The 9/11 attack was a terrorist strike against Americans that led to the death of many civilians. The attack was executed by 19 hijackers who belonged to the terrorist group, al-Qaeda. Several months before the attack, media houses had given the reasons for the attack based on reports from al-Qaeda’s leader. Despite the fact that the American government was aware of a possible attack, it did little to avert it. Evidence of the government’s knowledge of the attack was a fatwa signed by the then leader of al-Qaeda, the late Osama bin Laden. After the attack, bin laden sent a letter to the American government detailing the reasons for the attack. They included America’s support of war against Muslims in Somalia, presence of their soldiers in Saudi Arabia, their support for violence against Muslims in Chechnya, and their support for Muslims’ oppression in Kashmir. In addition, they were angered by the sanctions against Iraq, America’s support of Israel, and the oppression of Muslims in Lebanon.
The plan to attack America was conceived in 1995. American agencies were aware that bin Laden was planning to attack America using hijack/suicide attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had detailed information regarding the attack. Information about the planned attack was contained in a computer confiscated from al-Qaeda members. The attack emanated from Operation Bojinka that involved killing of Pope John Paul II, bombing of American airlines, and an attack on the CIA. However, the initial plan was exposed and foiled. Several al-Qaeda operatives relocated to America in order to receive pilot training in readiness for the attack. The attack was planned by the al-Qaeda leader bin laden and his operatives that resided in America.
The government failed to prevent the attack because it was unable to arrest two operatives that had been trained to execute the attack. The two were spotted in Kuala Lumpur but managed to escape. They entered the United States in the first month of the year 2000. The operatives lived in America without suspicion or arrest. More operatives moved to America and underwent pilot training. Bill Clinton tried to attack bin laden through diplomatic efforts. He did not know that while he was organizing diplomatic talks, al-Qaeda operatives were in America undergoing pilot training. After the attack on the US Cole, the government did not bother to find the perpetrator. When President Bush ascended to power in the last months of the year 2000, the Cole issue had not been resolved. The new government developed a plan to eliminate al-Qaeda within 3 to 5 years. In 2001, security agencies received reports that bin Laden was planning a massive attack. Most of the available information suggested that the attacks would be executed on their embassies in foreign countries. Therefore, the government thought that the nation was safe. It intensified security measures on their embassies in foreign countries. Plans to use airlines to execute the attack were exposed one month before the fateful day. In addition, intelligence agencies discovered that the terrorists who had been spotted in Kuala Lumpur had entered America. However, the government did not respond promptly. During the fateful day, the hijackers passed through a security check system without suspicion. They took over four flights that they crushed into their target buildings. Authorities delayed before issuing a command to shoot down the aircrafts before they hit their targets. Even after the command was given, it was not communicated to the pilots. This was evidence that security agencies were unprepared for a terrorist attack.
In order to prevent such attacks in future, it important for the government to put stringent measures in place. First, the American government should increase domestic and foreign surveillance. For example, the police should tap communication lines and increase surveillance on the borders. Security agencies should use advanced technologies to expand the scope of their operations. Second, security agencies should strive to destroy terrorist groups. In addition, they should find out the methods used by terrorists to attack so that they can develop methods to counter the attacks. Third, security agencies and special mission groups should undertake advanced counter terrorism training. Moreover, cooperation should be improved between different agencies including the FBI, CIA, Federal Air Marshall Service, the Police, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Unit. These agencies should work together and share intelligence to improve security. Third, stringent laws should be implemented to curb terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security should work together with civilians. It is important to report suspicious individuals and activities. Finally, security agencies should collaborate with non-governmental agencies, foreign governments, security organizations, and other government agencies to develop effective strategies to counter terrorism. Sharing of information among these agencies should be improved and streamlined. Effective and timely dissemination of information would facilitate the arrest of suspects before they strike. The government has many security agencies that serve different roles. Therefore, it is important to create harmony and a good working relationship among the agencies. The 9/11 attack could have been avoided had all the involved groups acted accordingly. The government should always evaluate the counterterrorism strategies of the different security agencies to ensure that America is safe from terrorist attacks.