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The Law Enforcement Model


This is a kind of interesting clip about the British approach to fighting terrorism. We recently had a speaker at Patterson knowledgeable of British intelligence organizations, and he made more or less the same argument as Reza; the United Kingdom faces a substantial domestic terror threat, but has managed it effectively through law enforcement techniques. I think it’s incontestably true that a law enforcement framing of terrorism makes more sense and works better than a war frame. It’s not the entire answer; any objection I might have to UAV strikes against terrorist targets centers on the practical, rather than legal, difficulties. It’s worth noting, however, that British internal security services have much wider powers of surveillance than their American counterparts. This is more or less the case on the Continent as well, as many European states have longer histories of dealing with domestic terror than the United States. I say this not to suggest that they are models for emulation, but rather to point out that European citizens are far more tolerant of the national security state than Americans, and that this matters for the ability of European intelligence services to focus on a law enforcement model.

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