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Collection Methods on 9/11 Attacks

The relations of people in the human society are complicated by such phenomena as terrorism and other violent and unlawful actions of people. To fight these actions, the intelligence services are developed in every country, and the United States of America is not an exception (Lowenthal, 2008). The events of September 11, 2001 attracted much attention to the work and collection methods of the US intelligence, and this paper aims at analyzing them briefly but properly.

The very events of September 11, 2001 left much controversy and provided intelligence services of the USA with much work for years on. The essence of those events lied in several terrorist-driven airplanes hitting the towers of the World Trading Center in New York and the building of the Pentagon in Washington (Lowenthal, 2008). The terrorists were reported to have been the members of Al-Qaeda and the country started the detailed and focused search for other Islamic terrorists.

Needless to say, the intelligence system that allowed the tragedy of September 11 to happen demanded serious changes and they were made (The Brookings Institution, 2004). According to the 2001 US Patriot Act, the organizations that were placed in charge of anti-terrorist campaign were the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the US Department of Justice. The activities of these organizations were not limited by either domestic or foreign intelligence operations and they were allowed to exchange information and cooperate with the CIA on terrorist fighting campaign (The Brookings Institution, 2004).

As for the key individuals involved the in the reform of the collection practices of the US intelligence after 9/11 attacks there was a wide range of people including President Bush and the high ranking officials like George Tenet, the head of the CIA, Robert S. Mueller, the FBI head, etc. whose main task in the situation was to reform the system and provide the US citizens with proper levels of security (Shulsky and Schmitt, 2002).

Therefore, the collection methods of the US intelligence services after 9/11 attacks were considerably changed as far as the FBI, Department of Justice, and the CIA were entitled to carry out the comprehensive control over the citizens of the USA, especially the people of Arab origin or those who might have had, according to the intelligence information, some ties with terrorist organizations abroad (Shulsky and Schmitt, 2002). Accordingly, the intelligence cycle was strictly kept to as far as planning was carried out in respect of the government needs, collection was conducted by the increased opportunities of the intelligence services, while the processing and analysis of the data collected were aimed at the final stage of dissemination that had to provide the government with the adequate data necessary for counter-terrorism campaign (The Intelligence Cycle, 2009).

However, the possible outcomes of the changed intelligence collection methods could far worse then they proved to be at once after the 9/11 attacks. The increased power of the intelligence agencies meant their being entitled to violate the right for privacy and personal life of every US citizen. The shock after the 9/11 tragedy made it possible for the FBI officials to check the personal data of every single citizen, especially the people from Arabic countries or even the US citizens of Arab-like appearance or origin. This in its turn led to the public protests and the need to change the intelligence collection system once again.


  1. Lowenthal, M. M. (2008). Intelligence: from Secrets to Policy. CQ Press, 4th edition.
  2. Shulsky, A. N. & Schmitt, G. J. (2002). Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence. Potomac Books Inc., 3 edition.
  3. The Brookings Institution. (2004). Event Summary: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of the 9/11 Commission Report. 
  4. The Intelligence Cycle. (2009).
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StudyKraken. (2021) 'Collection Methods on 9/11 Attacks'. 10 November.

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