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What is the United States Government Doing to Protect Us from Terrorist Attacks?

By: TrBrian Jenkins

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have come to realize how vulnerable they are to attack. For years before these attacks, we witnessed attacks on other countries and, while sympathetic, many Americans felt that such a thing could never happen in the United States. After the attacks, we all realized that it could happen. What happened in the aftermath of these attacks was aimed at reducing or eliminating the dangers of terrorism in our country. With the development of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States set in motion a plan that, to this point, has prevented another attack on US soil. The United States has several facets to their plan to protect us from terrorism. They include the denial of entry to terrorists, the disruption of terrorist activities within the country and the reduction of emerging radical Islamic groups.

  • Denial of entry. The most important weapon that the United States government has in keeping her people safe is border security. Stepped up security at the borders prevents the entry of those who would seek to harm the people of the US, and also the entrance of weapons that could be used against her. Tightened border security is an inconvenience for the millions of people that have no intention of harming the US, but Homeland Security felt that this was the only way to watch who enters and leaves the country. Because of the size of the United States it is easy for someone to "disappear" in this country, particularly if they have no family or work connections. If a suspected terrorist gets past the border it would be very difficult to find them if they did not want to be found.
  • Disrupt terror cells within the country. As unsettling as it is, we have every reason to believe that there are "sleeper cells" operating inside the United States. Again, the size of the United States makes it difficult to know what is going on in every corner of our country. The US government's goal is to narrow down their watch list so that the groups that are on their radar are the ones that are considered most likely to pose a threat to our country. While this may sound like an impossible task, the government has broken up these groups before. It is important to realize that in order to plan and carry out an attack successfully; no one can speak about it in public, on a monitored phone line or make a suspicious purchase. By narrowing down their list of suspicious people, the United States can more effectively watch the groups that are a real cause for concern.
  • Prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicals. The purpose of this is two-fold. Without Islamic radicals in the country, the terrorists do not have any new recruits for their, typically suicidal, missions. Another reason for preventing the emergence of radical Islam within our borders is that it prevents the homegrown terror that may be harder to recognize until an attack has occurred. These homegrown extremists are difficult to recognize because they appear to have assimilated and accepted the US culture, but, internally they reject it and have an intense hatred for the US. These homegrown radical Islamists are often recruited in prisons and on the internet.


    • The United States is has a variety of methods that they use to protect the public from terrorists. While much of what they do is not made public, we do know some methods that the US government is using to prevent another terrorist attack. They have implemented outreach programs among the Muslim community with the goal of clearing up the misconceptions that they often have about Americans. The US also engages in surveillance of communications as well as by using operatives in the field. Anyone who has traveled recently must be familiar with the increased security at all airports and border crossings. One of the most significant improvements that is aimed at preventing another terrorist attack is the communication between the various levels of state and federal law enforcement. Often one agency has one piece of a puzzle, and another agency has another. Since 9/11, all state and federal agencies have been encouraged to work together when terrorism activity is suspected.

      It is impossible to guarantee safety in a country as expansive as the United States, particularly one made up of people who value their freedom. The goal of the Department of Homeland Security is to provide as much protection as possible without infringing on personal liberties. This is a delicate balancing act, and not everyone, on either side, is satisfied with the work that is being done by the agency. While some people feel that our rights as Americans are being systematically chipped away, others feel that the government is standing idly by while people stream across the border and America run charities raise money hand over fist for terrorist organizations. Of course, similar to many other debates, the truth probably lies somewhere is the middle.

      Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have come to realize how vulnerable they are to attack. For years before these attacks, we witnessed attacks on other countries and, while sympathetic, many Americans felt that such a thing could never happen in the United States. After the attacks, we all realized that it could happen. What happened in the aftermath of these attacks was aimed at reducing or eliminating the dangers of terrorism in our country. With the development of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States set in motion a plan that, to this point, has prevented another attack on US soil. The United States has several facets to their plan to protect us from terrorism. They include the denial of entry to terrorists, the disruption of terrorist activities within the country and the reduction of emerging radical Islamic groups.

      • Denial of entry. The most important weapon that the United States government has in keeping her people safe is border security. Stepped up security at the borders prevents the entry of those who would seek to harm the people of the US, and also the entrance of weapons that could be used against her. Tightened border security is an inconvenience for the millions of people that have no intention of harming the US, but Homeland Security felt that this was the only way to watch who enters and leaves the country. Because of the size of the United States it is easy for someone to "disappear" in this country, particularly if they have no family or work connections. If a suspected terrorist gets past the border it would be very difficult to find them if they did not want to be found.
      • Disrupt terror cells within the country. As unsettling as it is, we have every reason to believe that there are "sleeper cells" operating inside the United States. Again, the size of the United States makes it difficult to know what is going on in every corner of our country. The US government's goal is to narrow down their watch list so that the groups that are on their radar are the ones that are considered most likely to pose a threat to our country. While this may sound like an impossible task, the government has broken up these groups before. It is important to realize that in order to plan and carry out an attack successfully; no one can speak about it in public, on a monitored phone line or make a suspicious purchase. By narrowing down their list of suspicious people, the United States can more effectively watch the groups that are a real cause for concern.
      • Prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicals. The purpose of this is two-fold. Without Islamic radicals in the country, the terrorists do not have any new recruits for their, typically suicidal, missions. Another reason for preventing the emergence of radical Islam within our borders is that it prevents the homegrown terror that may be harder to recognize until an attack has occurred. These homegrown extremists are difficult to recognize because they appear to have assimilated and accepted the US culture, but, internally they reject it and have an intense hatred for the US. These homegrown radical Islamists are often recruited in prisons and on the internet.

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