Law Enforcement Approach to Combating Terrorism: An Analysis of US Policy   [open pdf - 736KB]

This thesis examines the US policy for combating terrorism from 1988 to 2000 using five case studies; the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of the US barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998 and the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The thesis begins by outlining the minimum requirements for a counter-terrorism policy. They are; that a policy must either deter terrorists from attacking the US or, failing that, successfully defend against terrorists who cannot be deterred. Next, the thesis examines the history and development of the law enforcement approach to combating terrorism and a few of the events that set the conditions for its ascendance to the forefront of US policy. After establishing the conditions for its dominance, the thesis takes an in- depth to look at the US response in the aftermath of each of the five terrorist attacks. The final chapter compares the demonstrated performance of the policy in the aftermath of the five bombings with the basic requirements for a counter-terrorist policy to determine the effectiveness of the policy as a whole.

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