The U.S intelligence has played a significant role in collection, analysis and production of sensitive information that supports national security leaders, policy makers, commanders of the military and the Congress members. This role has been actively played by the intelligence since 1945 to the present.
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Government’s Role and Intelligence during the Cold War-1945-1990
The Central Intelligence Agency was greatly used during the cold war era. It was used to understand the policies of countries leaning towards Soviet Union. Such information was then used by the US federal, state and local government to develop policy frameworks that could give them advantage over their rivals. The intelligence also collected security information that could help the government to prepare for war incase it arises.
The US government used the intelligence to analyze the intelligence of other countries and carry out combat operatios against communism in other nations. Through this, the intelligence was able to prevent the Cold War from developing to become an active nuclear war. White (480-481) cited that during this period, HUMINT was greatly used in the collection and analysis of the data collected. The US government sent HUMINT as spies collecting security intelligence information from the Soviet Union countries. SIGINT were not very developed but were often used to intercept data related to US security.
Intelligence and the War on Terrorism-1980 to the Present
The US government has continued to use human intelligence (HUMINT) to collect information relevant to prevention of terrorist attacks since 1980. The US government intelligence links up with the law enforcement agencies to combat any planned terrorist attacks from any of the terrorist groups targeting the country. The military operations thus heavily depend on the supply of precise, rreal-time intelligence details to support bombing campaigns through the use of precision guided munitions.
Signal intelligence (SIGINT) plays an important role in counter-terrorism. For example, the U.S National Security Agency (NSA) employs the use of SIGINT technology to intercept emails, mobile phone calls and other electronic communications that take place between the suspects of terrorism (Hughes, Army War College (US) and Strategic Studies Institute 49). For example, NSA SIGINT intercepts combined with HUMINT provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stationed at Khartoum led to the arrest of Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, a terrorist attacker, on 14 August, 1994.
In conclusion, the US government security intelligence, SIGINT or HUMINT, have greatly helped in addressing security concerns in the period before and after the cold war. This has continued to be applied even in the post cold war era in the fight against global terrorism.