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How the Government Failed to Prevent 9/11

The Terrorist Attacks of 9/11 and the Resulting Changes to U.S. Homeland Security

On September 11, 2001, al-Qaida conducted a well-organized, coordinated attack against multiple major targets in the United States. These attacks were largely successful in achieving their goals, except for Flight 93, which was prevented by passengers aboard the airliner. Despite the latter, these attacks, described by many observers as a “Second Pearl Harbor,” not only successfully attacked their targets, but achieved greater long-term, strategic gains for the group, led by Osama bin Ladin. Clearly, the nation was caught off guard by these attacks.

Why was al-Qaida successful in carrying out these attacks? According to some sources, the problem lay in a communications breakdown or poor information-sharing among agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency (NSA). Also, al-Qaida operatives in the United States were able to blend into their communities. Read Investigating 9/11 for an interesting report concerning missed opportunities and lack of communication among intelligence agencies.

As a direct result of these attacks, U.S. Homeland Security undertook a re-evaluation in all government sectors, particularly among the two major domestic entities most responsible for defending the Homeland:

The Intelligence Community
The Department of Defense (DoD)
Both groups implemented massive changes, backed by profound (and controversial) legislation from the White House and Congress.

The 9/11 attacks served to make important changes in the following sectors:

Legislative
Administrative
Judicial
Military
These changes helped create Homeland Security as we know it today. Therefore, it is essential to explore the changes that resulted from the 9/11 attacks as well as the decision to go to war in Afghanistan.

Case Assignment
Explain how al-Qaida was able to establish terrorist cells within the United States capable of carrying out these attacks without detection.
Go to the DHS Website https://www.dhs.gov/about-dhs. Click: MISSION. Pick a mission and comment on it. For example, if it is Prevent Terrorism and Enhance Security, explain what is being done. Perhaps write about a recent terrorist act in the U.S., or explain what measures are used by businesses, hospitals, schools, etc.

Assignment Expectations
Assignments should be at least 3 full pages double-spaced, not counting the cover or reference page. Paper format: (a) Cover page, (b) Header, (c) Body. Submit your assignment by the last day of this module.

Properly cite the quotations that you use to support your statements. For more information, consult the Purdue University OWL: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Relevance: All content is connected to the question.
Precision: Specific question is addressed. Statements, facts, and statistics are specific and accurate.
Depth of discussion: Points that lead to deeper issues are presented and integrated.
Breadth: Multiple perspectives and references, multiple issues/factors considered.
Evidence: Points are well supported with facts, statistics, and references.
Logic: Presented discussion makes sense; conclusions are logically supported by premises, statements, or factual information.
Clarity: Writing is concise and understandable, and contains sufficient detail or examples.
Objectivity: Use of first person and subjective bias is avoided.
References: Sources are listed at the end of the paper

  

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