Fighting Terror, a Decade after 9/11 -Uri Bar-Lev
After 9/11, Israel tried to help and to lend our collective experience to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was to spearhead the American effort in the struggle against terror. Even today, I'm not convinced we succeeded in our efforts there.
In the U.S., there are 19,000 separate bodies responsible for law enforcement and many different agencies responsible for fighting terror, each acting on its own and without any coordination with the others. There is no central, unifying agency that can create a comprehensive understanding of the intelligence gathered by these agencies.
In every city and state, the marshals, sheriff's department, traffic police, local police and subway police all operate separately - still incapable of synchronizing their actions in the field. Compare this to Israel's situation; when there is, heaven forbid, a terror attack in Tel Aviv, the highest-ranking police officer on the scene runs the scene. This method of field operations has led to efficiency and success.
The U.S. continues to struggle to find a balance between the need to prevent acts of terror and the need to uphold the U.S. Constitution. The Americans have no idea what to do with the system known as "profiling": the identification of potential terrorists based on personal details, so they invented what they call "random checks"” in an effort to fool themselves. That certain groups pose more of a threat than others is a fact that cannot be ignored. It doesn't make sense to perform a stringent security check on a four-year-old boy, and yet allow the three Pakistanis behind him to pass freely.
Without that focus, terrorists will slip through the net again and again.
The writer served as the Israel Police and Public Security Attache in North America.
Click HERE for The Washington Times' excellent 9-11 Retrospective