How Much Better is Our National Security Infrastructure Today than on 9/11?

Discussion in 'The Thunderdome' started by TennTradition, May 7, 2012.

  1. TennTradition

    TennTradition Super Moderator

    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?
     
  2. IP

    IP Advanced Pruitt Apologetics Bot

    We are safer
     
  3. kptvol

    kptvol Super Moderator

    I bought a handgun since then. All y'all can relax.
     
  4. volfanjo

    volfanjo Chieftain

    I think the real players at CIA, FBI and State department are still in a contest for big cheese in the room.

    However in terms of terrorist activity I think there is as a more concerted effort directed at this threat and it has been successful. Focusing on Yemen -- the site of the Cole disaster and epicenter for Al Qaeda activity -- has been smart. The US-supported (tacitly and expressed) toppling of governments in Libya and Egypt is probably smart but the long-term effects are unknown at this point.

    I do wonder if the focus on terrorism has detracted from traditional concerns like Russia, China, Latin America, etc.
     
  5. LawVol13

    LawVol13 Chieftain

    I think having mass intelligence sharing is the key, and I think we're clearly safer.
     
  6. justingroves

    justingroves supermod

    I think we're safer but the next big threat is either the drug cartels in Central/South America or the Chinese imo iyam jmo.
     
  7. ole_orange

    ole_orange Member

    Why do the Chinese pose as a potential threat to Americans? There aren't many radical religious agendas within that country in my opinion.
     
  8. justingroves

    justingroves supermod

    If they ever decide to cash in on what the US owes them, we're screwed.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  9. TennTradition

    TennTradition Super Moderator

    Socioeconomics and politics rather than religion.
     
  10. CardinalVol

    CardinalVol Uncultured, non-diverse mod

    Right now I am much more concerned about the Mexican cartels just south of the border (and in some cases inside the border) than I am Al Queda.
     
  11. droski

    droski Traffic Criminal

    they can't exactly demand payment of treasuries. and screwing the US would be a great way to torpedo their economy.
     
  12. fl0at_

    fl0at_ Humorless, asinine, joyless pr*ck

    Everyone should stop and ask: who buys Chinese goods? Well, everybody, for sure, but we are a rather large consumer.

    It would not bode well for them to lose their best customer.

    As to original topic: I would say we are better protected, but I'm not sure I would say we are more safe. It isn't semantics, it is philosophy. Should the new MO be suicide car bombs (SVBIED) or mass murder shootings, we are still vulnerable, but sharing of intel makes us somewhat more protected.

    My worry is that with so much focus on AQ, over the last decade, what up and coming group have we missed, that will show up in 2030?
     
  13. Volst53

    Volst53 Super Moderator

    I believe that we're safer, but at what price has it cost us?

    I just hope that we don't get on a slippery slope of giving up freedoms for safety, and with the quality of our politicians. I see this as a real threat.
     
  14. CardinalVol

    CardinalVol Uncultured, non-diverse mod

    I don't necessarily care if they listen to a phone call of mine. Other than hearing a conversation with my wife about what is for dinner, or hearing about who died back home when I talk to my mom, they aren't necessarily gaining any valuable info. I mean, if they want to come over and have dinner, just let me know first so we can set an extra plate.

    However, I think the TSA (primarily airport security) is at best comical and more than likely a complete and total waste of time and resources.
     
  15. droski

    droski Traffic Criminal

    Adam Carolla always says the TSA is the epitome of what is wrong with america (stupid rules intended to [uck fay] with everyone for the sake of not offending people) and i have to agree.
     
  16. CardinalVol

    CardinalVol Uncultured, non-diverse mod

    Hard to argue with his logic.
     
  17. JayVols

    JayVols Walleye Catchin' Moderator

    They're not going to hear anything earth shattering from me either, but it still pisses me off. It's illegal without cause, imo. No one is above the law.
     
  18. TennTradition

    TennTradition Super Moderator

    Is anyone else confused by dubbing the AQAP-infiltrator who allegedly carried the bomb to Saudi/US intelligence as a double agent? I don't see how he would be considered a double agent. To me, he sounds like a penetration agent. AQAP is not an intelligence organization - it does not sound like his job was to spy on the US or Saudis for AQAP. The US or Saudis did not double him and have him spy on AQAP. He was someone who was on the fringe of AQAP, he was recruited to spy for the Saudis and served as a penetration agent to infiltrate the inner circle of AQAP. What am I missing here? That's not a double agent...
     
  19. IP

    IP Advanced Pruitt Apologetics Bot

    Ya, there have been some correcting this mislabeling from the US and Saudi side. The guy wasn't playing both sides.


    Anyone else hear about the body scanners being unable to detect things like underwear bombs? And the TSA knew that all along but pitched spending millions for them for that purpose anyway? Someone needs to follow the money, I suspect this was all done to make someone rich.

    I really don't like the body scanners. It is needlessly invasive and exposes people to radiation levels that are unnecessary even if the dose of a single trip is benign.
     
  20. TennTradition

    TennTradition Super Moderator

    He wasn't playing both sides. But that wouldn't really be a double agent, even if he were, as I understand it. A double agent, I believe, is reserved as an agent who is active against a target that is caught or identified, doubled back against the original controller, and now works in the interest of the original target. The only entity being 'played' in that scenario seems to be the original controlling entity. Is that inaccurate?
     

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