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U S counterterrorism strategies that have evolved since 9/11 include allowing law enforcement agencies the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” for example on high-value detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (he was water boarded 183 times after being arrested in Pakistan in 2003 (Martin, 2012)). The passing of the US Patriot Act allow the warrantless wiretapping of those who might have terrorist connections in the United States; the indefinite detention without trial of eight hundred suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and at CIA-operated “black sites”; the creation of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects without normal criminal-court protections; and the targeted assassination of al-Qaeda leaders with predator drones in Pakistan and Yemen (Martin, 2012).

Historical counterterrorism that influenced contemporary counterterrorism is the treatment of terrorism as a criminal offense and the strategic use of law enforcement to identify and arrest individuals associated with terroristic acts. During the reconstruction era, the US used law enforcement and laws to fight against its own domestic terrorist group like the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan today is a shell of its former self, the group has been reduced in power and influence by a combination of changing cultural standards, policing, surveillance, and legal action. (Note, I understand the KKK is making a resurgence.)

Contemporary counterterrorism strategies have been effective, since 9/11 the US has not had another 9/11 like terror attack and several plots have been foiled. However, lone wolf attacks of radical religious extremists who claim loyalty to several terror organizations is on the rise. Also the idea that terrorist groups could be deterred by killing all terrorist or at least the leaders of these terror organizations is not effective because although the leaders of al Qaeda have been killed it has not deterred or dissolved the organization nor has it stopped it from recruiting more members to its cause.

Byman, D. (2007). US counter-terrorism options: A taxonomy. Survival, 49(3), 121–150.

Martin, B. (2012).Terrorism and National Security. Sage Publishing

Perl, R. F. (2007). National strategy for combating terrorism: Background and issues for Congress. Retrieved from…
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