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Information Shortfalls That Led To 9/11 Attacks

1868 words - 7 pages

Rules and constraints, or what many refer to as a “legalistic wall” misinterpreted by some and misunderstood by others, made it very difficult for the IC to share information before 9/11. Best (2007), maintained that the Intelligence Community failed to share information because there were “walls” between intelligence and law enforcement agencies. These walls kept analysts from talking to each other and from sharing pieces of information that, if they had been viewed in close relationship, might have yielded a coherent picture of the emerging plot.
In Grewe (2004), and Best (2007) they concurred that law enforcement and intelligence information was not regularly shared, and collectors and analysts were “walled” off from each other because of constitutional principles, statutes, policies, and practices that preclude sharing of such information. These regulations dated as far back as the National Security Act of 1947 requiring that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions.”
As indicated on page 416 of the 9/11 report “The biggest impediment to all-source analysis-to a greater likelihood of connecting the dots-is the human or systematic resistance to sharing information.” In other words, success revolves around the ability of the IC connecting the dots. Regrettably Kramer (2005) believes that bureaucracies often get in the way by implementing a variety of mechanisms that tend to isolate the dots. The IC argued on several occasions that they were unable to share information because of vaguely written laws that were often misunderstood. As stated above, the information sharing barriers that existed prior to September 2001 had a long history based on a determination to prevent government spying on U.S. persons during the Cold War Era. This paved the way for the creation of high statutory barriers to the sharing of law enforcement and intelligence information.
The regulations were significantly strengthened during the Vietnam War era when Congress enacted legislation regulating domestic surveillance activities. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was later passed. During my research there was evidence that the “wall” inhibited the FBI’s investigation. Evidence of official FBI requirements for an internal “wall” appear in 2000 when a New York Field Office issued an order that as a result of the FISA court's new measures his office could not share any surveillance information on the Bin-Laden cased with “fellow agents or attorneys at the Southern District of New York prior to obtaining approval from the New York Field Office's legal unit, the FBI Office of General Counsel, or Office of Intelligence Policy Review (OIPR)" (Grewe, 2004). Also, the NSA began placing more restrictive caveats on the sharing and use of information it collected. These caveats precluded sharing the information contained in the NSA reports with criminal prosecutors or...

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