News / USA

Americans Safer Since 9-11, Experts Say

Americans Safer Since 9-11, Not Immune from Attacksi
X
April 18, 2013 1:42 PM
Security experts say Americans are much safer from terrorism since the attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people. However, they say the deadly bombings during the Boston Marathon underscore the difficulty of protecting people against an attacker determined to kill civilians. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.

Security experts say Americans are much safer from terrorism since the attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Meredith Buel
Security experts say Americans are much safer from terrorism since the attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people. However, they are quick to add the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon underscore the difficulty of protecting people against a determined attacker targeting civilians.

Following the September 11, the country’s security professionals made enormous strides in protecting civilians. Dozens of plots have been prevented, usually before there is danger to the public.

“If the question is, is America a harder target for transnational terrorism than it was before 9-11, the answer is you bet,” said James Carafano, a security expert at The Heritage Foundation. “Most of it has been based on good intelligence, good proactive counterterrorism efforts, finding people who are interested in doing violence, getting inside, getting information about them and taking them down before they are a threat.”

Carafano credits the success in part to the FBI's shift from a national law enforcement agency to an organization that made counterterrorism its top priority.

He also says the Department of Homeland Security has become skilled at securing airports and the nation’s borders.

But the Boston bombings show how difficult it is to protect the public from all attacks.

“I think you have to accept that this kind of an attack sometimes is going to be possible.  And we have had a number of cases in recent years where attackers almost succeeded,” stated Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The last major terror attack occurred when Army Major Nidal Hassan allegedly killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009.  He had connections to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.  

But a number of bomb plots have failed or have been foiled.

Several months after the 9-11 attacks, Richard Reid failed to detonate a shoe bomb on an airliner.

And on Christmas day 2009, the so-called "underwear bomber," Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, failed to ignite explosives on a flight to Detroit.

That year authorities arrested an Afghan immigrant, Najibullah Zazi, plotting to bomb the New York subway.

Three years ago, New York's Times Square was evacuated after the discovery of a car bomb.

While analysts say officials have learned how to protect people in large public gatherings, there's  a limit to what is practical and effective.

 “They are not going to necessarily stop a very determined attacker," Carafano said. "You really have to rely on finding that person and stopping them before they get there."
 
As counterterrorism officials say -- they have to be perfect all the time, while terrorists have to succeed only once.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid