Describe what information sharing means in counterterrorism?

9/11 altered their worldview and raised many concerns for national security that had not been entertained since the cold war. Primarily the need for information sharing was highlighted in respect to counter terrorism. This change has been the result of the need to heighten not just security but also intelligence networks and to make them more collaborative without losing secrecy.

9/11 highlighted an entirely new set of issues concerning information sharing and the ability of law enforcement to effectively collaborate and communicate.  The Department of Homeland Security was designed with this issue in mind in order to avoid failures in intelligence which led to the events of 9/11.  Homeland security is a large example of how things have changed as this agency was invented for the purpose of unifying intelligence agencies and information sharing.

Since 9/11 one of the largest issues has been the governments use of surveillance to capture terrorists. Prior to 9/11 few Americans gave thought to this issue because it was not as obvious or pervasive. The Boston Marathon Bombing exemplifies this problem:

The best and most important defense is detailed, real-time intelligence about the fanatics and lunatics who may intend to carry out such attacks, and the means that they may use to slaughter innocents. Thus, the critical failure to protect the crowd at the marathon was summed up by Boston Police Commissioner Edward P. Davis in a single phrase: “There was no specific intelligence,” he said, that would suggest such an attack was imminent.

When the law enforcement agencies have information, plots can be disrupted, attacks prevented, and, at a minimum, public vigilance can be heightened. Without it, life goes on as normal, until it doesn’t (Dickey, 2013).

For these reasons, information sharing through secured networks has become a priority for counter terrorism.


Dickey, C. (2013, April 16). The boston bombing intelligence failur.


One of the major issues that I see with information is that the need to share it increases the risk of exposure and spying.  Increased access and transparency of shared information and intelligence between branches of the justice department also had to be considered given the sensitivity of the information acquired by police department investigations and the impact of decisions made at this level that pertain to members of the intelligence community. Information technology has provided ways in which this sensitive data is protected through access control and electronic security mechanisms to keep information from being accessed by third party agents outside of the information-sharing network such as hackers. The challenges posed by the established old work methods and conservative culture were successfully overcome to allow for the full potential of information as a tool to be realized and shared while remaining focused on the age-old goal of protecting citizens.