Actors, agencies, and principles of homeland securitycontains unread
This week we will focus more specifically on those involved in homeland security and the methods used. We have several readings this week, The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 will be our focus to a degree. There is a summary of the act provided so you don’t have to review the entire act. I would, however, suggest looking at some of the sections that deal with the idea of spying on American citizens. PPD-28 on signals intelligence (SIGINT) also addresses the limits posed on intelligence collection. The Miller and DeYoung articles look at Obama’s use of drones to target and kill terrorists, and whether or not it was legal and moral. Scott Shane looks into the funding of US intelligence agencies and how that money is used. The Frontline video “Spying on the Homefront” goes into more about NSA’s collection of communications of American citizens. Finally, we have remarks by Obama and Trump related to the focus on keeping the US homeland safe from terrorism, as well as the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy (2017).
For our discussion this week, let’s consider the role of the intelligence community (IC) in keeping the US safe from terrorist attacks. Based on this week’s readings (no outside sources necessary), has the IC acted in accordance with the USA PATRIOT Act and PPD-28 in how it has conducted itself? Are its actions justified given the threat posed by terrorist groups? Did the Obama and Trump administrations address the threat adequately and use the resources at their disposal in a legal and moral manner? Share some thoughts on just one or two of these questions and let others weigh in. Remember to cite the course materials used as we have a lot of materials this week and your classmates may want to follow up on the source of your comments.