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Terrorism Liaison Officer’s Responsibilities Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022

Session Long Project

As a Terrorism Liaison Officer or TLO, it is important to properly adhere to the duties of sharing valuable information regarding terrorism or related activities. The given case is an illustration of a false positive conclusion of the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center or RTTAC analysts. A journalist, driver, and other innocent civilians were killed and injured because they were mistaken for real terrorists. This can be even considered as a case of war crime committed by Apache personnel, where they intentionally or unintentionally killed civilians. Therefore, it is critical to report the incident to the United States Department of Homeland Security and other relevant agencies.

Advice to the Analyst

The analyst was involved in the assessment of the case and contributed to false-positive reporting regarding the journalist and other civilians being terrorists. She needs to report it as soon as possible to relevant authorities so that she will get reduced punishment. According to the Code of Ethics, truth and integrity are key elements of professionalism among intelligence agencies (“Principles of professional ethics for the Intelligence Community,” 2014). The case must also be reported by TLO because it is his or her responsibility to share intelligence on terrorism and related activities. The event is an example of the latter category, where analysts failed to properly conduct their jobs. It is stated that “TLOs serve as the point-of-contact within their agencies for questions and information regarding terrorism, and terrorism-related tips and leads” (“Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO),” n.d.). Although there is no penalty for failure to report a crime, some professions mandate such action, and punishment can range from a fine to being convicted as an accomplice (Wallin, 2020). Therefore, the incident will be reported, and the analysts should also proceed to do so in order to be exposed to the situation.

TLO’s Duty

As a TLO officer, it is mandatory to report the video to the supervisors because the job requirement is based on information sharing. The main reason is that it is stated: “A TLO shall disseminate terrorism-related information and intelligence to personnel within their agencies’ in an efficient and lawful manner. TLOs are responsible for verifying that all personnel with whom they share terrorism-related information have a valid need- and right-to-know the information” (“Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO),” n.d.). In other words, it is a TLO’s responsibility to disseminate such information within the relevant agency, which includes supervisors. Therefore, professional ethics must be adhered to, which also involves acting as a source of information for terrorism-related activities. In this case, such action is manifested in a disturbing incident of killing innocent civilians, who were not members of a terrorist group.


However, it is critical for TLO to stay within his or her assigned duty boundaries in order to avoid being implicated. It is stated: “In most cases, the TLO position is a collateral duty. TLOs shall not independently investigate tips or leads unless directed to do so by the proper authorities i.e. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), Fusion Center, etc., and stay within the responsibilities of their assigned duties” (“Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO),” n.d.). Therefore, TLO should only report to supervisors and agencies without further conclusion-making or investigation. This will ensure that TLO will not face any troubles regarding going over his or her duties. The report itself should act as notification and no party needs to be condemned or suspected because it will imply investigative action.

It is important to note that the value of the objective side cannot be overestimated. The disposition of the criminal legal norm reveals the essence of the criminal law prohibition, in particular, its external manifestation, which makes it possible to correctly qualify this or that socially dangerous act. In addition, the objective side as one of the elements of the corpus delicti makes it possible to establish its existence as a legal basis for criminal liability. Signs of the actual party are taken into account when sentencing. The factors of the objective side include an action or inaction that encroaches on one or another object. An obligatory feature of the objective party is an act such as an act, that is, the active socially dangerous behavior of a person. In this case, the wrong decision will be manifested in inaction. In this case, this is passive behavior, failure to comply with duties, dictates of the law, or other bylaws that the person should and could have performed. The obligation of an act for all crimes means that in the absence of such, there is no crime.

The main reason for the case falling under TLO’s circle of responsibilities is the fact that the officers need to be flexible in fulfilling their functions. Although the incident is not directly the case of terrorism, it is related to the subject. It is stated: “The TLO should be flexible to fulfill other expectations and/or functions that may be determined by each individual RTTAC” (“Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO),” n.d.). Being adjustable is critical for TLO, and this case involves the mentioned requirement for the officers.


The incident also involves a journalist attack or violence against journalism professionals. The role of media in terrorism is a critical one, and thus, the situation is made more severe due to the killing of Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen. The reveal can spark a social division and promote the further glorification of terrorism and make the public develop a negative attitude towards anti-terrorist agencies. The sphere of mass media, or the information sphere, plays a massive role in modern society. Mass media activity is one of the main state and public functions.

The most important subject is journalists, whose professional activities are related to the dissemination of social information, which has great persuasive power, actively influencing the mass audience. Journalists suffer from injuries and injuries doing their work in hot spots, at rallies, demonstrations, covering events in the zone of natural and human-made emergencies. In some cases, journalists are victims of criminal attacks or targeting errors for being present at a crime scene. In some cases, such attacks may take place outside the workplace. At the same time, the lack of clear legislative and regulatory criteria for establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between incidents and the professional activities of a journalist leads to accidents.

It is important to understand that the specificity of terrorism lies in the blatant demonstrative nature of violent action, calculated on a preventive intimidating effect on society. It also applies to countermeasures, where false-positive measures are taken against innocent individuals. It is stated that human rights are commonly violated in the fight against terrorism, which raises a number of ethical concerns (Hersh, 2016), This basic goal-setting is characteristic of all areas of terrorism and related activities. When carrying out terrorist actions, their organizers stake on the informational effect, which becomes imperative in the minds and practical activities of extremists. If terror fails to generate an information response in public circles, it will mean that it is useless as a weapon of social conflict. The logic of terrorist activity cannot be fully understood without an adequate assessment of the indicative nature of the terrorist attack.

The issue is also escalated due to the journalist being ethnically or racially stereotyped or appropriated as a member of the terrorist group. Therefore, both military and analysts can be condemned for racism, which will worsen the case. However, the analysts should still report the incident in order to fulfill their professional duty and receive reduced punishment. Therefore, the consideration of these relevant factors implies that the analysts will need to adhere to her responsibilities and report the misconduct on the agency’s part.


In conclusion, the suggestion to the analysts revolves around reporting the incident to the respective authorities, such as the Department of Homeland Security. The penalty and its severity will primarily depend on the expert’s involvement and the judge’s decision. However, being among the initial reporters most likely will either eliminate the punishment or reduce it by a significant margin. As TLO, it is paramount that the case will be reported to supervisors and other agencies because the list of duties clearly mandates such actions. In addition, although the shooting is not precise is an act of terror, it is related to terrorism and the professional misconduct of the analysts. The incident also involves a journalist, which means that there is an instance of violence against journalists.


Hersh, M. A. (2016). Terrorism, human rights and ethics: A modelling approach. Journal of Socialomics, 5(2), 1-13.

Principles of professional ethics for the Intelligence Community. (2014). Web.

Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO). (n.d.). Web.

Wallin, P. (2020). Can you be charged for knowing about a crime and not saying anything? Wallin & Klarich. Web.

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