It has become far harder for the US government to detect upcoming terrorist threats in the years since 9/11, as terrorist networks spread and attract more Americans to their ranks, according to a new report from the former leaders of the 9/11 Commission. “It’s a much more complex and diverse threat than it was” in 2001, the former vice chairman of the Commission tells the Wall Street Journal.
The report, based on assessments from US intelligence agencies and officials, concludes that the US is ill-prepared to deal with homegrown terrorism, and that “overreactions” to failed attacks by those on Capitol Hill and in the media have played into terrorists’ hands and helped fuel anti-American sentiment. But it’s not all bad news: They also conclude that a nuclear or biological mass-casualty attack is much less likely. Al-Qaeda definitely wants to launch such attacks, but has demonstrated absolutely no ability to do so. More likely targets include planes, Western brand names (like hotel chains), and US troops in Muslim countries, harmed by way of suicide bombings, Mumbai-style gunmen attacks, or assassinations.