks in giving President Bush authority to deal with the terrorist threat ...
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