Tue, 26 Aug 2003

Authority for intelligence

Many people question why our intelligence agencies have found it so difficult to find all the local terrorist groups. Intelligence actually puts more emphasis on its support of information, while further action depends on the government's decision to respond to the information through its relevant security arm.

So far, intelligence units have provided considerable information through their findings of Jamaah Islamiyah in Semarang. However, this should be followed up not only by the security agency but also by society, including business communities with their internal security systems, which should be more proactive.

The controversy following the bombing of the Marriott Hotel has indeed caused a major change in the public's security stance. But when it comes to security and intelligence matters, our society has a phobia probably owing to the trauma of New Order regime-style intelligence.

Such an attitude will pose a problem as the present intelligence service has begun to change in line with the progress of reform. The bomb threats continue while part of the public keeps worrying about the old practices of the intelligence operatives.

Therefore, one should be more realistic by prioritizing public safety and tranquility through the delegation of greater authority and more "rights" to the intelligence agency, so as to prevent bomb threats from haunting us all the time.

It is sufficient to revise the (antiterrorism) Law No. 15/2003 without suspicion, instead of a wholesale adoption of the Internal Security Act of other countries.