Counterterrorism and Public Perception

Counterterrorism and Public Perception This paper is designated at looking at the way information is shared or communicated right from the Federal level of governance, down to the State, local and tribal governments. In addition, the paper assesses the impact of the media on the type of information to be communicated to the public. It also looks into the reaction or the effect it has to the public and the type of information to be communicated to which agency. This is with relevance to the current or impending terrorist attacks or those activities that are considered to be a national security threat.Counterterrorism and Public PerceptionSince the September 11 tragedy, the federal government of the U.S. has been on the watch out for any suspicious activities that may be a security threat to the state and the general public at large. This process of ensuring public and national security is sometimes made even harder in cases where the information is leaked or made available to the public. Sharing of Information at Federal LevelPresently, information sharing is handled by multiple sharing environments that are intended at serving a handful of agencies: defense, intelligence, foreign affairs, law enforcement and homeland security (Homeland Security Council, 2007). The role of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in the Federal Government is to analyze all information and intelligence related to terror activities and to provide support to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This includes other agencies in the same field to fulfill their tasks to disseminate information that is related to terrorism (Homeland Security Council, 2007). Through a secure network, NCTC Online, the information is shared by NCTC and the whole federal community by producing comprehensive analytical products that are federally coordinated. thus the information reaches numerous users in the whole Federal Counterterrorism community.The Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group formed within NCTC is aimed at facilitating the production of information related to terrorism that is federally coordinated with intention to disseminate it to the State, local, tribal and the private sector (Magumi, Wood, Mileti, and Bourque, 2008).Sharing of Information with State, Local, and Tribal GovernmentsIn order to stop or warn about an impending terror attack, information has to be available about the action. According to Homeland Security Policy (2009), this type of information is usually gathered by the State, local and tribal government officials during their normal law enforcement duties. These governments perform their counterterrorism duties within a broader context as they are to protect the public, offering them with urgent and non-urgent services whenever required. As Magumi, Wood, Mileti and Bourque (2008) assert that State, local and tribal governments require timely, credible and actionable details about terrorists, their organizations, financiers, probable targets, pre-terror indicators, and other events that may influence the preventive and protective positions of the authorities. It is essential that all authorities share the information required to prevent or deter terrorist activities, and this can be achieved via a framework that according to Homeland Security Policy (2009):i. Develops, scrutinizes, circulates, and assimilates information gathered at State, local and tribal governments with that at the Federal level.ii. Enables federal agencies and departments to work hand in hand to provide information in a manner that satisfies both governments and their needs.The public will always want to be aware of what the authorities are doing to fight the terror attacks in the country (National Center, 2006). The Federal government has always made sure that the public accesses suitable information and not that which will lead to unnecessary tension. National Center (2006) argues that in some cases, the involvement of the media may be helpful since they help in revealing many secrets to the public, but in turn, these secrets may result in unrests and thus criminal activities may follow.ReferencesHomeland Security Council. (2007). National Strategy for Homeland Security.Homeland Security Policy Institute Policy and Research Forum (2009). FEMA: Capabilities, coordination, and capacity for the future, Retrieved August 14, 2012, http://www.gwumc.edu/hspi/FEMA_Paulison.htmMagumi Kano, Michele M. Wood, Dennis S. Mileti and Linda B. Bourque. (2008). Public response to terrorism: findings from the national survey of disaster experiences and preparedness, Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center, California,. Retrieved August 14, 2012, http://www.ph.ucla.edu/sciprc/pdf/NC+START+Descriptive+Report.pdfNational Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) (2006). Where the American public stands on terrorism, security, and disaster preparedness, New York, NCDP.

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