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Intelligence and Law Enforcement: Countering Transnational Threats to the U.S.

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Congressional rept.

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In the post-Cold War world, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and related money laundering are perceived both as criminal matters and as threats to the nations security. Often collectively termed transnational threats, these issues have become the concerns of law enforcement agencies as well as the U.S. Intelligence Community. Two foreign banking scandals in the late 1980s led to efforts to ensure that information in the possession of intelligence agencies would, in the future, be made available to law enforcement officials. In the mid-1990s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began assigning additional agents to newly created offices worldwide. The tragic events of September 11, 2001 provide a clear demonstration of how large a threat international terrorism can become to national security. The Bush Administration and Congress have moved rapidly to promote intelligenceenforcement cooperation among U.S. agencies in the campaign against Al Qaeda. This report looks at the separate roles and missions and distinct identities of intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Coordinating their efforts has raised significant legal and administrative difficulties that have been only partially overcome despite the creation of elaborate coordinative mechanisms under the oversight of the National Security Council. Some observers also have expressed concerns about the greater use of information derived from intelligence sources in judicial proceedings, fearing that it may lead to over-reliance on surreptitious means of information collection and, thus, undermine civil liberties. Other observers have cautioned that redirecting intelligence assets to collect information for legal cases may reduce support available to military commanders and policy makers. Some others believe that there may also be an overemphasis on law enforcement in dealing with problems arising abroad. The report notes the employment of covert actions by intelligence agencies in certain law enforcement efforts

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Intelligence

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