It is only natural to wonder, as the nation prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, whether it could happen again. However, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, because of the many layers of protections that have been implemented since then, it is unlikely that so spectacular a plot could be successfully launched. Those protections include: much better intelligence gathering, checks on visas and people going to flight school, airport security and other measures that would halt such plots.
And, although federal security agencies don’t have any “specific or credible information” about a pending attack, she told a group at Tuesday morning forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., that they are working with states to be on the alert, and have created “fusion centers” that will allow them to share and exchange real-time information.
“We don’t have specific or credible information that an attack is pending. That’s not to say that there isn’t … It’s also a possibility that we will have a lone actor, a lone wolf decide, ‘This is a great day to get some attention. I’m going to do something’,” Napolitano said, adding that first responders, law enforcement officials and the American public need to be very vigilant.
Sept. 11 impacted millions of Americans in almost as many different ways, but something that many Americans have in common is how much less convenient and more costly it is now to travel by air. Napolitano suggested that, eventually, they will no longer be required to remove their shoes to pass through airport security, but the liquid ban will likely remain for the foreseeable future.
“I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on, and one of the last things you will probably see is the redaction, or removing the limitation, on liquids because identifying what is actually in a liquid and doing it quickly so that you know it’s not an explosive material, that technology is still in development,” she said.
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