It is a dicey proposition to write a blog on how well counter-terror operations are going. Knock on wood, the moment you publish it something could go real wrong.
But since September 11, 2001 we Americans have not suffered another major attack on our nation. Most of us who went to bed that night assumed more were coming, of even larger size, and quickly. Remember the anthrax letter attacks that came on the heels of the Al Qaeda operation?
The attacks thus far have been limited, and many were attempted by American citizens who have become radicalized here at home. While estimates vary, credible reports suggest since September 11 there have been as many as 60 terrorist plots to attack the United States. Of these more than 50 were thwarted by the new intelligence and security structures.
So tip your hat to the great work our intelligence agencies have done since that grim day, as well as the new security forces for our borders and airports like Customs and Border Protection, and TSA. These agencies take a lot of political hits when things go wrong, and for their inefficiencies, but certainly deserve a pat on the back when things are quiet. They know that they have to be right 100 percent of the time, while our enemies only have to get it right once.
In these quiet times, our intelligence and homeland security organizations are continuing to improve their arts and capabilities, knowing that the terrorists have not given up on their desire to hit us again. There are efforts underway to deploy technologies that would allow for 100 percent scanning of all cargoes coming to the United States, something Congress has asked for since 2007. With the help of private companies such as SITE, the intelligence community is exploiting the terrorist’s use of social media to identify threats and monitor the effects of our overseas operations.
Also tip your hat to the U.S. military. They have taken the fight forward, to the other side of the world, and have certainly made things difficult for terrorists and would-be terrorists, especially from the Middle East and Southwest Asia. I have become skeptical of our repeated military interventions in that theater, but there is no arguing that a lot of bad guys have been killed, and probably before they got a chance to kill us.
It is ironic that so much attention is focused on Westerners who are going overseas to fight for ISIS. These are potential homegrown “lone wolf” terrorists. Perhaps it makes more sense to allow them to leave the country, self-identifying as threats by so doing, where they can be killed by U.S. airstrikes or local forces, rather than to have them remain here plotting against our homeland.
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