With tonight's revelation that another plot to blow up an airliner (this time with PETN, like the 2009 Detroit airplane bomb) has been diverted, it made me stop and think about our current security infrastructure. If you think about how brazen the 9/11 attackers, what a large network was involved, and the intelligence that *could* have been available (Moussaoui, et al.), I can't help but think that the plot would have been thwarted had today's infrastructure been in place. We were woefully unprepared in 2001 - whether it was to collect HUMINT in the Middle East or to have our SIGINT as focused on that enemy. What we have seen since are smaller plots that are harder to uncover...such as the shoe bomber (Richard Reid) or the 2009 Detroit airplane attempted bombing. We got very lucky in both of those cases. However, there have been many other instances where our intelligence was effective. For example, the PETN explosives-laden printers intended for the Jewish center in Chicago in 2010 would have arrived undetected (they had already been screened several times with no discovery) if not for late developing actionable intelligence that plucked the devices while in route. Today is another example where we gained actionable intelligence and removed the threat as well as acquired the device. So, my question is ... do you think we are safer? Has our intelligence infrastructure improved - with respect to this enemy? Or, are we just getting lucky in these cases (2010 Chicago printers, today's announcement) and unlucky in others (2009 Detroit)? I think that there are signs that definitely suggest our intelligence has improved tremendously in the Middle East. It seems we have been able to establish some HUMINT networks and obviously our SIGINT is ever-evolving and truly something to behold. Given that, I just wanted to tip my hat to the professionals who drive these programs forward, almost always in the shadows. Whether it be the R&D specialists who push SIGINT forward, the officers who are on the ground developing networks and HUMINT, the analysts who put it together, or the paramilitary and special forces guys who see it all through on the ground - it is an incredible operation. We'll bound to miss things in the future (hopefully later than sooner), but I definitely think we have a more effective infrastructure today than we had 10 years ago...and I'm thankful for that. The real question is...at the end of the cold war, we let our field operations stagnate and failed to fully appreciate the emerging Islamic extremist threat....so, what is the next threat and will we be more prepared for it than we were in 2001 for the Islamic terrorist threat?