Countering Terrorism: Blurred Focus, Halting Steps

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In this third book of a series on intelligence reform, Judge Richard A. Posner evaluates the measures that have been taken in the last two years to implement the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, which decreed a wholesale reorganization of the intelligence system. Countering Terrorism also addresses broader issues in the struggle against terrorism, such as the failure of criminal law enforcement and the difficulty of devising criteria for allocating counterterrorist funds. Although some successes have been ...
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Overview

In this third book of a series on intelligence reform, Judge Richard A. Posner evaluates the measures that have been taken in the last two years to implement the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, which decreed a wholesale reorganization of the intelligence system. Countering Terrorism also addresses broader issues in the struggle against terrorism, such as the failure of criminal law enforcement and the difficulty of devising criteria for allocating counterterrorist funds. Although some successes have been achieved in the effort to make our intelligence system more coherent and effective, notably with respect to intelligence analysis and "open source" intelligence, progress overall has been slow, owing in major part to the deflection of senior officials of the intelligence community from overall supervision and coordination to short-term crisis management. Of particular concern, domestic intelligence remains in serious disarray, dangerously exposing the nation to the emergent threat of homegrown, as distinct from foreign-initiated, terrorism. Published in cooperation with the Hoover Institution
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Editorial Reviews

William E. Odom
As Judge Posner's book ably demonstrates, reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community has a long way to go, notwithstanding the recent Intelligence Reform Act passed into law by the Congress. His analyses of 'three cultures' and the problems of domestic intelligence is especially outstanding.
Library Journal

How our government should provide citizen safety during the war on terror is a source of continued debate between Congress and President Bush. Both of these books provide new and broader perspectives on U.S. attempts to counter terrorism, and both develop systematic analysis to underscore flaws to real and emergent terrorist threats. Cole (law, Georgetown Univ.; Enemy Aliens) and Lobel (law, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Success Without Victory) criticize President Bush's use of a "preventive paradigm" that avoids the rule of law and that they deem counterproductive. The authors address our ability to maintain national security within our fundamental principles of government, individual liberties, and the rule of law. In a series of well-developed arguments, they state that the Bush administration has engaged in highly coercive tactics and unchecked executive power to alter or avoid existing laws, an approach based on speculation concerning possible future threats and used to "justify a very troubling form of anticipatory state violence." They acknowledge that coercive force can be used within the rule of law, e.g., as per the Geneva Conventions. Nevertheless, they argue that counterterrorism strategies through noncoercive means-such as improving transnational information sharing among law enforcement and intelligence agencies and addressing causes rather than symptoms-hold greater possibilities.

Posner (judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Chicago; Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11) criticizes the reforms resulting from the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 and offers multiple recommendations on reforming U.S. intelligence, a subject he hasaddressed more than once before. He finds that distinctive organizational cultures within our intelligence agencies have created disarray within the intelligence system as a whole, with no U.S. official entirely responsible for policy. He points out the distinctions between the use of intelligence for antiterrorism activities and for legal prosecution, and he questions whether the FBI's emphasis on prosecution can be an effective counterterrorism approach. Both books offer clear, incisive, and informative presentations accessible to general readers concerned with U.S. governmental operations in matters of terrorism and counterterrorism. They are highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.
—Steven Puro

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Richard A. Posner is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of hundreds of articles and dozens of books, including Uncertain Shield: The U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform (2006) and Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (2005). He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 1. Thinking in Probabilities Part 3 I. The Role of Intelligence Chapter 4 2. The Road from 9/11; Benchmarking the Intelligence Reorganization Chapter 5 3. Design Problems Chapter 6 4. Successes and Failures Chapter 7 5. The Three-Cultures Problem Chapter 8 6. The Continuing Crisis in Domestic Intelligence Part 9 II. How Else to Counter Terrorism? Chapter 10 7. The Judicialization of Counterterrorism Chapter 11 8. Counterterrorism Strategy and Structure; An Ounce of Prevention? Chapter 12 Conclusion
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