Who has the best lights in town? Vote now for your favorite in our holiday lights contest.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Looking on the recent terrorist attack that occurred in Boston, it’s clear that the lessons from the past continue to persist unabated in our intelligence organizations.
After the terrorist attack of 9/11, then President George W. Bush sought enactment of the U.S. Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001), which was signed into law October 2001.
This vital and ever-evolving law allowed federal law enforcement to monitor terrorist activity both inside the United States and around the world in order to keep us all safe.
Those powers included the expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allowed law enforcement to monitor outgoing electronic communications to jihadist and radical websites and blogs that railed against the West, in particular the U.S., as a way of identifying those who would commit terrorist acts while keeping the citizenry safe.
Two of the more widely known terrorist acts in the United States were the Fort Hood massacre of November 2009 and the attempted bombing of Times Square in May 2010. In both cases, the terrorists who committed these acts where being monitored under the FISA law and communicating with a known terrorist named Anwar al-Awalki, eventually killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.
Fast-forward to Boston. U.S. federal law enforcement officials were notified by Russian Intelligence Services regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s jihad radicalization as a precautionary and professional warning. This warning was not the forecast of a local weatherman announcing, “Chance of rain, 50 percent,” but rather from a renowned intelligence agency that prior to the ending of the Cold War and becoming an ally was of great concern to the United States and around the world. The agency was actively involved in countless acts of espionage and assassinations, a master of intelligence and collection.
It’s important to note that Massachusetts is one of 22 states with more than one Joint Terrorism Task Force and an Intelligence Fusion Cell that collects information on terrorist threats and supports its surrounding neighbors, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
In terms of Department of Homeland Security money, Massachusetts ranks 20th in overall spending on the global war on terror and is considered a 21 out of the 50 (50 being the lowest threat) states based on a threat matrix by the Department of Justice in 2009.
Did the federal government share its intelligence regarding the Tsarnaev brothers’ interests and travels with the Boston Police Department? And if not, why?
If spending billions of dollars to keep us all safe results in a never ending turf war between federal and local law enforcement, where’s the accountability?
If the loss of almost 3,000 citizens from Sept. 11, 2001, was not enough to effect meaningful change within the intelligence community, maybe the beautiful and angelic smile of 8-year-old victim Martin Richard, who was tragically killed while watching the race with his family, will serve as a reminder that it’s the public’s safety the intelligence community serves, and not itself.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us