Beyond the “War” on Terrorism: Towards the New Intelligence Network

In Terrorism, Freedom, and Security, Philip B. Heymann undertakes a wide-ranging study of how the United States can – and in his view should – respond to the threat of international terrorism. A former Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and current James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Heymann draws on his governmental experience and jurisprudential background in developing a series of nuanced approaches to preventing terrorism. Heymann makes clear his own policy and legal preferences. First, as his choice of subtitle suggests, he firmly rejects the widely used metaphor of the United States engaging in a “war” on terrorism. Heymann views this mental model and the policies it spawns or is said to justify as, at best, incomplete, and, at worst, ineffective in preventing terrorist attacks and harmful to democracy in the United States (pp. 19-36). Second, Heymann advocates the paramount importance of intelligence to identify and disrupt terrorists’ plans and to prevent terrorists from attacking their targets (p. 61). Heymann observes that the United States needs both “tactical intelligence” to stop specific terrorist plans and “strategic intelligence” to understand the goals, organization, resources, and skills of terrorist organizations (p. 62).