Over the last fifteen years, homeland security has become a field unto itself. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has become the second-largest federal executive department in the number of people it employs, and includes three law enforcement agencies and a military service (the United States Coast Guard). But the heavy responsibility of keeping Americans safe at home extends well beyond the jurisdiction of that department alone. Still at the federal level, the Department of Justice has four law enforcement agencies of its own, the Department of Defense is authorized to support domestic law enforcement and disaster response operations under certain circumstances (consistent with the Posse Comitatus Act), and the Departments of State, Treasury, Interior, Transportation, and Energy all have components that perform some domestic security-related functions.
Vertical integration has also been a strategic focus. DHS-led intelligence fusion centers, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) each include non-federal, that is state, local, or tribal personnel to help accomplish their missions, and surplus military-grade equipment has increasingly proliferated into local law enforcement. Each of these measures is controversial, with some municipalities attempting to limit by legislation their police forces’ participation in JTTFs, and many observers criticizing the increased “militarization” of law enforcement. Further, the rise of so-called “sanctuary cities” also pits some localities against federal immigration laws in ways that may have significance for counterterrorism efforts.
This first episode in our Security Partnership Teleforum Series explored the limits of federal, state, local, and tribal cooperation. Can and should federal authorities commission local law enforcement to surveil potential threats, and compel compliance with immigration enforcement efforts? How blurred is the line now between “domestic surveillance” for “domestic security” purposes (to which the Fourth Amendment applies) and broader national security concerns that have a foreign intelligence nexus that might be governed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Are there limits on how technologies developed for intelligence gathering purposes may be used in law enforcement missions? What limits should there be on the military’s supplying equipment and training to law enforcement agencies?
- Governor Tom Ridge, Chairman, Ridge Global, Formerly the First Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Former Governor of Pennsylvania
- Moderator: Adam R. Pearlman, Special Advisor, International and National Security Law Practice Group