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Column 111306 Brewer

Monday, November 13, 2006

Care Must Be Taken Against the Enemy Within

By Jerry Brewer

Can America be defeated from within? The simple fact
is, that there is an underground terrorist apparatus
inside the United States, along with foreign support and
leadership. The essential ideology of this movement by
a shadowy enemy with no visible armies or countries,
within small enclaves, is “anti-imperialism.”

All this on top of perceived — quite possibly real —
threats of terrorists entering the United States overland
from Mexico or Canada, along with the fear that Latin
American or Caribbean staging areas could be used to
ultimately attack this country.

Similar in country sleeper-cell terrorists, or homegrown
extremists, recently were defeated in the United
Kingdom after British officials strategically utilized
proactive intelligence methods to learn of aircraft
terrorism plots by what was described as “British born
Muslims.” This successful operation by British officials,
against an unconventional and nontraditional cadre of
criminals, was a textbook example of terrorism

The sad truth is that much of the U.S. law enforcement
community, with the exception of a few federal
agencies, has yet to grasp the concept of “anti-
terrorism policing.” Many of the progressive strategies
of this discipline come from within the intelligence
community, and they are known as “tradecraft.” Too,
the intelligence apparatuses in terms of targeting
acquisition, analysis and product/dissemination are well
removed from traditional law enforcement methods.

Last August, a police terrorism conference in New York
for U.S. police officials heard complaints about a
reduction in Department of Justice (DOJ) funds for local
crime fighting. Funding had been reduced from US$4.4
billion in 2001 to US$2.5 billion in 2006. Much of this
funding for traditional policing and community oriented
policing initiatives. However, funds soared for anti-
terrorism in the form of specialized equipment and

In October police chiefs asked President George W.
Bush for more anti-crime funds. Many claimed to be
under pressure from their local governments and
communities. According to the DOJ, violent crime rose
2.3 percent in 2005, the largest crime increase since
1991. The slight increase still weak since the overall
crime rate is the lowest in more than 30 years, this
according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Complaints to Gonzales included juggling “terrorist
hunting needs” with competing demands for traditional
policing. One police official from Central Florida stated
that a priority must be the “crime people feel everyday
— not terrorism.” A former sheriff’s candidate in
Florida recklessly accused the incumbent sheriff of
spending “too much time and money on counter-
terrorism and not enough dealing with crime.” DOJ
statistics did show some large metropolitan areas with
decreases in violent crime.

Justice Department investigators have decided to visit
police departments across the country to accurately
assess actual needs. They must be diligent in focusing
on whether or not these departments understand the
metamorphosis of anti-terrorism policing and the level
of sophistication of this new and deadly enemy.

The information sharing elements of intelligence
gathering; the tradecraft of the terrorist; and the
critical nature of understanding a surveillance detection
program; as well as other critical components of
counter-terrorism, must be determined.

The al Qaeda and similar extremist groups are known
for exceptional planning; intense training; repetition of
successful tactics; superior weaponry; and spectacular
attacks. Their work regularly includes professionally
conceived plans that are well executed with patience
and thoughtfulness. Law enforcement must train and
prepare for these types of threats and learn to
recognize what essentially is a paramilitary, special
tactics, adversary.

A serious potential source of homegrown recruits for
acts of terrorism is the U.S. prison system. This
potential requires serious attention and an alliance
between traditional law enforcement and correctional
systems including parole. Prison gangs offer a powerful
organizational base of hierarchy by which convict-
soldiers can be politicized. Revolutionary groups within
prison walls are known to actively run criminal
operations on the streets with their soldiers proficient
with weapons and explosives.

Most of the splintered Latin American gangs in custody,
from the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) to Mexican drug
cartel members and hit men, assimilate in prison into
the Mexican Mafia. Elements of the Aryan Brotherhood
and other neo-Nazi groups are also well represented.
Too, their powerful links run large networks of street
operatives in drugs and violence.

This extraordinary growth of a potentially operational
infrastructure and force of homeland terrorists, with
frightening capabilities, poses a clear danger to the
United States — and law enforcement must look to the
need of fighting a more sophisticated enemy on the
streets, and prepare for this properly and diligently.

Jerry Brewer, the Vice President of Criminal Justice
International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm
headquartered in Miami, Florida, is a guest columnist with He can be reached via e-mail at