Is another terrorist attack on the U.S. inevitable?

Paul Cruickshank: I think that another attack of some form in the United States will probably happen, but I think it’s very unlikely to be anything near the scale of 9/11.  Al Qaeda might have more recruits now than at the time of those attacks, but it’s much more difficult for them to launch an operation in the United States.  People in the United States are much more alert to the threat.  The general public is much more alert to the threat.  The United States has spent billions of dollars on homeland security.  It’s much more difficult for Al Qaeda to push operatives into the United States.  The American Muslim community has very low radicalization rates.  They’re well integrated.  The American dream really does have resonance with this community.  Two-thirds of them earn over $50,000 a year.  They vote in elections at a higher rate than the average American.  They’re doing very, very well.  So the real threat to the United States moving forward is probably an Al Qaeda operation which is gonna come from outside – maybe from Europe.  People in Europe have visas to go into the United States.  They can gain entrance very easily.  The 9/11 operation was using European operatives.  You saw an airline attack in . . . Sorry.  You saw an airline plot in the summer of 2006 which would use British operatives who could go into the United States on a visa waiver program, get into those airplanes, use liquid explosives.  So the real concern is you’re gonna get an attack coming from outside the United States; but that is more difficult to put together than it was at the time of 9/11 because of those higher alert levels running through the United States right now.

Recorded on: Jan 14 2008

 

The level of alertness among the American people and government makes another 9/11 unlikely, says Cruickshank.

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