The 9/11 attacks in the United States led to the World Trade Center disaster, which was a major wake-up call for the authorities in the security field of the nation. The disaster influenced the development of the Department of Homeland, which was aimed at enhancing security for the major infrastructure of the nation. The fight against terrorism also compelled the government to develop an integrated security system in the major entry points of the nations, including the airports, boundaries, and waterways.
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Over the year, the government has financed the development of research programs to enhance the capabilities of the forensic officers charged with ensuring that potential terror threats are eliminated before they can be executed. While the security agencies have failed in several instances such as the terrorist attacks in the Boston Marathon event, they have also succeeded in eliminating major security threats in the nation.
Forensic science has enhanced the efficiency of tackling terrorism nationally and internationally for the security agencies in the United States. This paper looks into the impact of forensic science on anti-terrorism internationally and nationally along with the impact of the World Trade Center disaster on security measures.
Impact of 9/11 on Law Enforcement and Security Initiatives
The 9/11 attacks prompted the passage of the Homeland Security Act in 2002, which combined over twenty federal agencies in the security field to ensure that the United States will always be ready for terror threats in the future. Some of the renowned agencies in the partnership include the U.S. Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service among many other agencies in the security field.
The organizations have developed security systems that integrate their efforts to enhance the efficiency of tackling potential threats. They reinforce each other’s efforts in conducting forensic research to enhance the security of the society and the infrastructure. One of the impacts of the 9/11 attacks on the security initiatives in the United States was the elimination of some of the rights for the citizens (Waxman, 2009).
The American government developed new mechanisms to spy on the citizens in the quest of identifying criminal and terror activities threatening the safety of the public. The government has been accused severally of going overboard in the retrieval of forensic information in the process of tracking potential threats in the society.
Americans had to sacrifice their freedom of privacy for the sake of enhancing security as the government started implementing surveillance to gather information that would potentially help in identifying potential terrorists among the citizens (Waxman, 2009). Additionally, the security systems in public facilities like airports and hospitals were enhanced through the application of technological devices to screen people and luggage. The society in the nation is still struggling with the loss of liberty to enhance security.
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Impact of Forensic Science in Anti-terrorism
The process of enhancing security in the nation has compelled the associated security agencies to develop forensic science procedures that help in identifying suspected criminals and terrorists. The role of forensic science is using technology to reveal the culprits of various attempts of terrorism in the nation. Forensic science has enabled investigators in terrorist attack scenes to collect physical evidence that can be analyzed in forensic laboratories to identify the culprits.
The current developments in forensic science through technology have enhanced the ability of the investigators to identify terrorists through the integration of facial recognition technology with other technologies, include DNA matching (McCartney, 2013).
The integration of forensic science in the anti-terrorism efforts has led to the development of special units within security agencies to collect evidence in terrorist attack scenes within the shortest time possible to ensure that the evidence is analyzed quickly enough to prevent similar events. Forensic analysis is also applied in the process of questioning suspected terrorists. New technology and methods are being developed through the funding of research programs in forensics.
For instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has a Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research program that concentrates on enhancing the capabilities of the forensic experts through technology and new methods in collecting, preserving, and analyzing evidence (Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research, 2016). Forensic science has enhanced the speed at which the investigative agencies analyze evidence to corner the terrorists. The associated technology is also crucial in the development of the analysis of suspected evidence as preventive measures of terrorist attacks.
Current Challenges and Opportunities
One of the biggest challenges that the security agencies have been facing is an inadequacy in the capabilities of recognizing terrorists among the citizens. While the government has developed various mechanisms of surveillance across the nation, the biometric systems involved are not always efficient in recognizing suspected terrorists. For instance, the use of fingerprint recognition is gradually becoming obsolete in the hunt for terrorists.
Other modern techniques like iris recognition and face recognition technologies, as well as voice recognition, are gradually being adopted by the agencies to ensure there is accuracy in the hunt for potential terrorists (Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research, 2016). Another challenge is the recruitment of some American criminals by the terrorist groups, which provides the associated groups with corporation and support within the nation. Terrorist groups have managed to recruit members from different parts of the world, and they have undetectable communication channels that facilitate the planning process of attacks.
