Understanding the Law of Terrorism (2007) by Weyne McCormack



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Understanding the Law of Terrorism (2007) by Weyne McCormack


The absence of the common definition and understanding of the Federal Intelligence Community and law enforcement intelligence is being researched and revised to present the common decision on the main features of intelligence. We need to pay attention to intelligence in connection with terrorism as a crime against humanity. Intelligence is always discussed about a certain type of information. The definition of terrorism can be considered rather controversial.

The task of this reaction paper is to define intelligence information and research its essence and value for the prevention of terrorist activity. This information is taken from Chapter 7 of Understanding the Law of Terrorism by McCormack (2007).

This chapter is devoted to the research of the essence of information intelligence, specific aspects of security, and access to such kinds of data. It gives us an understanding of the five main techniques of intelligence, the main aim of such activity, and specific features of intelligence.

Keywords: intelligence information, security, terrorism.

Intelligence as Specific Information

This paper defines intelligence as specific information that was gathered and researched to be presented as valuable data for policymakers. Mostly, this information is used in decision-making concerning potential threats of terrorists’ activity. Various national and international organizations made multiple attempts to determine the essence of intelligence information and its role in the prevention and investigation of terrorist attacks. Organizations such as the FBI used the term “intelligence” in three main meanings:

  • Intelligence could be considered as a final product of revisions and research of data that will be further used for policymakers;
  • It could be presented as the process of gathering and analyzing of information abovementioned;
  • Intelligence could refer to both individual organizations that regulate the flow of relevant data and form the final product used for government and the community of such organizations.

In the mentioned book Understanding the Law of Terrorism (2007), McCormack presents his point of view on the importance of intelligence as the tool of prevention and investigation of terrorist actions. Chapter 7 gave us much important information for a proper understanding of these phenomena and the main value of the intelligence information.

Nowadays, the threat of internal and external aggression increases dramatically, so the importance of intelligence information became evident. Terrorists’ activity is directed towards enforcing governmental organizations to change their policy in terrorists’ favor using violence and aggression as the main tools. One of the most dangerous kinds of mentioned violence includes murderous terrorist acts against the civil population. Usually, such activity is aimed at achieving some political goals (national, political, religious).

The State of Israel is under the continuous threat of terrorist activity since the mid-1960s. Moreover, twenty years later, the situation became even worse, as the country got into a long-lasting wave of numerous terrorist attacks. The state of Israel faces aggression from the Palestinian terrorist organizations (for example, Hamas) and Lebanese terrorist organizations (Hezbollah is the main one). Both mentioned organizations pose themselves from the side of usage of extreme violence (political and religious grounds) and additional power in communication with media; usage of advanced technologies. Thus, we may see that there is no guarantee of security and safety from internal or external aggression. To gain more intelligence information, various organizations gather and analyze the information that could be used to prevent terrorism.


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Considering a severe struggle between the countries that are under the attacks of terrorist organizations, there is a need to pay attention to three main elements of their national and international activity:

  • The confrontation between terrorist organizations and security/ military forces of any taken country;
  • Political confrontation in which every party aims at gaining the support of their ideas by the community;
  • Media activity, in which both parties tend to use multiple tools and mechanisms to be in contact with their specific audience and government.

The activity that is directed towards gathering and researching intelligence information may be held by various national and international organizations that implement multiple techniques and tools to collect relevant and up-to-date information.

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The main aim of intelligence lay in the responsibility of the government to protect civil liberties. There are different types of intelligence, such as military, economic, social, and political. Mostly, the activity held to research the information is open to the highest level of governmental organizations and personnel. However, some of the intelligence information is available for the majority of the community to provide society with information concerning the threats of terrorism and the behavior in such situations. There exist five main techniques for gathering intelligence information:

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  • Human intelligence consider the information being collected from human resources (openly or with special means);
  • Signals intelligence is concentrated on the electronic transmissions that can be gathered from the ships, planes, and satellites;
  • Photo intelligence refers to the collecting information from the pictures of certain events or things that could be connected to terrorism;
  • Measurement intelligence is a narrow area that is devoted to the research of weapon and industrial activities;
  • Open-source intelligence refers to the wide range of available sources that may contain relevant data (newspapers, radio, and the internet).


The task of this paper was to react to Understanding the Law of Terrorism (2007) by McCormack to define the essence and characteristic features of intelligence. The main mission of the government is to protect its citizens from terrorist aggression and internal military threats. Thus, intelligence information could be considered one of the most essential tools in the prevention and investigation of such violent acts.

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