**REPLY TO EACH POST 100 WORDS MIN EACH***
1. Throughout this course we have learned that the terms CBRN and WMD are interchangeable and can be best defined as any chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weaponized variant capable of producing immense destruction and large-scale casualties. Of the various types, chemical weapons really stood out to me as interesting because of their historical use in warfare, specifically mustard gas (HD) in World War I. It belongs to the sub classification of chemical weapons known as blister agents and although it does not always cause death, sulfur mustard, whether it is ingested, inhaled or makes contact with the skin can have adverse effects on the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, bone marrow, and mucous membranes of the body (CDC, 2018). Being a vesicant, it can be dispersed through any medium and has the ability to cause serious long term impairment of individuals through permanent blindness, chronic respiratory infections, lung cancer, and extensive third degree burns which is why the Chemical Weapons Convention banned the use, sale, and production of it in 1993. It is relatively easy, compared to the implementation of a radiological or nuclear device, for a terrorist organization to acquire the source materials and have the knowledge to create it. Iraq’s repeated chemical bombing of Iran’s Halabja district in 1988 and Syria’s use of chlorine gas against their own people in 2014 stand as recent examples of why mustard gas, or other forms of chemical weapons are of a higher threat level. Their simplicity, availability, and ability to be dispersed in multiple manners appeal to rogue nations and terrorist organizations alike. Prevention methods to diminish the associated risks include training and equipping individuals to be able to utilize personnel protective gear such as gas masks and hazmat suits, providing in place shelters capable of defending against gas exposure, tracking the buying and selling of toxic industrial resources, and limiting the knowledge available on how to produce such (although I am certain the latter would be the hardest with the development of the internet and information sharing).
2.Hello Classmates. I have chosen to discuss chlorine again because it is one of the most common chemicals that most people have in their homes right now. Chlorine’s most dangerous form is in its gaseous state but it is also used to clean pools, sanitize surfaces, and clean clothes. We even use it to decontaminate drinking water in water treatment plants. Injuries can be caused from eye exposure, skin exposure, inhalation, and ingestion (CDC, 2020). The chemical was used in World War I effectively as a chemical weapon. The chlorine gas was put into fuel tanks similar to the ones used today for propane. Since the gas is heavier than air, it would settle into the trenches where soldiers were hiding. This would force them out of the trenches to be shot fleeing or be forced to succumb to the chemical. I do believe that future threats of chlorine being used as a weapon is very possible. Not only is chlorine very common and can be bought in large quantities, but the United States is one of the biggest suppliers of the chemical world-wide. This requires us to ship more than 15 million tons of the chemical over long distance through public and unprotected routes every year. (Jones, Wills, & Kang, 2010). Protecting these routes should be made a priority. The United States has already decreased production locations to 20 states and has implemented regulations, but we appear to have less prevention after the chemical has been produced and is in transport. I think focusing on that aspect would further protect our country and our citizens.
3. I have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with each and every one of you during this course. I have learned so much about the difference between the Law Enforcement Community and the Intelligence Community. My view was so narrow before as I have only ever interacted with the Intelligence Community. One of the main challenges the Intelligence Community faces in supporting the Homeland Security Enterprise is potentially violating American civil liberties. There are a lot of laws dictating what these agencies can and cannot do when it comes to collection within the United States. Domestic terrorism can be a very serious challenge especially when it comes to investigating terrorist activity from United States citizens. Currently, the Intelligence Community has a good balance with the Homeland Security Enterprise as far as support. I believe the two have a relationship were the information and missions coming from each side can be fused together to meet an objective. There are also several middle men like fusion centers. In regards to the last question about the IC being able to adapt to emerging threats, its’ hard to say for sure. Unfortunately, these agencies have a reputation from learning from their mistakes. It’s also very hard to judge how an agency will respond to a threat when you haven’t actually seen something play out in the real world. All and all, the IC and LEC always need to keep American civil liberties at the front of their mind in every operation. We cannot protect the American people if we are somehow violating their privacy
4. Just like with any federal agency the Intelligence Community also faces challenges. One of the main challenges that the Intelligence Community faces in supporting the Homeland Security Enterprise seems to be the balancing act of ensuring the Americans United States Constitutional rights are not withheld in the name of intelligence collection. I feel as though most people would not have any contingencies if the government is invading the privacy of a foreign non-citizen of the United States. However, when it comes to actual Americans rights it calls for a little more caution in the way intelligence collection process is conducted. I understand that security is important and when there is probable cause on a suspect then so be it, however, it is crucial to ensure the proper steps are taken and that we do not cut corners when it comes to an Americans rights. In fact, this same concept is supposed to be embedded in all of the Intelligence Community efforts per the National Intelligence Strategy, “The Intelligence Community must exemplify America’s values: operating under the rule of law, consistent with Americans’ expectations for protection of privacy and civil liberties, respectful of human rights, and in a manner that retains the trust of the American people.” (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
5. There are many different initiatives that have been implemented from the PATRIOT ACT. The 1st of many of this initiative was ” The Patriot Act allows investigators to use the tools that were already available to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking”.((The USA Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty) This 1st initiative gave law enforcement the same ability as if they going after the mafia towards investigating terrorist. The next initiative was ” The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that they can better connect the dots”. (The USA Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty )With this initiative it got rid of the major legal issues that was preventing law enforcement, intelligence, and national defense communities form having to talk and coordinate their work to help protect our national security. (The USA Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty) A third initiative that came from the Patriot Act was ” The Patriot Act updated the law to reflect new technologies and new threats”.(The USA Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty) This initiative allowed the Patriot Act to bring the law up to date with the latest technology, this way we are not using out of date equipment to use against the digital age. (The USA Patriot Act: Preserving Life and Liberty ) A fourth initiative that was implemented from the result of the Patriot Act, was that ” The Patriot Act increased the penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes.” This initiative created tougher penalties for those who were accused of supporting or committing crimes toward terrorisms.
6. The Patriot Act was put into place following 9/11 with the goal of prevent another such attack. the primary initiatives are to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and other purposes, some of which include: To strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism; To subject to special scrutiny foreign jurisdictions, foreign financial institutions, and classes of international transactions or types of accounts that are susceptible to criminal abuse; To require all appropriate elements of the financial services industry to report potential money laundering; To strengthen measures to prevent use of the U.S. financial system for personal gain by corrupt foreign officials and facilitate repatriation of stolen assets to the citizens of countries to whom such assets belong.” (DNI.gov, US patriot act, paragraph 2). Balancing security and civil liberties is a very difficult task. Something I feel often gets overlooked, especially in the name security or safety is the voice of the people. If you want to maintain peoples civil liberties then they have to be included in the rule making. With the Patriot Act, there was good intent when it was put into place. Later it was determined that parts of it violated civil liberties. If we the people would have been included in the decision making and the vote for that then that never would have been included. I feel it is often forgotten that the people control the government not the other way around. If the government remembers that then that is the best way to balance security and civil liberties. – Tayler
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