The collection of intelligence information is quite challenging when the terrorist groups have developed high-tech communication channels. However, the various agencies in the Homeland Department have specialized in various fields of the anti-terror campaign, and they are enhancing their technology to meet the requirements to keep up with the terrorists. For instance, the FBI has invested heavily in the development of research programs in forensic science to increase the capabilities of collecting and analyzing evidence in record time (Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research, 2016).
The accuracy of forensic investigations is also being increased at a faster rate because of the technological growth in the modern world, and this provides an opportunity for the authorities to increase the success rate of identifying the culprits of terror attacks. Additionally, there are developments like the use of drones for surveillance, which has provided an opportunity for security agencies to spy on suspects more successfully.
The anti-terror campaign has been associated with the development of guidelines for the best practices in various activities in the quest of enhancing security. The first step involves risk assessment. Risk assessment entails the deployment of risk assessment tools in the society to identify potential terror threats. The United States has particularly enhanced the capabilities of identifying potential risks by enhancing surveillance strategies.
Forensic science plays a major role in identifying threats through the analysis of various physical pieces of evidence collected by the surveillance teams. The second step entails the mitigation of the potential threats by hunting down the suspected terrorists (Collins, Ricks & Van Meter, 2015). This is the hardest part of the anti-terrorism process in the nation and in other countries. Terrorists are highly elusive, and they normally fail to corporate with the security agencies when arrested. Once a suspect is arrested, the necessary recognition technologies are applied.
In case of a successful attack, the best practice has always been securing the citizens and the associated infrastructure. However, with the current capabilities of the different agencies, it is possible to collect evidence in the attack scenes for immediate forensic analysis to mitigate other potential attacks (Collins, Ricks & Van Meter, 2015). Incidence response plans should also be highly coordinated to enhance the survival rate of the victims.
The 9/11 attacks revealed that the various security agencies that responded to the incidence were not adequately coordinated, and this led to the inefficiency in dealing with the situation. The Homeland Department has since developed a coordinated system that will ensure future incidences are handled efficiently as every agency knows its role during an emergency response.
Resources and Leveraging
The United States and other nations involved in the anti-terrorism campaign have actively leveraged the growing technology in surveillance as the principle resource in cornering the instigators of terror. Technology in forensic science has been instrumental in detecting and mitigating biological, chemical, and radiological terror attacks across the globe as terrorists also have adopted the use of such technologies as the means of attacks.
The use of technological devices for visual surveillance has also enabled the authorities to intercept potential threats, especially in the waterways and the borders. Terrorists can choose their desired targets and time of attack, but they have to bypass the various surveillance security mechanisms for their plans to be successful (Collins, Ricks & Van Meter, 2015).
Technology has also led to the development of drones that can effectively spy on suspicious residences, vehicles, and buildings to ensure that any efforts of the terrorists within the nation are mitigated in time. Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States and other nations have enhanced the security of their airports and harbors through the installation of technological devices at security checkpoints, which are relatively efficient in detecting weapons and suspicious objects.
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The government has also invested in voice surveillance through stations that spy on suspicious voice calls and text messages. Additionally, the government has developed training programs for the human assets associated with the counterterrorism programs to ensure their skills match the innovative ideas used by terrorists to target the United States. The growth in technology has facilitated terrorists with better communication and terror execution avenues; hence, the counterterrorism teams have to keep up with the emerging threats (Collins, Ricks & Van Meter, 2015).
Over the past, the various agencies involved in the development of technology to enhance the capabilities of the counterterrorism campaign have concentrated on researching for the development of technologies that enhance the recognition of terrorists. Forensic scientists have recently developed the brain fingerprinting technology, which is set to bring a revolution in the war against terrorism. This technology has various capabilities, including the ability to highlight whether a suspected terrorist has specific information stored in his or her brain.
For instance, if a suspected terrorist is arrested in the airport, forensic scientists can use the technology to determine whether the suspect possesses the knowledge of making bombs or using various lethal weapons through imaging their brain. This approach will be instrumental in capturing potential terrorists with relatively higher accuracy in identifying the most dangerous terrorists (Williams, 2016). The technology works by revealing the responses of the brain to various words and images; hence, the security agencies can also positively identify the radicalized suspects by putting them through tests that might also help in identifying their affiliations and leaders.
