TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Today, the FBI and DHS are the principal agencies responsible for domesticcounterterrorism activities, but CIA, NCTC and various local law enforcementagencies also play key roles.As the Denver anecdote illustrates, given the wide range of counterterrorismactivities conducted by a number of scattered federal, state and local agencies,domestic counterterrorism requires a high degree of interagency & interjurisdictionalcooperation and information sharing. With the creation of DHS in2002, legislative action and agency initiatives have sought to foster such cooperation,to varying degrees of success.The Department of Homeland SecurityThe Department of Homeland Security’s authorizingstatute, The Homeland Security Act of 2002, nominallygives it primary authority over attack-prevention effortsin the United States, as well as recovery efforts ifsuch a terrorist attack should occur. 259• More than twenty DHS component agenciescarry out missions related to protection of the border (Customsand Border Patrol [CBP]), transportation (Transportation SecurityAdministration [TSA]) and consequence management (FederalEmergency Management Agency [FEMA]), among other criticalcounterterrorism missions. DHS also participates in governmentwideefforts to share counterterrorism information and intelligencethrough what is known as an Information Sharing Environment andseeks to share information with state, local, and tribal governmentsthrough state-run fusion centers. 260• However, Section 101(b)(2) of the Act states that, “primary responsibilityfor investigating and prosecuting acts of terrorism shall bevested not in the Department, but rather in federal, state, and locallaw enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over the acts in question.”Thus, since terrorism is often prosecuted as a Federal crime,the Department of Justice remains the lead agency for terrorism investigationand prosecution efforts.102 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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