Investigating and Preventing Terrorism

10-12 pages in length
Approach this topic from the perspective of prevention; if terrorists complete their attack and attain their objective, they have won. If their assault is successful and innocent people killed or injured and property destroyed, they have attained their goal and made their point.    Look at prevention in terms of gathering intelligence, which involves monitoring and surveillance of individuals, groups and communications (the idea of spying has a negative connotation to it, but it is a necessary function of law enforcement…proactivity; the prevention of crime). A prospective terrorism investigation could make use of confidential informants or undercover agents or officers to possibly infiltrate suspected terrorist groups with the goals of gathering enough intelligence to prevent an attack as well as bringing about the prosecution and punishment of those involved.   You might include research of recent incidents in which terrorist plots were intercepted before the plotters could actually complete their crimes and the investigative and intelligence gathering techniques used to prevent what could have been major catastrophes (keep in mind that, of necessity, some information about some of these intelligence gathering techniques is not always made available to the public). Consider purchasing ($10.) or downloading (free) a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report; Final Report of the National Commission on Terror Attacks Upon the United States (authorized edition). Review the last four chapters and consider some of the shortcomings and suggestions the Commission mentions as to how the 9/11 (and other) attacks might have been prevented, or how future attacks might be avoided. Consider some opportunities that were missed by the CIA, NSA, FBI, the State Department and FAA and other governmental agencies. Also consider some of the individual conspirators involved, their roles in the plot and how they might possibly have been detected. However, don’t limit your research only to the Report.      5. A minimum three-page first draft of your research project is due on or before October 15; a penalty of two points per class day will be assessed for each day late after that date. 6. The final paper is due on or before November 13 and a two-point penalty per-day will also be imposed for each class day that it is late. No paper will be accepted after December 2, and a grade of “F” will be recorded for the entire course. 7. All written work must be typed or printed in black ink via word processor or computer and must be on standard 8 ½ x 11 inch paper stock, double-spaced, standard 12-point font (Times New Roman, Courier, Calibri or Arial – no “designer” fonts please!) with no more than one inch margins all around; papers that are completely or partially handwritten (script or printed) or otherwise not in conformity with these requirements will be returned ungraded and subject to the penalty for lateness (loss of credit). 

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