Communications – Reporting terrorism/bioterrorism events

Running head: BIOTERRORISM AND HEALTHCARE&nbsp&nbsp 1

Communications- Reporting terrorism/bioterrorism events

August29, 2014.

Communications- Reporting terrorism/bioterrorism events


Theaftermath of September 2011 attack in the United States exposedsalient gapsamong the government, the public and other federal agenciespreparedness, communication coordination and ability to coordinateemergency cases resulting from terrorism. According to the Nationalintelligence commission set after the September 2011 attack, theattack was largely blamed on the unwillingness and inability to shareintelligence information among the intelligence community (Best,2011).As a result, the information sharing Environment (ISE) program wascreated as a mode of enhancing partnership among the public, lawenforcement agencies and the media in terrorism information sharing(Crelinsten,1989).

Althoughthe ISE program was initiated to enhance information sharing andcommunication among all stakeholders salient deficiencies stillexists among the intelligence community on the basis of ‘need-know’versus ‘need-to-share’ paradigm (Miller,1982).The fusion centers created have enhanced information gathering,maximizing operations and enhancing a collaborative environment ofassessing status of threats and methods of preventing terrorismthreats (Best,2011).However, this intelligence gathering has never achieved a two-waydichotomy on the basis of ‘need-to-share’ and ‘need-to-know’the security agencies are criticized of collecting too much privateinformation through private espionage and sharing too littleinformation on terrorism threats. The resultant effect has beenincreased suspicion among the public and the media(Crelinsten, 1989).

Theinformation sharing plan has been effective in countering terrorismcrimes and enhancing increased cooperation and collaboration amongthe government, the public and the media. For instance, in 2011,information sharing enhanced the prevention of a terrorist attack ona subway train and a possible plane explosion in Detroit in 2006. Theaftermath of September 2011 attack and recent wake in terrorismactivities have increased fears of bioterrorism especially followingthe anthrax mailings. Bioterrorism is feared most for the possiblemass destruction it could have on humanity. There have beensignificant news reports and arrests of organizations and individualsattempting to use chemical and other biological weapons (Best,2011).

Themedia have an essential role in informing the public on emergingthreats as reported by the security agencies in some case, the mediahelp the government in exposing certain aspects of security threats.The participation of the media in reporting terrorism poses complexdilemma to the public and the government in the fight againstbioterrorism (Crelinsten,1989).For instance, after the anthrax scare in Connecticut, the mediaplayed an essential role in covering the story extensively andinformed the public on the nature of bioterrorism (Best,2011).

Theextensive coverage was detrimental in exposing the public tounnecessary fear and psychological distress.The media reporting ofterrorism has been blamed for magnifying and increased terrorism fearamong the members of the public (Miller,1982).It has been argued that the way in which the media label, frame andengage in dramatic reporting of terrorism has only served toencourage terrorism acts. In some cases, the media mis-report certainacts of violence as arising from terrorists’ thereby increasingfear among the public and giving terrorists a false sense ofpublicity(Best,2011).

Anotherargument is that, most terrorists crave for publicity and areencouraged by media coverage, and this is detrimental to the fightagainst terrorism. While the need for information sharing andcommunication cannot be undermined in the fight against terrorism,the government should limit sharing unauthorized security informationthe public and the media as this may jeopardize security operations(Best,2011).The government should work and involve all parties such as the healthprofessionals in training and research on bioterrorism (Miller,1982).Health professionals play a critical role in research and advisingthe government on important strategies of preventing possiblebioterrorism activities and this may guild intelligence officers intheir security plans.

However,the government should encourage the ‘need-to-know’ and‘need-share’ paradigm in gathering intelligence and desist fromdisclosing too much security information(Crelinsten, 1989).This would prevent mediatization and dramatic reporting which maybotch security operations or encourage leaking of classified data byerrant officers like it happened in the wiki-leaks case(Miller, 1982).


BestJr.Richard A.,(2011). IntelligenceInformation: Need-to-Know vs. Need-to-Share.CongressionalResearch Service,Retrievedfrom

Crelinsten,R.D. (1989). Terrorism and the Media. PoliticalCommunication andPersuasion.

Miller,Abraham, H. (1982). Terrorism, the Media and the Law. New York:Transnational Publishers.