Information Terrorism 3447 - Essay Example

The introduction of the computer has created a new type of terrorism known as

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informational terrorism, which presents a threat, equal to or greater than

physical terrorism. E-mail bombs and attacks on internet servers are the lowest

forms of informational terrorism in terms of destruction. Higher forms of

informational warfare include using the internet as a catalyst to produce

physical terrorism on a higher scale. “The national security establishment is

concerned with a new form of conflict; informational warfare.” (Devost, 1) The

Department of Defense definition of terrorism is “the calculated use of

violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to

intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally

political, religious, or ideological.” (Research, 1) While in physical

terrorism, the perpetrator must come in contact with the target, in

informational terrorism the perpetrator only needs a computer connection. Not

only are the tools of information terrorism more accessible but the implications

can be more devastating. In conjunction with the Internet and the infancy of its

laws, the criminal justice system has fallen behind with its vague set of

incoherent laws. Terroristic violence, as portrayed in Tom Clancy’s Clear and

Present Danger, presents a serious threat to the U.S. which should be dealt not

only with caution and security, but also in conjunction with response.

“Identifying international terrorists and their networks providing warning so

that protective or deterrent measures can be taken, and gathering information on

terrorist acts require a major U.S. intelligent effort.” (Wilcox, 1) In Tom

Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger, information is not correctly distributed to

U.S. agents causing underestimation of enemies. To rectify the drug problem

initiated by Columbia, both the United States and Columbia use physical

terrorism to contend one another. After Colombian drug lords murder a United

States ambassador, the United States retaliates by mounting a series of covert

operations including assassinations and interdiction of drug production and

smuggling. Does the Colombian drug lords murder of one man justify the reactions

of over exertion of force from the U.S.? Tom Clancy used small teams of covert

operatives to launch a counter attack on the Colombians. The U.S. currently

employs a strategy similar to this. “To respond promptly to terrorist

incidents abroad which require varied U.S. resources, we have developed a unique

fast reaction team. This team, led by an officer from S/CT, consists of experts

from DOD, CIA, FBI and other agencies, as needed. At the request of a foreign

government or an U.S. Ambassador abroad, this team can be dispatched within a

few hours on a specially dedicated aircraft provided by DOD to any place in the

world. The team’s job is to provide support to the Ambassador and the host

government in resolving a terrorist crisis, and to advise on additional U.S.

assets that might be needed.”(Combating, 2) This response does not only embody

Clancy’s counteraction but surpasses it with the annexation of whatever force

is necessary. “Small, tailored teams can be launched, depending on the crisis,

and specialists from individual urgencies can be sent alone, as the situation

arises”(Wilcox, 2) If the product of physical terrorism is fear and death, how

can information terrorism render a greater threat? “Considering the presence

of computers in modern society, it is not surprising that terrorists have

occasionally targeted computers systems in the past.”(Devost, 2)

“Information terrorism is the nexus between criminal information system fraud

abuse, and the physical violence of terrorism”(Devost, 2) “Information

technology offers new opportunities to terrorists”(Devost, 1) “Information

warfare, loosely defined, is targeting the information and information systems

that comprise and support civilian and military infrastructures of an adversary.

Information warfare runs deeper than attacks on tanks and troops: an information

warfare campaign can target and disrupt the information and networks that

support crucial day-to-day workings of civilian, commercial, and military

systems, e.g., air traffic control, power grids, stock markets, international

financial transactions, logistics controls, etc. ”(Informational, 1)

“Information technology offers new opportunities to terrorists. “A terrorist

organization can reap low-risk, highly visible payoffs by attacking information

systems. In an effort to attract the attention of the public, political

terrorists perpetrate their acts with the media at the forefront of their

strategy: this strategy calculus is based on the assumption that access to the

communication structure is directly related to power.” (Informational, 1) In

short, informational terrorism can affect millions of people, thousands of miles

away, without leaving a trail for restitution. “Terrorism is a rapidly

evolving and responsive phenomenon.” (Devost, 1) “It is war in which there

are no front lines and in which terrorism practitioners have intentionally

blurred the distinction between combatants and noncombatants.”(Responding, 5)

Any type of terrorism is too destructive, whether it’s as small as a

kidnapping or as complex as state-sponsored terrorism between two conflicting

governments. “Terrorist violence represents a serious threat to U.S.

personnel, facilities, and interests around the world”(Responding, 4) “As

technology becomes more cost effective to terrorists – that is, its

availability and potential for disruptive effects rise wile its financial and

other costs go down.”(Devost, 2) “To combat this growing threat, many

members of Congress have recently proposed anti-terrorist

legislation.”(Terrorism, 1) In my opinion the response to terrorism is too

late. When presented with an act of violence the counter-action will involve

violence. After the operation has transpired the anti-terrorism is only

vengeance. The only true way to combat terrorism and terrorist activities is

prevention. “The war against terrorism will be a protracted conflict.”

(Responding, 5) “Terrorism for the foreseeable future will remain a weapon of

choice for government groups, and other parties to conflict.” (Responding, 4)