The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Law enforcement agencies around the world, regardless of the nation, have issues with collaboration and sharing information in a timely manner. These problems have lessened over the past 15 years, but it is important for law enforcement professionals to continue expanding their network and work together to defeat terrorism. Public participation is key in aiding police in ensuring the security of the population and many countries have enacted programs to educate the public and involve in the process.
Co-Chair: Prof. Robert Friedmann, Founding Director, Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) & Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice, Georgia State University, United States of America
Co-Chair: Mr. Denis Monette, Associate, ICT, IDC Herzliya; Chairman, STARCOM & Former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Nassau, New York, United States of America
Mr. Eugene J. Corcoran, United States Marshal, District Executive, United States of America
Supervisory Special Agent James Cunningham, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), New York Office, United States of America
Mr. Steven D. Heaton, Executive Associate Director, Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), United States of America
Superintendent Mick Hermans, Intelligence and Covert Support Command - Surveillance Services Division, Victoria Police, Australia
FBI Special Agent in Charge Peter Tzitzis, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), New York Office, United Statesof America
Simulation led by ICT Experts:
Dr. Gil-ad Ariely, Chief Knowledge Officer, ICT, IDC Herzliya, Israel
Lt. Col. (Res.) Adv. Uri Ben Yaakov, Senior Researcher, ICT, IDC Herzliya, Israel
Mr. Edan Landau, Researcher, ICT, IDC Herzliya, Israel
The problem in the United States is that there are 43,000 police agencies, cooperation and coordination and facilitation is difficult with so many agencies. In Israel, Mr. Monette argues, it is a bit more coherent and easier to work together. It is important to form interpersonal relationships; you have to get them to play together, and then work together. There used to be a lot of inter-agency competition because you wanted to be the one who brings the arrest. We have moved away from that now in the US- a change for the better. Monette argues that cooperation with the media is essential to fighting terrorism.
Mr. Corcoran discussed the U.S. courts and the U.S. Marshal Service, expanding on the five types of operations the Marshal Service covers: protection of the federal judiciary, federal fugitives and extraditions, witness security (WITSEC), prisoner operations, and asset forfeiture. He also expanded on several high-profile terrorist cases both the United States' courts and the U.S Marshal Service have dealt with, noting the changes in origins and types of terrorism throughout the years.
Cunningham noted the difficulties in coordination when there is a large number of responding units and agencies. He discussed the Trip Wire Program, which attempts to raise awareness amongst those who may (inadvertently) provide the materials for an attack. Such awareness would allow these individuals to recognize and report to the relevant authorities when needed. Such programs allow the FBI to position itself in a place where members of the public are not afraid to reach out and report.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force, specifically the Branch Tzitzis heads, was established to respond to threats, special events, and all NYC airports. In the JTTF there are 55 departments, all of which work under federal authority and have the approvals of the FBI but bring the unique knowledge and expertise. Having all 55 departments under one roof serves as a huge advantage when requesting assistance as well as sharing information. This became the model for all the JTTF's in the country. Our motto is "one team, one fight", and forums like this are vital as terrorists themselves do not have boundaries. Such as in New York there has to be one team and one fight, so is it important for countries to work together, to analyze and discuss, in the fight against terrorism.
Superintendent Hermans described the areas of counter-terror policing across Australia: front-line police, federal police, criminal intelligence commission and a secret intelligence organization. Hermans noted that despite the fact that Australia has a lesser number of departments active, the difficulties that arise are similar to those in countries with a much larger number of agencies. They still struggle with intelligence gathering and sharing, agility in action (freedom to act), joint operations, and heavy government restrictions. In Victoria they have created a new counter-terrorism command which has helped immensely in terms of coordination and access. Hermans noted the problematics of not only organized terror cells, but also the effect of individuals being influenced- despite the physical isolation Australia faces.
Mr. Heaton discussed the issues of incitement, which is considered one of the more challenging aspects of law enforcement as they are required to balance incitement and free speech. In most free societies people are free to say and speak about different things, even things that are distasteful. He attempted to define incitement and discussed law enforcement activity in regards to what could be considered incitement. However, this goes directly against the idea of free speech, which has been consistently protected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Heaton presented the new Israeli incitement bill, which passed [with differences between inciting terrorism and inciting violence] lowers the threshold needed in order to be charged under such a crime. This gives law enforcement and prosecutors more tools to intervene before an attack occurs. Law enforcement needs to be able to follow up and monitor sources of incitement [like social media] and intervene as well as encourage the public to come forward when they see instances of incitement.
Heaton concluded his presentation with a number of recommendations: law enforcement needs to be trained in how to carry out incitement investigations, coordination with prosecutors is vital, law enforcement must be trained in monitoring social media outlets, develop good intelligence techniques, work with legislative bodies to create laws to address incitement, encourage the public to be involved in an earlier stage as well as better coordination amongst law enforcement agencies to better identify and prosecute violators. This would allow a proactive rather than reactive scenario, by directly addressing the sources of incitement.
Prof. Friedmann discussed the "thin blue line", claiming that police in the last decade are the punching bag of various groups and political actors. Police are no longer just punching bags but also sitting ducks, with Dallas and Baton Rouge being just two examples. The thin blue line in the age of terrorism is becoming thinner.
Friedmann also discussed the recent political complaints against the police. He gave the example of a group who called for the Atlanta police budget to be divested and ties to Israel cut. The Mayor, eventually, stated that this will not happen as the relationship between the Atlanta police and the Israeli police are strong. The group also blamed the Mayor of colluding with the KKK. This is an example of the time in history we are in, in which there is a concentrated effort to weaken the police even more than society would like. Accountability and transparency are not enough. We need to think about first respondents and the law enforcement community, because of what they represent they are more likely to become victims of terrorism.