examples of this interplay between illicit drug trade and terrorism.3 This interplay between the illicit drug trade and terrorism poses both a direct and indirect to national security in the sense that the drugs are traded in the U.S. and therefore indirectly funds terrorism activities both abroad and at home. Moreover, terrorism and the illicit drug trade pose distinct threats to US national security and global security as whole. The US has a vested interest in global security as it can compromise the safety of Americans abroad and can eventually have both direct and indirect consequences for homeland security. This research examines the interplay between US anti-drug and terrorism policies. This will be accomplished by exploring and evaluating both policies, their strategies and the rationale for both policies.
In 1986 drugs were officially deemed a national security threat. President Ronald Reagan’ National Security Decision Directive of April, 1986 declared that drugs had the potential to destabilize democracies, deplete both the morality and health of the U.S.’s society and could “adversely affect the economy.”4 On the evening of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush in an address to the nation spoke of a “war against terrorism”.5 The US war on terrorism is predicted on an urgent need to defend and protect the US, “the American people, and their livelihoods”.6
Regardless of the separate and distinct threat to national security, there is increasing evidence that drug trafficking and terrorism are intricately linked. For instance, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a report in 2003 claiming that out of the 36 foreign terrorist groups in the US as listed by the U.S. State Department, 14 were engaged in drug trafficking activities.7 It is therefore hardly surprising that the DEA would advocate that both the war on drugs and the war on terrorism be combined.8
The DEA is not the only source identifying a link between