Intelligence Gathering And Informational Sharing Within Al Qaeda

Intelligence Gathering

Al-Qaeda, a global terrorist network, was founded by Osama bin Laden more than ten years ago. This terrorist network remains a major threat across the United States, Middle East, and Africa. Al-Qaeda’s leaders understand that they are being targeted by the United States government. For this reason, they often use every means possible to share information and gather intelligence in order to make necessary preparations on how to fight their enemies whenever they strike (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). Traditionally, Al-Qaeda largely relied on the local population to gather intelligence. In addition, the terrorist network used basic communication strategies such as face-to-face communication to share information (Global Security, 2015).

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However, with technological advancements in the contemporary world, Al-Qaeda now uses technology to share information and to gather intelligence. Moreover, Al-Qaeda currently implements various technological concepts similar to those employed by the United States such as, communication networks, fusion centers, information sharing environment (ISE), detection tools, and surveillance capabilities. Al-Qaeda is unconcerned about ethics and it unethically employs technology in its attempt to attack the United States and its allies. The United States has powers to employ technology in similar ways as a strategy towards defeating Al-Qaeda (Global Security, 2015).

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The five main technological tools used by Al-Qaeda with regard to information sharing and intelligence gathering include mobile phones, Skype, emails, various websites on the Internet, and different forms of media such as television, radio, and newspapers. According to Theohary and Rollins (2011), Al-Qaeda largely uses mobile phones, emails, Skype, and the media to spread terrorism-related information and to gather intelligence from their sympathizers distributed in different countries globally. In addition, various websites on the internet provide very good platforms where Al-Qaeda delivers threats that are meant to instill fear among the United States citizens and their allies.

Al-Qeada also uses videotapes to disseminate horrific images of their actions and attacks to members of the public to render them helpless. Moreover, Al-Qaeda leaders spend their time examining national websites in order to gather intelligence that can assist them to stay safe from attacks planned by the United States. Since counterterrorism plans are sometimes documented in various forms of media, Al-Qaeda currently find the radio, newspapers, and television to be very good sources of intelligence gathering (Theohary and Rollins, 2011).

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In order to Al-Qaeda to be successful in implementing their attack plans on America, they have to maintain a status quo which is only possible through rigorous recruiting, resource acquisition, training, surveillance, targeting, communication, attack, and spread of propaganda (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The most important component on the list is communication. As the United States used network technologies to facilitate effective communication in order to counter terrorism, Al-Qaeda employs the same strategy including mass media and the internet to spread messages of attack. The group has a strong multi-national network that involves Islamic militant in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Germany, Somalia, and Algeria, just to mention but a few (Global Security, 2015).

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The United States Department of Homeland security has established fusion centers where information sharing about terrorism occurs, as an important step towards identification of defense strategies. Al-Qaeda’s version of fusion centers are the mosques and Islamist centers located in different countries globally. When identifying the best places to use as information sharing centers, Al-Qaeda takes advantage of those nations or regions where Muslims form a larger percentage of the population (Global Security, 2015).  Information Security Environment, (ISE), is a platform where analysts, operators, and investigators find relevant information on how they can synthesize terrorism, destruct weapons used by terrorists, and general security information that can be used to enhance national security and keep citizens safe. Al-Qaeda’s version of Information Sharing environment comprises of terrorist sponsors, their sympathizers, and terrorists themselves. These people provide Al-Qaeda with relevant information that they need to synthesize the United States security system, as well as to protect their weapon from destruction. Their main role is to assist Al-Qaeda to obtain its objective of attacking huge populations as a way of purification (Global Security, 2015).

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The United States currently used portable devices to detect explosives and other bioterrorism agents that have been planted by terrorist to cause harm to the target population. Similarly, terrorists have developed portable devices that they use to detect the presence of security officers and weapons within their immediate environments. The United State military system uses advanced surveillance capabilities to trace terrorists even in very remote places. For instance, the country makes use of aerial surveillance which provides full-motion video of terrorisms. Surprisingly, Al-Qaeda also uses highly advanced surveillance capabilities to locate security officers who might be trying to follow them (Olson, 2012).

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Al-Qaeda is unconcerned with ethics and this explains why it uses very cruel strategies to attempt to attack people and to defeat the United States and its allies. Ethics concerns the rightfulness or wrongfulness of an action, and an act is automatically immoral if it violates human rights (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The three unethical ways that Al-Qaeda uses technology to attempt to defeat the United States and its allies include bombing, suicide attacks, and cyber terrorism. Technological advancements have given Al-Qaeda an opportunity to prepare bombs, agents for suicide attacks, and to execute cyber terrorism. According to Utilitarianism ethical theory, an action is considered ethical if it generates maximum happiness to the largest group of people. Unfortunately, the technology applied by Al-Qaeda to defeat the United States and its allies make people sad rather than happy, and are therefore considered immoral (Global Security, 2015).

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Al-Qaeada’s sponsors use technology in a very unethical manner to harm their nation’s own population (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The three unethical ways through which Al-Qaeda’s sponsors use technology to harm their own population include, assisting Al-Qaeda to obtain modern weapons for killing people, ensuring the Al-Qaeda gets access to the most effective biological agents to harm the health of the population, and by assisting Al-Qaeda to use modern technology to destruct property in the United States. The main motives of Al-Qaeda and their sponsors are often to purify the ranks of Islam from depravity, and to attain martyrdom in the cause of God. If Al-Qaeda continues to attack the United States and its allies through cruel means, the United States is justified to employ similar methods to attack this terrorism network, because killing them is the best way through which they can be eliminated (Global Security, 2015).

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