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Terrorism has being a threat worldwide, yielding to negative results on the targeted areas and causing loss of lives and property. The 9/11 attacks were a revelation to the United States government that more efforts were needed in the fight against terrorism.
The September 11th 2001 attacks involved the crashing of two planes by terrorist jets into the Twin Towers, which led to the collapse of the towers two hours later. The third plane hit pentagon, and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania (BBC News 2001). This act of terrorism was conducted by the Al-Qaeda, costing over 3,000 lives and leaving many Americans widows, widowers, and orphans.
Despite the heightened security in America after the 9/11 attacks, today, domestic terror threats are still evident; however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as the leading agency in detecting and preventing any terrorism acts, is working tirelessly to make sure that America is safe. This paper critically discusses domestic terrorism in the post 9/11 era.
Domestic terrorism in the post 9/11 era
Despite the FBI being on the forefront towards curbing terrorism acts, the United States still remains prone to terrorism, even after the 9/11 attacks. However, according to the FBI news (2009), no act of terrorism can be compared to the terrorism attacks of 9/11, which cost thousands of lives and a negative impact on the United States economy.
Schneider (2011), in his discussion on Terrorism in the United States since the 9/11 attacks, explains that over 33 cases have been analyzed of attempted terrorism, which have yielded to deaths. Most of these cases involve a lone gunman who shot at citizens. Such attacks include the United States Holocaust memorial museum shooting in 2009 whereby, a gunman opened fire and a security guard, Stephen Tyrone, was shot and later died from injuries (Fox news, 2009).
Nevertheless, in 2009, the United States authority obscured six terrorist plots against America; since the 9/11 attacks, over 30 plots have been prevented. This indicates the determination of the FBI in making the United States a safer place.
The Zazi plot in September 2009 was a wake-up call for the United States national security. Najibullah Zazi purchased large quantities of chemical from beauty stores, with an aim of detonating bombs along the New York subway (McNeil, Carafano & Zuckerman 2010).
However, he was arrested before he could accomplish his mission. Civilian bravery has also contributed to the foiling of terrorist attacks. One such case was that of a Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk, who planned to detonate a bomb on a northwest flight landing in Detroit. However, the passengers restrained him, hindering him from a second attempt of igniting the bomb (McNeil, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2010).
Just after the 9/11 attacks, in December 2001, Richard Reid, a disciple of Osama bin Laden, hid explosives in his shoes just before boarding a flight from Paris to Miami and attempted to light the fuse with a matchbox. However, after he was caught on the act, the plane made an emergency landing at Boston, where he was arrested by FBI officials (Muller, 2011, p1).
In May 2002, Padilla was arrested by US officials after his return from Pakistan, where he had a meeting with the 9/11 mastermind Sheikh Mohammed; he had also received instructions and training (McNeil, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2010). In 2004, Mathew Hale, a leader of a hate group, was arrested after conspiring to murder a judge who requested him to change the name of his group. The judge was not harmed in any way, which is one of the main aims of the United States national security “not waiting for the trigger to be pulled” (FBI news, 2004).
In 2005, Umer Hayat and his son, Hamid Hayat, were arrested after denying that they had attended an Islamic terrorist training camp in Pakistan. In July 2006, while conducting online surveillance of chat rooms, the FBI discovered that there was a plot to attack transit links in New York and New Jersey. The terrorists aimed at bombing the train tunnels; Hammond, a member of the al-Qaeda, confessed to the crime (McNeil, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2010).
In 2009, Smadi Hussein, a 19-year old allegedly attempted to plant a bomb in a Dallas skyscraper; however, the FBI monitoring system of chat rooms identified the plot beforehand and arrested him. These are just but some of the attempted attacks on United States. However, since the 9/11 attacks, the United States government is keen towards protecting her citizen’s lives. The war against terrorism continues to intensify, with the United States government increasing her national security, evident in the Patriot Act.
Nevertheless, in order to increase security, the government should work towards increasing visa coordination. Indeed, conducting quality screening of those crossing the border is vital. It is evident that minimal coordination takes place regarding visas; however, this coordination must be enhanced. Secondly, the US government should develop and maintain a detention policy for those detained on accounts of terrorism, ensuring a legal policy for detention and interrogation, hence increasing national security.
Thirdly, a terrorist watch list should be improved, hence preventing terrorists from entering the country. In addition, expanding the visa waiver program can allow easier identification of terrorists before they arrive in the US, since vital information on the travelers is provided via passenger name records. Needless to say, the United States government has a great system on wars against terrorism; however, if improved, it will be continuously successful in foiling terrorism attacks.
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The 9/11 terrorism attacks were an eye opening for the United States government. Since then, the US declared war on terrorism, with every incoming president implementing strategies that would curb this problem. From the above research, it is rather clear that the United States has been facing several terrorist plots, which have been foiled by the FBI.
American war on terrorism is bearing fruits, with several plots failing due to the quality system used, like in the surveillance of chat rooms. Needless to say, the United States should improve her security system, thus leaving room for no mistakes, now and in the future.
BBC News. (2001). America’s day of terror. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/americas/2001/day_of_terror/the_four_hijacks/flight_11.stm
FBI News. (2009). Domestic Terrorism in the Post-9/11 Era. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/september/domterror_090709
FBI News. (2004). A Different Breed of Terrorist. Hate Group Leader Convicted of Plotting Federal Judge’s Murder. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2004/june/hale060904
Fox news. (2009). Gunman Opens Fire Inside Holocaust Museum, Kills Security Guard. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/10/gunman-opens-inside-holocaust-museum-kills-security-guard/
McNeil, J. Carafono, J. & Zuckerman, J. (2010). Terror and war against terrorism. 30 Terrorist Plots Foiled: How the System Worked. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/04/30-terrorist-plots-foiled-how-the-system-worked
Muller, J. (2011). Terrorism since 9/11. The American Cases. Case 1: The Shoe Bomber. Retrieved from http://psweb.sbs.ohio-state.edu/faculty/jmueller/01SHOE7.pdf
Schneider B (2011). Terrorism in the U.S. Since 9/11. Retrieved from http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/08/terrorism_in_th.html