This technology will be quite instrumental in eliminating the challenge of lack of cooperation on the part of the arrested terrorists. It will eliminate the need to torture suspected terrorists in custody, and subsequently increase the speed of retrieving the required information that will lead to higher rates of success in eliminating risks.
Pertinent Research and Evaluation Needs
There is a pertinent need for research to be enhanced in the quest of developing the most accurate methods in forensic science. As the nature of the attacks shift from explosives to biological and chemical weapons, it is imperative for the associated agencies to ensure that they keep up with the technological developments among the terrorists.
For the United States and other nations across the world to enhance their capabilities in countering terrorism, there is a need for research projects to be promoted to enhance the technological capabilities. Educational institutes that are offering courses in various fields of forensic science must be promoted by the government to ensure that there is a steady supply of professionals in forensic science (Saferstein, 2002).
The research projects at the educational level should foster innovation among the learners to ensure that the authorities are equipped with the most feasible techniques of handling evidence and analyzing it as fast as possible. For instance, the brain fingerprinting technology is an innovative development in forensic technology, and it will enhance the speed of retrieving information from suspected terrorists. During a terrorist attack, time is of great importance; hence, studies should focus on ensuring that the available technologies facilitate adequate time saving.
The efficiency and accuracy of the various technologies should also be evaluated regularly to confirm their reliability in forensic analysis (Saferstein, 2002). One of the major challenges that face forensic scientists is the ability to preserve and handle evidence in a manner that enhances the accuracy of the analysis process; thus, future technologies should focus on providing methods that make it easier to preserve evidence.
Homeland Security Applicability
The concept of Homeland Security has been fully adopted by the Federal government of the United States, and it has integrated the efforts of more than 20 security agencies involved in the fight against terrorism. The efficiency of the Homeland Security program in the United States is enhanced by the development of an umbrella system that coordinates the efforts of the respective agencies in handling security threats to the society and the national infrastructure.
Over the past decade, the various agencies involved in the Homeland Security initiative have focused on applying different measures to reduce the vulnerability of the United States. The agencies have particularly invested in the development of mechanisms to prevent the entry of terrorists in the nation (Collins, Ricks & Van Meter, 2015).
The enhancement of security in the American waterways, airports, and the boundaries has led to an enhancement of security because the terrorists have limited access to the homeland. The applicability of the Homeland Security program has also been facilitated by the development of policies that facilitate legal grounds for the agencies in the Department of Homeland Security to conduct their duties. There are many critics of the Homeland Security initiative because of its implications on the liberty of the citizens, but it is apparent that the majority of the Americans would rather have the government spying on them rather than face an event similar to the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was a wakeup call for the American authorities in the security department. It is apparent that the United States was caught off guard by the terrorists; however, the attack led to the development of the Department of Homeland Security, which not only focuses on enhancing the security of the national infrastructure, but also focuses on the development of a counterterrorism campaign. The campaign has been reinforced by the growth in technology, especially in the field of forensic science has enabled the various agencies to collect information and analyze it more efficiently.
Research programs in forensic science are geared toward ensuring that technology in this field grows exponentially to facilitate a better security system regarding tracing down the culprits of terrorism. Technology has also increased the capabilities of the government agencies in surveillance processes. Various agencies continue to specialize in specific areas of security enhancement in the nation; thus, it is expected that there will be limited cases of successful terrorist attacks in the nation.
Collins, P. A., Ricks, T. A., & Van Meter, C. W. (2015). Principles of security and crime prevention (4th ed.). London: Routledge.
Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research. (2016). Web.
McCartney, C. (2013). Forensic identification and criminal justice. London: Routledge.
Saferstein, R. (2002). Forensic Science Handbook, Volume 1 (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Waxman, M. C. (2009). Police and national security: American local law enforcement and counter-terrorism after 9/11. Journal of National Security Law & Policy, 3, 377.
Williams, C. (2016). Scanning for terrorism – brain fingerprinting offers new hope in anti-terrorism fight. Web.