News / USA

Americans Safer Since 9-11, Experts Say

Americans Safer Since 9-11, Not Immune from Attacksi
X
April 18, 2013
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.

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid