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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs