9/11 and its effects on US intelligence services

Pre-University Paper, 2013

24 Pages, Grade: 1,0



1 Introduction

2 Intelligence
2.1 Intelligence services in the U.S
2.1.1 History of intelligence in the United States
2.1.2 FBI
2.1.3 CIA
2.1.4 NSA
2.1.5 FISA
2.2 Intelligence-making

3 9/11

4 Intelligence services after 9/11
4.1 Patriot Act
4.1.1 Content Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism Enhanced Surveillance Procedures International Money Laundering And Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001 Protecting the Border Improved Intelligence
4.1.2 Effects and Reactions
4.2 Homeland Security Act
4.2.1 Department of Homeland Security Act Border and Transportation Security Division Emergency Preparedness and Response Division Science and Technology Division Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection
4.2.2 Effects and reactions

5 Conclusion

6 Bibliography

“In God we trust, all others we monitor”1

1 Introduction

Spying is the world's second oldest profession, a saying goes. No matter what era, humans have always relied on information about rivals. The challenge of spying is to gain that information as it is usually covert by the enemy.

In war, as known till the end of the 20th century, those enemies were usually identifiable as such by common characteristics like their culture, opinions or from previous conflicts. Governments therefore did not concentrate on finding new dangers, but on defending those already known. If enemies manage not to get attention, there is a chance the government is unprepared and doesn't fight them, so their attacks can have a bigger impact.

The immense acceleration of communication in the last century along with globalization and its increased mobility for people all over the world, helps enemies to use that weak point for their purposes. They can spread and connect all over the world to avoid identification, but most drastic, threats can be performed right at the target by only few members without getting attention. Terrorism, previously seen as an affair between nations, became a domestic issue.

September 11, 2001 represents the unpreparedness of the Government of the United States against terrorism on domestic territory. Four planes from domestic flights were hijacked by foreigners and used to kill thousands of citizens in the United States. The immense loss made people call for actions taken to defend the emerged danger with new strategies against terrorism respecting circumstances that led to the attacks.

This research paper shows the effect of 9/11 on U.S. intelligence services. Therefore there will be given an overview of intelligence services in the U.S., a short summary of the attacks and a detailed presentation of two essential laws made in response to the events.

2 Intelligence

Being well informed is a necessity in the rivalry of human beings. An individual's abilities by knowledge define its “intelligence”. Darwin's rule of the survival of the fittest includes this intelligence. Whoever has the bigger and better intelligence has the better chances to survive.

As a political term, “intelligence” is information identified, obtained and analyzed to respond to the needs of policy makers.2 Intelligence services gather various information, filter them by relevance for the issue and analyze it to deliver the information needed for decisions. The filtered and concluded information at the end of that process is “intelligence”.

Intelligence is needed to avoid tactic surprise during all actions, but especially during war. But if you know your enemies secrets, you can not only react to them, but also use them to improve your own strategy. So if you know a certain city will be attacked from a certain military base, you not only can evacuate people, but also specifically watch or even attack the enemies military base.

In most democratic countries, and so also in the U.S.A., governments are changing very fast. But national security is permanently on danger and wars don't pause for a country's elections and political reorientation. That's why Intelligence services, separated from the government, are required to provide long-term expertise.

On short-term decisions, intelligence supports the progress of policy by providing objective background information to politicians if they request them.

Often forgotten is the task of the intelligence community to keep gathered information as well as own information secret.3

Unlike most people think, intelligence services do not only monitor their enemies strategies. In the fight for global resources, it has become important to know everything even about friends or neu - trals. Not only their politics, but also the economy, society, environment and even culture is being monitored to get the best “proximate reality” as services prefer calling it rather than “information”.4

Applied to Darwin's theory of evolution, political intelligence helps a society to survive best in the fight for resources, territory and justice.

2.1 Intelligence services in the U.S.

With overall 16 currently active institutions, the U.S.A. has one of the most active intelligence communities spending about 52.6 billion dollars on more than 100.000 employees according to documents revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013.5 However, there are no official numbers on how much money the U.S.A. really spends on the top-secret so-called “black budget”.

In the U.S.A. there's a very strict separation of Intelligence services and the government. It is usu- ally forbidden for any intelligence service to do any other action, but intelligence gathering and pro- ducing. This is important to prevent so called “politicized intelligence” where intelligence services become an own political instance.

However, the past has shown that some services do not always stick to that rule and the border be- tween political actions and actions required to gather information is blurry and hard to define. It also doesn't touch intelligence services' right to make recommendations and express their own opin- ion, even in a report.6 Whether this separation is still intact after 9/11 will be discussed in the Con- clusion in chapter 5.

2.1.1 History of intelligence in the United States

Already in the war against the British army several covert actions and investigations had been orga- nized, in general directed by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay7. This increased the chance for the colonies to win the war. It is therefore not surprising that the history of Intelli- gence gathering in the United States goes back to the very beginning of its first presidential admin- istration.

In 1789 George Washington established a “secret service fund” to finance covert activities. He said that the “necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent and needs not be further urged… (U)pon Secrecy, Success depends in Most Enterprises…and for want of it, they are generally de- feated.”8. Washington's opinion, shared by almost all other government's members, shaped secret services in the U.S. forever. After only two years, “10 percent of the federal budget”9 was spent on the secret service fund. It financed several secret service institutions, many closed, some still exist- ing today like the “Office Of Naval Intelligence”, the oldest still existing secret service in the U.S.10

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941, many people were calling for increased in- telligence capabilities for better predictions and actions against attacks like that. This made Franklin D. Roosevelt establish the “Office of Strategic Services (OSS)” to “gather intelligence from behind enemy lines”11.

Facing the newly emerged cold war after World War Two, Harry Truman signed the National Security Act in 194712, starting one of the most vivid eras of secret services and intelligence gathering in the U.S.A.. This bill created the intelligence community13 and transformed the OSS into the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency14.

5 years later, Truman also signed the creation of the “National Security Agency”15, which monitors foreign communication.

The US-American secret service community had been focused on the cold war for more than 40 years when it all ended in 1991 by the splitting-up of the Soviet Union. It had to reorganize and restructure itself to focus on other threats such as “terrorist groups and rogue nations”16.

2.1.2 FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the main federal intelligence service formed in 1935 from the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation.17

It was created to have better control over crimes that happen between states' borders within the U.S. as well as to guard national security. Due to his constant and massive expansion from a small de - partment with barely 400 agents to the most representative federal crime investigation service, responsibilities grew and are too many to be completely listed here.18

As spying on citizens of the United States was limited to very few cases by law, the FBI massively spied illegally during the 1950s and 60s before there was a legal way to get warrants for their ac - tions. Details will be described in 2.1.5.

2.1.3 CIA

The “Central Intelligence Agency” is one of, if not the most known secret service in the world. Its job is to gain intelligence in foreign affairs, but this doesn't mean they can't act within the U.S.A. if something is concerning national safety.19

It was officially created in 1947, replacing the O.S.S. to form a bigger and more universal institution capable to help specifically in the emerging cold war.20 Therefore a specialty of the CIA is that it is not only an intelligence agency, but is also launches covert missions.21

To gather information “The Office”, as the CIA is also called, relies primarily on Human Intelligence, but also often uses Electronic Intelligence.22

2.1.4 NSA

Unlike the CIA, the “National Security Agency” is a purely information-gathering institution formed in 1952 to be able to intercept electronic signals from all over the world to gather communi- cation- and signal intelligence such as computers, telephones, faxes and satellites, but also aircraft like drones.23 24

Especially in recent times, the NSA plays a central role for other agencies that often rely on its information.

2.1.5 FISA

The National Security Act in 1947 created separate institutions for domestic and foreign intelligence. But during cold war it became clear, those two areas can't be separated just by their defini - tion as US citizens can be involved in foreign affairs as well. The CIA cooperated with the FBI to massively wiretap U.S. citizens that criticized the way of politics in the cold war or protested for civil rights and against their violation by secret services. When those actions were revealed, they received negative perception which made the government sign FISA.25

The “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” from 1978 created the “United States Foreign Intelli- gence Surveillance Court”, called FISC. This court was the only instance to give permission of wiretapping U.S. Citizens. It gave control over spying on Americans yet at the same time made it easier and more effective, if a permission is granted. Since 1994 this also includes unannounced searching of houses and persons. Before, officers needed to give an oath in front of a public court and the suspect to be informed about it being spied on.26

In addition, the act restricted the way, intelligence services share information in order to protect civil rights. Information gained in foreign-concerning research should not be used in domestic cases.27

2.2 Intelligence-making

As the C.I.A. is the secret service most is known about, it is the best example to describe how intelligence gathering works. Other institutions usually work the same way. At the beginning when policy makers request intelligence, there's a “tasking”28 where goals of the intelligence gathering, its challenges and solutions are discussed.

