Considering the Creation of a Domestic Intelligence Agency in the United States

Considering the Creation of a Domestic Intelligence Agency in the United States: Lessons from the Experiences of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom

Peter Chalk
Richard Warnes
Lindsay Clutterbuck
Aidan Kirby
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Considering the Creation of a Domestic Intelligence Agency in the United States
    Book Description:

    With terrorism still prominent on the U.S. agenda, whether the country's prevention efforts match the threat the United States faces continues to be central in policy debate. One element of this debate is questioning whether the United States should create a dedicated domestic intelligence agency. Case studies of five other democracies--Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK--provide lessons and common themes that may help policymakers decide. The authors find that* most of the five countries separate the agency that conducts domestic intelligence gathering from any arrest and detention powers* each country has instituted some measure of external oversight over its domestic intelligence agency* liaison with other international, foreign, state, and local agencies helps ensure the best sharing of information* the boundary between domestic and international intelligence activities may be blurring.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4823-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figure and Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In the current environment, the threat of terrorism is a major shaping force of many nations’ international and domestic security policies. Nonstate groups with the intent and capability to take violent action are a reality in many countries given the existence of international movements, such as al Qaeda, that have the capacity to direct or inspire violence across the world, thereby creating another source of threat and risk. The threat of terrorist activity extends across a wide spectrum, from attacks causing little in the way of injury or damage to the potential for large-scale incidents. Although the probability of such...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Australia
    (pp. 13-42)
    Peter Chalk

    Australia has been largely free of domestic and imported terrorism in the past and still does not face the level of threat experienced by states in North America and Western Europe.¹ However, there is little question that the country’s overall risk profile has been substantially heightened as a result of former Prime Minister John Howard’s close alliance with the United States and his government’s decision to host, lead, or support the following prominent international events: the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney; the 2002 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane; the 1999–2000 International Force for East Timor intervention,² which...

    (pp. 43-64)
    Peter Chalk

    Canada has been largely free of indigenously based terrorism in recent years, with the main manifestations of current domestic political extremism arising from the activities of neo-Nazis and violent fringe elements of ecological, animal-rights, and antiglobalization movements. However, the country has been decisively affected by the spillover effects of overseas conflicts and continues to act as a highly important hub of political, financial, and logistical support for Sikh and Islamic radicalism as well as ethnonationalist separatist movements originating in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and Africa (CSIS, 2005a, p. 5; CSIS, 2007b, p. 6).

    With the possible exception...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR France
    (pp. 65-92)
    Richard Warnes

    Of all the European countries, France may have the most experience in using intelligence to counter both insurgency and terrorism. As of this writing, the principal domestic intelligence organization in France is the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire [Directorate of Territorial Surveillance] (DST),¹ but there is also the Direction Centrale des Renseignements Généraux [Central Directorate of General Intelligence] (DCRG); both organizations are controlled by the Police Nationale. Under the overarching direction of the Ministère de l’Intérieur, the DST is equivalent to the UK’s MI5; the DCRG is equivalent to the UK Special Branch, a police intelligence organization. We focus...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Germany
    (pp. 93-114)
    Richard Warnes

    Among Western nations, Germany has a unique domestic intelligence structure in which numerous independent intelligence agencies reflect the national administrative structure of the 16 nationalLänder[states].¹ While the Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution] (BfV) has an overarching federal role based in both historical legacy and the concept ofTrennungsgebot[principle of separation], its primary role is to facilitate cooperation and coordination rather than exercise any direct legal control or powers over the 16 state-based Landesämter für Verfassungsschutz [regional intelligence organizations] (LfVs), which are equal in status to the BfV. Thus, much of what...

  12. CHAPTER SIX The United Kingdom
    (pp. 115-142)
    Lindsay Clutterbuck

    Throughout the long history of the development of a UK CT intelligence capability, there has never been, apart from the two World Wars, a more intense, dynamic, and challenging era than the current one. The end of the Cold War had a profound effect on the UK intelligence agencies and, in particular, on MI5. Substantial changes to the service’s role and the way it did business were already under way by 9/11, but in the aftermath of those attacks, the changes have been of a greater magnitude and are far more profound than anyone could have predicted.

    These changes are...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Domestic Intelligence Agencies After September 11, 2001: How Five Nations Have Grappled with the Evolving Threat
    (pp. 143-160)
    Aidan Kirby

    Since 9/11, many nations have struggled with both policy and legal challenges as they come to terms with the rapidly evolving security environment and the role their domestic intelligence agencies should play in it. In their efforts to better prepare for current and emerging threats, some nations have made significant changes to their domestic intelligence structures and practices. The emergence of increasingly sophisticated communication technology; mounting instances of amateur, homegrown terror cells; the prospect of the global diffusion of low-cost yet lethal tactics; and suicide attacks and the use of improvised explosives have combined to make domestic security more complicated....

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Conclusions: Lessons for the United States
    (pp. 161-170)
    Peter Chalk, Lindsay Clutterbuck, Brian A. Jackson and Richard Warnes

    In considering the creation of a domestic intelligence agency in the United States, the experiences of other countries that already have such agencies can be instructive. However, differences in the legal, social, and historical circumstances in those countries and in the public’s attitude and reaction to intelligence and security efforts—among other idiosyncrasies—make it impossible to simply extrapolate the experiences of others and use them to predict the best way of creating such an organization in the United States. This approach would also not be able to accurately gauge whether the organization would be successful if it were created...

  15. References
    (pp. 171-194)