Policing International Terrorism: Law Enforcement 9-11

Mathieu Deflem, University of South Carolina

I analyze the organization and functions of counter-terrorist strategies of law enforcement in the United States since September 11. Drawing on data from relevant police agencies and related legislative and executive sources on the organization of counter-terrorist policing, the law enforcement dimensions in response to the threat and reality of international terrorism will be analyzed at the federal level in the United States. This includes analysis of the counter-terrorist efforts by relevant federal agencies, in particular the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the relevant policies of the Office of Homeland Security. International terrorism presents a global battle field on which many of the nations of the world are at war. In consequence, September 11 has brought about a retreat of police institutions back to the political powers of national states. These reorganizations of police may have effects that will endure until long after the more immediate repercussions of terrorism have faded. But the political retreat of police under conditions of terrorism today is not complete and cannot be easily achieved because of a now long-established independent police culture on the basis of a shared professional expertise in terms of the means and objectives of policing. Thus, I argue that although a 'war-time' reorganization of international police is under way, functionally and organizationally, the emphasis on efficiency of police technique and the treatment of terrorism as a purely criminal matter reflect the impact of a professionalized police culture across nations.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006