Ashley has a JD degree and is an attorney. She has extensive experience as a prosecutor and legal writer, and she has taught and written various law courses.
National Security Division
In 2011, Farooque Ahmed was sentenced to 23 years in prison for plotting to bomb several Washington, D.C., Metrorail stations. Ahmed planned the bombings with people he believed to be members of al-Qaeda. The investigation was led by the FBI, but the prosecution was led by the NSD.
So, what's the NSD?
The United States Department of Justice oversees many different agencies. One of these is the National Security Division, or NSD. The NSD handles all national security functions for the Department of Justice. For the most part, this means the NSD works to combat terrorism and other threats to national security.
The NSD brings all of the Justice Department's national security and intelligence roles under one roof. The functions were previously spread between several different agencies, but the NSD is designed to better coordinate and unify the efforts of prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and intelligence officers. It does so through the use of several sections, including:
- Counterterrorism, which is responsible for combating international and domestic terrorism
- Counterespionage, which investigates and prosecutes cases involving national security, foreign relations, espionage or sabotage
- Operations, which works to provide the FBI and other intelligence agencies the legal tools they need in order to conduct their operations in accordance with the law
- Oversight, which ensures that intelligence operations and intelligence agencies follow the Constitution and other laws, and respect individual privacy and civil liberties
The Patriot Act
The NSD is one of the newest federal agencies. It was created in 2006 by the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization and Improvement Act, which is a reauthorization, or renewal, of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act.
The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act is commonly referred to as just the PATRIOT Act. It was passed by Congress as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. The Act is meant to give law enforcement the means necessary to detect and prevent terrorism, which became a primary focus after the 9/11 attacks. Many people felt the government was caught off-guard and lacked the proper tools to prevent future attacks.
Specifically, the creation of the NSD is meant to address research and reports completed after the 9/11 attacks. Some studies showed that the government's intelligence capabilities were lacking in regard to Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD. A WMD is a nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical or other weapon that can kill or bring significant harm to a large number of people or cause great damage to a structure. For example, the airplanes used in the 9/11 attacks were WMDs, even though airplanes aren't typically used as weapons. The reports claimed that we weren't properly equipped to detect and fend off future attacks using WMDs.
However, now we have the NSD. The NSD is credited with many successful contributions in the fight against terrorism. They've derailed terrorist activity all over the nation, including lesser-suspected areas like Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah.
However, the NSD has also been involved in controversy. Many people believe the NSD violates civil liberties in their investigations.
For example, the NSD defended the CIA's actions regarding the destruction of important videotapes. The tapes allegedly showed terrorism suspects being abused during interrogation. Despite a federal court order to preserve evidence in order to investigate CIA interrogation procedures, the CIA went forward with the destruction of the tapes. When prosecutors sought to show that the CIA violated the court order, the Department of Justice defended the CIA by saying that the videos weren't covered by the order since the suspects were interrogated in secret CIA prisons overseas, rather than in the U.S.
The NSD has also been criticized for using provisions of the PATRIOT Act to collect personal information, such as Internet, telephone and financial records, from private individuals. Though the law allows the collection of personal information in certain emergency situations, studies show the NSD allowed the misuse of those provisions in non-emergency situations and also under-reported the number of times the provisions were used to collect private information.
The National Security Division, or NSD, handles all national security functions for the Department of Justice. The NSD works to combat terrorism and other threats to national security. It has several different sections, including:
The NSD was created in 2006 by the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization and Improvement Act , which is a reauthorization, or renewal, of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act. The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act is usually called the PATRIOT Act, which is an acronym. It was passed by Congress as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. The PATRIOT Act is meant to give law enforcement the means necessary to detect and prevent terrorism.
The NSD is meant to address a report completed after the 9/11 attacks that showed we lacked proper intelligence capabilities to detect and defend against attacks using Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD. A WMD is a nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical or other weapon that can kill or bring significant harm to a large number of people or cause great damage to a structure.
Since then, the NSD has derailed numerous terrorist plots all over the nation. However, many people are critical of the NSD's tactics and believe the NSD sometimes violates civil liberties in their investigations.
After this lesson, you'll have the ability to:
- List the different sections of the National Security Division (NSD)
- Summarize how the NSD was created
- Describe the operations of the NSD
- Identify examples of NSD success and controvery
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