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Sharing Terror Data: Criminal Analysis Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2022

On September 11, 2001, a well-planned and devastating attack was directed to the United States of America. An Islamic extremist group called al Qaeda sponsored nineteen terrorists to hijack four planes and use them to cause havoc in the country. After this incident, the need for the establishment of a stronger network of homeland security was ignited and major policy changes were enacted.

The changes were then focused on increasing the organization and cooperative information flow between the departments of the government. The FBI continuing investigation of the attacks to identify the hijackers and their sponsors, codenamed “PENTTBOM,” represents the largest investigation ever in the history of the agency.

At the peak of the investigation, 7,000 of the FBI’s then 11,000 special agents labored relentlessly with other criminal agencies to bring the culprits to book and prevent the occurrence of any future attacks. To achieve these targets, the investigators closely followed several hundreds of crucial leading information as well as tips from the public. The FBI investigation identified nineteen terrorists who were directly responsible for the attacks within a few days after the incident and on September 27, 2001, the agency released their full details, including their photos, names, and possible nationalities (The FBI, n.d).

Through analyzing their intelligence data, the FBI agents were able to link the hijackers with Osama bin Laden who is the leader of the international terror group called al Qaeda. To prevent the occurrence of any future attacks, the agency proposed the implementation of strategies, procedures, and means of preparing, preventing, and managing any future attacks on the country. This led to the declaration of the War on Terror by President George W. Bush.

In embracing unity of effort, the FBI shared crucial intelligence information with other governmental and private security agencies. Since no agency could solve the problem on its own, the FBI turned its mainframe system into a decentralized network. On November 27, 2002, the 9/11 Commission, chaired by the former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, was established with the mandate of investigating the circumstances around the historic attacks on U.S. soil.

Although the finding of the commission has been a subject of criticism, it made more insights into the FBI investigation. Following the attacks, the FBI worked jointly with the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), consisting of sixteen main agencies, in collecting investigative leads. Some of these agencies, including the FBI, are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA), National Security Agency (NSA), and Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A).

The agencies worked separately and together in collecting, analyzing, and producing foreign and domestic intelligence that was necessary for finding the root cause of the terrorist attacks. The members of the IC worked together to collect the essential information that was needed by the President and his associates for the performance of their duties and to conduct special activities in fighting the threat of terrorism at home and abroad (Wark, 2005).

In conclusion, the tragic events that took place within the borders of the U.S. on September 11 brought major effects to criminal investigations in the country. Amidst these difficult circumstances, the FBI, working jointly with others, responded with unbelievable courage (Yonah & Kraft, 2007). Currently, the agency is stronger and even more ready to confront the terrorist threats that can jeopardize the existence of this great country.

Reference list

The FBI. (N.d). 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM). U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. Web.

Wark, W. K. (2005). Twenty-first century intelligence. New York: Frank Cass.

Yonah, A., & Kraft, M. (2007). Evolution of U.S. counterterrorism policy. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Security International.

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