After that comes the best known part of intelligence: the collection. Raw material from overt and covert information is gathered with various methods such as secret agents, wiretaps, drones and oth- ers.

The pure information then has to be processed. Documents are summarized, photos described, videos analyzed, text is being translated and decrypted sources encrypted by specialists.

When all that work is done, the sources can finally be analyzed. They are classified by their credibility and then connected to produce a report. The intelligence is then distributed to the policy makers who requested it. But they don't have to follow any of the recommendations in the report, although usually they do to avoid criticism on failure.29


1 NSA study, Deadly Transmissions, December 1970.

2 Lowenthal, M. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press. (2000). p. 2.

3 cf. Lowenthal, M. (2000). p. 2-3.

4 cf. ibd. p. 5.

5 cf. “Snowden-Dokumente schlüsseln Budget auf.” Süddeutsche.de. (Aug 30, 2013). Sep 25, 2013. <http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/us-geheimdienste-snowden-dokumente-schluesseln-budget-auf-1.1758299>.

6 cf. Lowenthal, M. (2000). p. 4.

7 cf. “History of American Intelligence.” Central Intelligence Agency. (Mar 23, 2013). Sep 19, 2013. <https://www.cia.gov/kids-page/6-12th-grade/operation-history/history-of-american-intelligence.html>.

8 ibd.

9 ibd.

10 cf. “Office of Naval Intelligence.” Office of Naval Intelligence. (Aug 22, 2013). Sep 19, 2013. <http://www.oni.navy.mil/commands/oni.html>.

11 “Key Events in the History of Intelligence and Espionage (sidebar).” Issues & Controversies On File. (Apr 22, 2013). Sep 19, 2013. <http://www.2facts.com/article/ib180141>.

12 cf. ibd.

13 Lowenthal, M. (2000). p. 1.

14 cf. “Key Events in the History of Intelligence and Espionage (sidebar).” Issues & Controversies On File. (Apr 22, 2013). Sep 19, 2013. <http://www.2facts.com/article/ib180141>.

15 cf. ibd.

16 Ibd.

17 cf. Cogswell, E. “Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” American History Online. (2010). Sep 29, 2013. <http://www.fofweb.com/NuHistory/default.asp?ItemID=WE52>.

18 cf. ibd.

19 cf. Swenson, A. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the CIA. Alpha Books. (2002). p. 5.

20 cf. Roberts, P. “Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).” American History Online. (2003). Sep 20, 2013. <http://www.fofweb.com/NuHistory/default.asp?ItemID=WE52>.

21 cf. “CIA Vision, Mission & Values.” Central Intelligence Agency. Nov 10, 2013. <https://www.cia.gov/mobile/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values.html>.

22 cf. Swenson, A. (2002). p. 6.

23 cf. “About NSA - NSA/CSS.” NSA/CSS. (Nov 29, 2011). Oct 9, 2013. <http://www.nsa.gov/about/index.shtml>.

24 cf. Thomas, W. “National Security Agency (NSA).” Encyclopedia of American Military History. Oct 9, 2013. <http://www.fofweb.com/NuHistory/default.asp?ItemID=WE52>.

25 cf. "USA Patriot Act."Issues & Controversies On File. (Dec 13, 2002). Oct 29, 2013. <http://www.2facts.com/article/i0702760>.

26 cf. ibd.

27 cf. ibd

28 Swenson, A. (2002). p. 8.

29 cf. ibd. p. 9.

Excerpt out of 24 pages


9/11 and its effects on US intelligence services
Wissenschaftspropädeutisches Seminar US-Politics
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ISBN (Book)
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September 11, domestic terrorism, us intelligence services, patriot act
Quote paper
Felix Nölte (Author), 2013, 9/11 and its effects on US intelligence services, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/311184


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