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The US Intelligence Community Role in Countering Terror Threats

The U.S. intelligence community is comprised of many agencies that integrate their efforts to fight crime and terror. Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States charged the Department of Homeland Security with the responsibility for ensuring that the nation was secured through the development of different lines of defense. Homeland Security has invested in the development of both internal and external intelligence agencies to enhance security in the United States. Homeland security has three main responsibilities, which include security intelligence, protective security of natural resources, and security enforcement. The intelligence security is one of the most important roles of the department.

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One of the roles of the intelligence community is the collection of data and information that cannot be obtained by public means. The information is normally related to foreign persons, events, activities, and places that are important to the government and the security system of the nation. Intelligence collectors are charged with the responsibility of pursuing the knowledge that is missing from the different security agencies. The efficiency of the intelligence community lies in its ability to seal the informational gaps present in the government and the national security system. In essence, the intelligence community has a role to collect intelligence information for the United States and its allies. It is important for the intelligence community to understand the types of threats that the nation needs to counter, and it is always vital to understand the threats that the allies face.

The main reason for understanding the threats faced by friendly countries is to secure the lives of Americans living or visiting the respective countries. The United States is also committed to protecting its close allies on the grounds of protecting its national interests. The intelligence community collects information through human intelligence, which entails interrogation of suspects and spying on other nations and terror groups. Technical means are also employed where human intelligence fails. The community is also notorious for collecting information on open-source platforms that are publicly available.

The intelligence community is also charged with the role of analyzing the collected information and developing countermeasures to fight crime and terrorism. While the agencies involved have access to publicly available information, most of their analysis is based on information collected through technical manipulations of information systems and the deployment of investigators to look into various matters. The analysis process entails making sense of the bits of information collected through different methods. The process is crucial to enhancing security because the efficiency of adding up the raw data into meaningful information makes a big difference in the security status of the nation.

The Department of Homeland Security uses intelligence information as the main source of information to fight terror. Having spies and undercover detectives deployed to different areas works as a good source of intelligence information. The collectors and analysts of the information have the obligation of maintaining confidentiality of information because the main goal of the agencies is to prevent the success of the plans made by terrorists and other criminals. The intelligence community is also responsible for counterintelligence. This role entails ensuring that other intelligence communities from different countries and organizations do not retrieve vital information from the government. The intelligence community also has the responsibility of executing covert actions.


Accuracy is one of the biggest challenges that the intelligence community faces. The collection of data and information does not always lead to effective analysis, and the American intelligence community has experienced numerous cases of failure in the process of analyzing intelligence information. It is apparent that even the most sophisticated intelligence agencies experience failure once in a while. Inaccuracy in analyzing data and information can have catastrophic effects on national security. The intelligence community has also continually faced the challenge of acquiring qualified personnel and the relevant equipment to enhance its efficiency.

The government is responsible for funding the Homeland Security, but the funds are not always allocated to the relevant operations. The presence of several independent agencies in the community also brings in the challenge of focusing on a single issue. Each agency is normally engrossed in the collection and analysis of information about different events; thus, making corporation difficult.

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There is also a big limitation in relating different forms of intelligence in the community. For instance, the human intelligence and technical intelligence is sometimes difficult to articulate into meaningful information. It is also quite difficult to collect information on some target countries and organizations. For instance, some of the terror groups like the Al-Qaeda and Taliban have continually evaded being captured by the intelligence community because of their efficiency in developing secret communication channels. The Intelligence community has also had some of its spies in different parts of the world arrested and assassinated owing to negligence and inability to maneuver through foreign counterintelligence agencies. The agencies in the community have the obligation to prioritize the most pressing terror issues, and sometimes they fail to meet this requirement.

It is also common for agencies to allocate a lot of resources to cases that never get to yield any helpful results. This failure leads to the wastage of national resources, which may be translated as inefficiency in the intelligence community. Analysts in the community sometimes face the difficulty of determining the authenticity of raw data and information, and they have given false reports over and again.

Failure in countering terrorist threats has been witnessed in the United States, despite the active role that the intelligence community claims to play. For instance, in 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred under the watch of various security agencies, and there was an evident gap in the availability of intelligence about the attack. The primary role of the intelligence community is the elimination of terrorist activities in the nation, and such an incidence reveals that the efficiency of the community is still challenged. Confidentiality of information is also a big challenge that the intelligence community faces in some situations.

Intelligence communities from other nations and terror groups have had access to some vital information from the security agencies in the United States before, and this compromises the security of the nation. The intelligence community also faces the limitation of policies in the nation and the international community, which hinder some of the necessary operations. This hindrance prompts the respective agencies to use some unorthodox means of acquiring information, which might be translated as unethical conduct. The intelligence community is associated with secrecy in some operations, and these secrets may also pose a challenge to the respective security agencies because they spy on each other. There has always been the suspicion about the ethical conduct of the agencies in the intelligence community, but the American society is more concerned about their safety.

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