Terrorist Attacks Analysis
1. The event chosen for the research is the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one of the most tragic episodes in the history of the United States that led to the reformation of anti-terrorist policy, as well as increased awareness of the terrorism threat worldwide. The attacks occurred on September 11, 2001, and were perpetrated by the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda, which functioned under the governance of Osama bin Laden. The aforesaid terrorist acts were performed as a series of airplane hijackings and suicide attacks oriented against the strategic government structures, as well as the places that receive maximum public attention due to the increased density of worker and visitor population. Thus, two of the hijacked planes struck both north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the third aircraft struck the southwest side of the Pentagon, while the fourth plane was overpowered by the passengers and crashed in the countryside in Pennsylvania (Historical Disasters September 11 terrorist Attacks, 2011).
2. The September 11th attacks are nowadays regarded to have one of the most pivotal effects in history, as well as the most lethal terrorist attack that has ever occurred in the history of humankind. These attacks produced a direct and indirect impact on emergency response and recovery actions from both short-term and long-term perspectives. Thus, the following aspects can be regarded as the most significant and tragic among direct impacts of the attacks:
Destruction of the World Trade Center;
Death of nearly 3,000 people (2,750 in New York, 40 in Pennsylvania, and 184 at the Pentagon);
More than 400 firefighters and police officers were killed while liquidating the consequences of the attacks and attempting to rescue people from the emergency site;
All domestic air flights were halted immediately after the attacks due to the threat of recurrent terroristic actions and were resumed only several days after under extra security;
Decreased attendance was reported in a large number of public places that could be estimated as potential targets for the attacks;
More than 30 million square feet of office space in Lower Manhattan was devastated or ruined completely;
Post-traumatic stress and respiratory problems were reported among the 9/11 rescue workers, survivors, and witnesses;
The infrastructure in the affected areas was disrupted;
The government initiated the war on terrorism by intervening in Afghanistan to eliminate the source of a potential future threat and removing the Taliban government that provided the protectorate for the terrorists;
The nation consolidated under the aegis of the war on terrorism immediately after the attacks (Bram, & Rapaport, 2002).
At the same time, the indirect impacts of the described terroristic acts were as follows:
The US government adopted a more aggressive external and internal policy, which was oriented towards the prevention of terrorist attacks.
The complex objectives of the Iraq invasion included the war on terrorism as a response to the 9/11 attacks;
The overall air-travel volume decreased drastically as the population feared a recurrence of the attacks and thus limited air traveling;
The employment rate in New York dropped significantly;
The terrorist attacks gave an impulse to the wave of racial and religious discrimination;
The GDP decreased dramatically after the described occurrence (Roberts, 2009);
The government reported large economic losses, mainly due to insurance coverage, site reconstruction, airline industry crisis, and unemployment.
3. Before the September 11 attacks, the leading role in terrorism prevention was performed by the FBI. Its strategy included both criminal investigations and intelligence. However, in reality, the majority of anti-terrorist actions consisted of the post-factum investigation of terroristic occurrences to develop criminal cases and elaborate the functional action plan for the future. Given the fact that most of the terrorist acts were perpetrated outside the United States, the FBI agents were often located worldwide to collect information about the principal terroristic organizations. However, the anti-terrorism complex of actions was built on the principle of law enforcement, which was purposefully decentralized. Given the fact that terrorist attacks are traditionally intended to cause maximum damage to people in public places, as well as national and corporate property, the spectrum of preventive actions also included security surveillance over strategic places. At the same time, a large portion of international messages was analyzed to discover the potential threat and minimize damage to people and property.
4. The principal investigator of the 9/11 attacks, which went under the code name PENTTBOM, is nowadays considered the largest investigation that has been implemented in the US throughout its history. More than half of FBI agents were involved in the process of identification of hijackers and their sponsors. Likewise, the majority of FBI agents concentrate on the prevention of potential attacks. Being launched on the same day immediately after the attacks, the investigation allowed identifying 19 of the hijackers despite their efforts to conceal their actual names and credit card data. For this matter, the investigation discovered three copies of the identical letters in Arabic, which belonged to the terrorists and contained the information concerning their willingness to die for the sake of implementation of their terroristic goals. Apart from that, several passports were discovered on the emergency sites. One of the principal findings of the investigation is the discovery of the connection between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the al-Qaeda organization (The Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.).
5. The aftermath of the 9/11 attacks included implementing new legislation designed to minimize possible future hazards, as well as punish those responsible for the occurrence. Thus, the U.S. Senate passed the Patriot Act that was created to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes (US Legal, n.d.). Apart from that, the Homeland Security Act was elaborated to organize the government to be capable of defending the nation against terrorist attacks. These acts allowed the government to consolidate the forces in terms of the detection and subsequent elimination of terrorist hazards with the help of removing informational firewalls between government agencies. At the same time, the surveillance data became centralized. In other words, the government was provided with the possibility to access and examine the personal data of each citizen, as well as to create dossiers on people suspected of terrorist actions or connection to terrorist organizations. The passing of these acts gave an impulse to a series of debates concerning the violation of people's civil rights.
6. Following the attacks, in 2002 President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, an office that united several government agencies under the principal objective of defending the country against potential terrorist attacks. Furthermore, the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were founded as a result of consolidating the U.S. Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service. The aforementioned agency overlooked the process of deportation for criminals, which increased the number of deportations. Apart from that, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement enhanced airport security procedures, which now requires a more thorough personal and luggage checking.
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7. In my opinion, the changes that were implemented as a result of the attacks were effective in terms of the war on terrorism, which can be proven by the fact that none of the same-scale attacks has occurred after the event. However, I believe that the Acts issued under the purpose of national security are somewhat undemocratic as they limit personal freedom and privacy of personal data. Furthermore, these Acts have strengthened the Government's position as it is now virtually capable of spying on the population in case of necessity. While the described policy originally was solely for anti-terrorism and defense purposes, a growing number of people suspect the usage of this data for other purposes that are not included in the text of the Acts.
8. In doing this assignment, I consulted primarily government-funded articles that present relevant and verified data on the topic. Thus, I referred to FBI documents that describe the occurrence, as well as scholarly and legal articles that are dedicated to the investigation of the 9/11 attacks and their consequences.
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