At the ready: Los Angeles Police Department officers from the Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau conduct a drill that involves a response to threats of a weapon of mass destruction (June 6, 2013).Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The threat of terrorist attacks on United States soil continues to grow, top officials from the House and Senate intelligence committees found. Most worrisome is the shifting trend from large-scale attacks to smaller, harder-to-prevent events such as the Boston Marathon bombing.
When asked whether America is generally safer than it was two years ago on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein stated that “terror is up worldwide.” She mentioned the advancing technology of terrorism, such as explosive devices that can evade detection by magnetometers (used to detect metal objects or magnetic fields), is making it increasingly difficult to keep bombs out of the U.S.
On the program, Republican Representative Mike Rogers said he would “absolutely agree” with Ms. Feinstein’s assessment and responded that “the pressure on our intelligence services to get it right to prevent an attack are enormous. And it’s getting more difficult because we see the al Qaeda as we knew it before is metastasizing to something different, more affiliates than we’ve ever had before, meaning more groups that operated independently of al Qaeda have now joined al Qaeda around the world, all of them have at least some aspiration to commit an act of violence in the United States or against western targets all around the world.”
He added that terror groups have moved away from events on the scale of 9/11 to smaller attacks, which are “exponentially harder for our intelligence services to stop…”
Earlier in the year, Los Angeles Times reported that FBI Director James B. Comey told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that “the risk of that spectacular attack in the homeland is significantly lower than it was before 9/11.” Yet Mr. Comey warned that “‘what’s popped up in its place’ is the risk of smaller attacks by so-called lone wolves.”
In 2012, the number of terrorist incidents and deaths worldwide reached a record high of more than 8,500 attacks with almost 15,500 people killed—a 69-percent and 89-percent jump, respectively, over 2011, according to a report by CNN about the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
U.S. officials worry that terrorism’s worldwide increase will translate to higher risks at home.
On another edition of “State of the Union,” chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Representative Mike McCaul stated: “I personally see it spreading like a spiderweb, like a wildfire, through Northern Africa and the Middle East.”
“As that threat increases overseas, so too does it increase to the homeland…”
The United States has been forced to adapt to the constant threat from extremist groups. Our article, One Nation Under Terror – Three Realities America Can Learn from Life in Israel addresses how 9/11 changed the nation forever—and how new threats continue to affect the lifestyles of its citizens.