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The Challenge of Domestic Intelligence in a Free Society

The Challenge of Domestic Intelligence in a Free Society: A Multidisciplinary Look at the Creation of a U.S. Domestic Counterterrorism Intelligence Agency

Agnes Gereben Schaefer
Darcy Noricks
Benjamin W. Goldsmith
Genevieve Lester
Jeremiah Goulka
Michael A. Wermuth
Martin C. Libicki
David R. Howell
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    The Challenge of Domestic Intelligence in a Free Society
    Book Description:

    Whether U.S. terrorism-prevention efforts match the threat continues to be central in policy debate. Part of this debate is whether the United States needs a dedicated domestic counterterrorism intelligence agency. This book examines such an agency's possible capability, comparing its potential effectiveness with that of current efforts, and its acceptability to the public, as well as various balances and trade-offs involved.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4703-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    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...

  9. PART I The U.S. Context for Domestic Counterterrorism Intelligence

    • CHAPTER TWO The History of Domestic Intelligence in the United States: Lessons for Assessing the Creation of a New Counterterrorism Intelligence Agency
      (pp. 13-48)
      Agnes Gereben Schaefer

      The history of domestic intelligence in the United States dates back to the founding of the country and, when examined closely, reveals cyclical episodes in which concerns about spies and “enemies within” have spurred increased domestic intelligence activity. This overview of the historical development of domestic intelligence in the United States reveals two common themes that have arisen during those cyclical episodes that are particularly relevant to considering the creation of a new domestic intelligence agency:

      the struggle to organize political institutions around intelligence and counterterrorism (CT) and determine their appropriate scope and responsibilities

      the attempt to balance civil liberties...

    • CHAPTER THREE Current Domestic Intelligence Efforts in the United States
      (pp. 49-78)
      Brian A. Jackson, Darcy Noricks and Benjamin W. Goldsmith

      In considering the creation of a new domestic counterterrorism (CT) intelligence agency, the United States is not starting with a blank slate. Both before and since September 11, 2001, a variety of organizations have had roles touching on CT, meaning that there are already many individual organizations with responsibilities that could be considered domestic intelligence.¹ Furthermore, a variety of other security and related missions involve domestic intelligence activities. Efforts to control illegal drug smuggling into the country have long had associated intelligence efforts; law enforcement activities focused on controlling money-laundering involve significant financial intelligence infrastructures; and the transition to what...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Societal Acceptability of Domestic Intelligence
      (pp. 79-104)
      Genevieve Lester

      This chapter explores the societal acceptability of a domestic counterterrorism (CT) intelligence agency. While it is quite clear that the government iscapableof creating a new agency to gather and analyze domestic intelligence, the question addressed in this chapter is how acceptable such an agency might be to the American public. Not only does American democracy have governing institutions and legal structures different from those of other countries discussed in international case studies of domestic intelligence institutions (Jackson, 2008), but Americans have expectations about such issues as civil liberties, privacy, and individualism that may differ from those in other...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Law and the Creation of a New Domestic Intelligence Agency in the United States
      (pp. 105-120)
      Jeremiah Goulka and Michael A. Wermuth

      The idea of creating a new domestic intelligence agency raises a host of legal and constitutional questions. This chapter discusses the institutional and structural legal issues involved in creating a new agency. We examine several legal issues that would arise if the President or Congress should decide to create a new domestic intelligence agency. First, we discuss whether Congress or the President has the power to create a domestic intelligence agency, as an independent agency or as part of an existing agency, and whether it can transfer functions or units of other agencies to a new or existing agency. Resolving...

  10. PART II Exploring Different Approaches for Thinking About Creating a U.S. Domestic Counterterrorism Intelligence Agency

    • CHAPTER SIX Weighing Organizational Models for a New Domestic Intelligence Agency
      (pp. 123-148)
      Genevieve Lester and Brian A. Jackson

      Throughout most of the chapters in this volume, the creation of a new domestic intelligence agency has been treated as a singular action, and many of the practical details of what creating such an agency might mean have been left unexplored. In this chapter, we explore several alternative design options for how a new agency could be organized. The discussion addresses structure, institutional characteristics, and fit with the specific U.S. intelligence and law enforcement context.

      Some scholars have used insights from organizational-theory literature to assess how well intelligence organizations have adapted their missions and mandates to absorb the requirements of...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Privacy and Civil Liberties Protections in a New Domestic Intelligence Agency
      (pp. 149-178)
      Martin C. Libicki and David R. Howell

      Creating a domestic intelligence agency would likely represent a protracted effort to collect and analyze intelligence in the U.S. homeland. More domestic intelligence collection, in turn, means more information collected on individuals—certainly on individuals of interest, but putatively also on individuals who are not yet of interest but who might be labeled as such if more were known about them. More information collection, in turn, brings attention to privacy issues of the sort that merit consideration even in the absence of a domestic intelligence agency. In one sense, the balance between security and privacy can be measured by the...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Exploring Measures of Effectiveness for Domestic Intelligence: Addressing Questions of Capability and Acceptability
      (pp. 179-204)
      Brian A. Jackson

      The basic mission of domestic counterterrorism (CT) intelligence is thepreventionof terrorist attacks by identifying and disrupting the activities of small violent groups inside the country before they can cause harm. While that mission is straightforward to say, determining whether one way of pursuing it is better than another—e.g., whether it is in the nation’s interest to create a new domestic intelligence agency or make other changes in existing activities—requires a reasonable way of defining whatbettermeans. Previous discussions in this volume have discussed different organizational and other options related to the design of domestic intelligence...

    • CHAPTER NINE Exploring the Utility for Considering Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Domestic Intelligence Policy Change
      (pp. 205-238)
      Brian A. Jackson

      As part of weighing a proposed change in public policy, analysts frequently attempt to calculate the policy’s expected benefits and compare them to the expected costs of making the change. A focus on cost-benefit—type analyses has been prominent in a variety of policy areas, with the intent of ensuring that public policies achieve the goals they are intended to and do so at an acceptable cost. Though the use of these techniques is more common in regulatory areas, the extensive changes in policy that have occurred since September 11, 2001, in response to the threat of terrorism have led...

    • CHAPTER TEN Conclusion
      (pp. 239-240)

      From its inception, the research effort that produced the chapters of this volume was not intended to produce a recommendation on whether the United States should create any of the types of organizations that have been put forward in policy debate as potential domestic counterterrorism (CT) intelligence agencies. Even if that had been the intent of the effort, providing an objective and final answer would be impossible, given the large number of factors that shape the decision, the strong effect of threat perception, and the influence of a range of personal and other preferences on the relative importance of the...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-284)