The New World of Surveillance

 

The 9/11 attacks fundamentally reshaped the U.S. intelligence community and those of many of its close allies. In the words of a former CIA station chief, the CIA underwent a massive transformation—from gathering to hunting. This new mission supported an emphasis on kinetic counterterrorism, enshrined in the 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy, with its determination to “disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations of global reach.”

The global war on terror required a shift in surveillance targets from traditional state threats and their militaries to much more amorphous terrorist networks. The nonstate actor threat required new tools and methods for surveillance. Led by the United States, the post-9/11 world of surveillance features an increasing reliance on a new tool of imagery intelligence—the drone—which rapidly became a dual-use weapon for both gathering and, in its armed form,…

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