The intelligence community has a primary role of ensuring that the United States remains safe. The pattern of criminal activities witnessed over the recent past shows that there is a dramatic change in terms of factors that pose threat to national security. In the past, international terrorism, international drug cartels, and hostile nations posed the greatest threat to the country’s national security. These three factors are still major issues to the national security, but a new trend is emerging that is very worrying. Homegrown terrorism is emerging as a serious threat to the country’s national security.
We will write a custom Essay on Terror Attacks and Intelligence Community in the US specifically for you
301 certified writers online
On April 19, 1995, Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh successfully executed a terror attack on Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 others (Ratcliffe, 2009). The building that was the target of the bombing was completely destroyed and 324 other buildings in close vicinity were destroyed. The damage caused was estimated to be over USD 652 million worth of property. At that time, the term homegrown terrorism had not been used because the intelligence community believed that terrorism was an external threat.
Christopher Dorner shooting which took place on February 3, 2013 resulted in death of 5 people and injury of six others. This was a clear indication that homegrown terrorism was becoming a major problem in the country. Two months later on April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing occurred. It resulted into death of 6 people while 280 other people sustained varying degree of injuries, including a police officer (Silinsky, 2016). The Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016 killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. A common factor in all these recent terror attacks is that they are organized and executed either by an individual or two to three people (Hartman, 2016). They do not have sophisticated networks and they involve people that in most of the cases are not even under the watch of intelligence community.
Currently, the intelligence community in the United States is working closely with the international community to help identify people with criminal backgrounds who might have migrated into the country. The intelligence community also has its officers spread within the country to help identify individuals who could be sympathizing or working closely with the international terror groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda (Gabor, 2016). Since the Orlando nightclub shooting, the intelligence community has been keen on monitoring the kind of communications that people have on their Facebook or Twitter account. The Orlando attack would have been avoided if the intelligence community were to monitor the activities of the attacker on his Facebook account. It was clear that he had planned an attack and was readying himself to execute the plan.
The intelligence community will need to do more in order to overcome this problem (Goodman, 2015). It will have come up with better ways of mitigating the threat in order to protect American population. The intelligence agencies must win confidence and trust of the public and create an environment where every member of the American community becomes part of the intelligence community. Platforms should be created where members of the public can report suspicious activities without the identity of the reporters being known (Tanenhaus & Zimring, 2014). Once a report is made, members of the intelligence community should make an effort to follow up and investigate the suspected activities.
Gabor, T. (2016). Confronting gun violence in America. Zürich, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goodman, M. (2015). Future crimes: Everything is connected, everyone is vulnerable and what we can do about it. New York, NY: Springer.
Hartman, S. (2016). Fierce hope: Why the only truth worth living for is greater than the empty promises of our chaotic world. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Ratcliffe, J. (2009). Strategic thinking in criminal intelligence. Annandale, VA: Federation.
Silinsky, M. (2016). Jihad and the West: Black flag over Babylon. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.
Tanenhaus, D. S., & Zimring, F. E. (2014). Choosing the future for American juvenile justice. New York, NY: New York University Press.