The U.S. government has had a comprehensive and steadfast plan to combat and eliminate any possible terrorist threats since it experienced a terrorist attack in 2001. The federal government has outlined measures and agencies that are responsible for thwarting any potential terror plot. This paper highlights and elucidates on the typical terror plots that have been thwarted in America since 9/11. The paper also explores various agencies that have been on the frontline to play a critical role in foiling terror plots.
Some of the terror plots were to be executed in New York, New Jersey, Quantico and even foreign nations where U.S governments have played a significant role in thwarting terror plots. Finally, the paper presents insights that the increasing foiled terror plots suggest that terror threats are probably active in the present day. The paper then expresses recommendations for achieving successfully foiled terror plots such as information sharing and good leadership in the agencies.
Terrorist threats have been taken with much caution since September 11, 2001, when America experienced a major terrorist attack.
This terrorist act involved two planes that were hijacked and steered to fly towards the twin towers of the World Trade Center. They were other two planes used on the same day for terrorism. The third plane was to attack Pentagon whereas the fourth plane was meant to attack the White House but eventually crashed around Shanksville after the passengers combated the terrorists to avert adversity (Lansford, 2012). The terrorism act left more than 6000 people with sustained injuries while 2,996 lost their lives.
Various government agencies have continued to empirically examine the nature and possible terror attacks that may befall on the U.S.
For the last 16 years, the American government has tasked various agencies to strategize on measures that will effectively help in identifying potential terror plots. There have been several terror attacks that have been thwarted. In fact, the ratio of the foiled terror attack is much large than the experienced terror attack since 2001. For instance, in New York since 9/11 over 20 terror attacks have been thwarted. However, the Homeland security still maintains that there are keen and cautious for they believe there are possibilities of other great terror attacks in New York.
In 2016, summer season a terror attack had been planned to target Times Square, Subway substations, and concert venues. The terror attack was a plot of the three persons believed to be Islamic State Supporters. The attacks were to be accomplished by use of a car bomb that was to be positioned at Times Square targeting the huge crowds of people who hang around that locality. The plot had an alternative approach for the attack which entailed massive shootings at the concert. One of the alleged terrorists expressed that this plot would be similar to the shooting that had happened previously in Paris.
In 2015, the mass shootings in Bataclan concert hall in Paris contributed to loss of 89 lives (Melki and El-Masri, 2016). The third option was to have shootings at the subway targeting women and children. The terrorist would then let off their bulletproof vests when they exhausted their bullets. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) foiled the plot of the New York terror attack. An undercover agent from FBI had a tactical approach to get sufficient details of the plot. He managed to convince the three terrorists that he wanted to be part of the terror attack because he was staunch ISIS sympathizer. The three suspects were tracked and presented to the federal authorities for further investigations.
In 2009, there was an alleged terror plot aimed at attacking Marine Corps Base Quantico. The plot was executed by three men, a Kosovo resident and two American citizens with a purpose to murder American militants. In their plot, they had planned to access the maps of the corps base and amass weapons in prior to the attack (Zuckerman et al, 2013). Four other men were mentioned as they engaged in a conspiracy to avail weapons support to the three terrorists. The four affiliates had also planned to conspire in injuring, maiming, kidnapping and murdering persons abroad. Agents from the government agencies such as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and FBI collaborated to investigate the alleged terror plot. Through the officials in Quantico headquarters, the held a comprehensive Boyd investigation and presented sufficient evidence to North Carolina Federal Courts. From their investigation, they observed that both the terrorists and their sympathizers are not limited to remote inland areas but have continued to grow in their native homes.
On May 3, 2010, there was an attempted terror bomb attack at Times Square in New York. The terrorist had picked Saturday a busy day that makes the place flooded with tourists. On the evening of that day, a car bomb fitted in a new Nissan Pathfinder was discovered at Times Square. The crude bomb was made of M-88 firecrackers, gasoline, propane, and fertilizer. Two visitors noticed the smoking car and called the police to intervene. The Department of Homeland Security evacuated all the people around Times Square and protected the bomb location. Fortunately, there were no explosions; however, the law enforcing agencies started a manhunt for suspects to prevent any possible teaser plot for terror that would harm people. The FBI conducted the investigation in collaboration with both the National Targeting Center (NTC) and Customs and Border Protection to identify and capture Faisal Shahzad, the alleged terrorist.
The NTC is tasked for rapid response to identify products and people quietly who conduct or show traces of potential threats to the security of the nation. The NTC identifies the potential terrorists at more than 30 checkpoints for Border patrol and 327 ports of entry in the U.S. The FBI plays a critical role in consolidating the information shared from local law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies using the NTC technological tools for curbing the movement of potential terrorists across the State’s borders. In this instance, the NTC conducted a time-sensitive research to uncover the escape plan for terrorists which was to flee the nation from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Dubai on Emirates Flight(DHS, 2016). With an obligation of the Department of Homeland Security, the NTC alerted the Customs and Border Protection to capture the terrorist before the flight takes off.
Terrorism is a global challenge and U.S government is on the frontline to combat the inhuman act of terrorism across the national borders. Since the invasion of 9/11, the U.S government has been determined to protect the lives of its citizen living or visiting foreign nations. In December 2017 the American government foiled the purported series of terror attacks in St Petersburg (Rferl, 2017). The American Crime intelligence Agency (CIA) had been tipped from the Moscow on the potential terror attack. The alleged seven terrorists were charged and sentenced. The CIA provided information of the alleged Islamic extremists who had the plan to bomb the City. The CIA has played a significant role in implementing pre-counterterrorism practices to foil terror plot both within American borders and foreign nations (Lushbaugh and Weston, 2012). The intelligence agency helps in creating mutual understanding and cohesiveness across the globe in its endeavors to thwart potential terrorists.
This was a terror plot that was to be conducted in 2007 that would see the alleged terrorists attack the Fort Dix Army base. The intention of the plot was to murder many soldiers as they could. The alleged terrorist had attended paramilitary training together in preparation of the attack (Dahl, 2008). In addition, they had conducted surveillance of military installations but kept the focus on Fort Dix. The federal authorities were tipped on the terror plot. The FBI was the agency tasked; it examined the information provided by the store clerk. The store clerk grew suspicious after accessing a video that entailed the terrorist calling for jihad while firing weapons. The FBI deployed a tactical approach to get legible evidence and capture them. They came up with two informants and placed them in the group and monitored them for 15 months. They then arrested the terrorists when they attempted to purchase M-16 machine guns and AK47 guns.
The increasing cases of foiled terror plots in the U.S suggest that we have a high threat of terrorism and that probably we have active additional terror plots today. From the cases of the thwarted terrorist attack, we learn that it is the sole responsibility of both the citizens and the designated government agencies to prevent future attacks through cooperation and sharing of information. The success of thwarting terror plot has been achieved easily by the agencies due to the factor of focusing on domestic intelligence. Both FBI and CIA have mastered the art of gathering the most effective intelligence from locals. To strengthen measures and have effective terror-thwarting agencies, the U.S government needs to have a breakdown of information flow. The white house requires emphasizing information sharing and cooperation among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on counterterrorism irrespective of jurisdictions. For effective counterterrorism strategies, the government needs to implement full strategies for enhancing counter-violent extremism. This requires strong leadership in federal agencies to help local and state officials understand how to handle and approach tip-offs for terrorism threats.