9/11, 2018

Seventeen years have passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  As the years pass, people's memories of that gruesome day also fade.  It seems the potential for another 9/11 is not on Americans' radar.  For many young people, born after the harrowing incident, it is not even a memory. 

Seventeen years is a long time for a collective consciousness, and there are issues more pressing to many.  Bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker, in his latest novel, Swift Vengeance, has this book quote: "The ghosts of 9/11 are not just Taucher's.  They belong to all of us who get fooled."  Parker explained, "We as a people need to be vigilant to protect ourselves from another 9/11 or San Bernardino.  U.S. citizens have short memories and are busy people with hectic lives.  We tend to forget things.  We are now back to our comfortable ways and perhaps do not keep an eye out, or pay attention.  Our beautiful free society is a blessing, but also our Achilles heel."

American Thinker interviewed two former Special Forces officers, one currently working in the military; a retired FBI agent; and a retired high-ranking CIA official.  All agree with Parker, although they emphasize that security and intelligence services are as diligent as they have ever been, but it is now a challenge to make sure the American public, many politicians, and the press are as well.

Sean Parnell was a platoon leader in the Mountain Division, fighting in Afghanistan.  "While watching television, I saw an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center.  It was then that I decided to serve my country.  I was inspired by the selfless acts of Americans running into the building instead of away from it, trying to save people they did not even know.  After having to medically retire, I decided to become an author.  I wrote my non-fiction book, Outlaw Platoon, because I wanted to bridge the gap between those fighting and American civilians.  I hope Americans understood what my men went through on their behalf, fighting for their freedoms.  The novel, just released, Man of War, was written to awake Americans that there are terrorists still out there who want to kill us, and that all over the world, our military is still in the fight."

Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the former CIA director of the National Clandestine Service and author of Hard Measures, believes that the mainstream media are so obsessed and distracted with President Trump that they do not focus their attention on terrorism.  He has a point, considering that recent attacks were never in the headlines. 

A former Special Operations officer reasons that most Americans do not have terrorism at the top of their list because "they have become immune to the small-scale attacks where only a few people die.  We have been successful in preventing the large-scale attacks by terrorist organizations.  If we look at the weekend tolls from shootings in Chicago every week, they are much higher than recent terrorist attacks."

All those national security officials interviewed feel that bipartisanship, something that occurred shortly after 9/11, has dissipated.  They point to history, claiming that this has been going on for years.  Retired FBI agent and the first deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division Terry Turchie, wants people to "read the Weather Underground model of operation, where they say that resistance means causing division, and it takes everyone's attention from the real problems.  Just look at disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.  He headed the Counterespionage Section and was the deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division. Instead of concentrating on protecting us against terrorism, he became part of the resistance movement.  He is nothing more than part of a political hit team."

Rodriguez points to the Gina Haspel confirmation hearings.  "She was my right-hand person for four years.  Yet she had to swim upstream at the hearings, even though she is competent, thoughtful, and has great experience."  He has a good argument, considering that many of the Democratic senators were sympathetic to the terrorists.  Democratic New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich asked her, "Do you think that a transcript that says the detainees continued to scream has the same gravity, the same reality of an actual video?"  Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) had the audacity to compare a CIA officer to a terrorist when asking, "If one of your operation officers was captured and subjected to waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, would you consider that to be moral and good tradecraft?"

Maybe these senators should think about the screams of those 3,000 people on 9/11 as they plunged to their deaths, were burned alive, or were dismembered.  They need to consider that these bona fide American heroes, among whom Gina Haspel is included, men and women who serve in the intelligence agency, never get the heroic welcome or thanks they so rightly deserve for the risks they take.  Their names will never be known, and they will never receive the public gratitude so many others get.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.  They also should be reminded that the first person to die in battle, defending this country right after 9/11, was Mike Spann, a CIA paramilitary officer, who was beaten to death by the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan as they screamed, "Allahu akbar."

When asked about the next threat, all cited either cyber-security or the porous border.  They want secure borders and ports of entry.  The Special Forces operator told American Thinker, "You would think this should be a nonpartisan national security issue.  But today we cannot have a rational discussion because immediately people are accused of being racist."

Rodriguez agrees: "People who want to do nefarious things can get into this country, which can lead to all types of problems.  If there is a capacity for drug-dealers, traffickers, and illegal immigrants to cross the border, it is certainly possible to be used for all types of bad activities.  If we have totally open borders, terrorists would just be able to drive through."

Today, terrorist organizations overseas have been forced underground, which makes it harder for them to plan and execute attacks.  Everyone emphasizes that, working quietly behind the scenes, those in the military and the Intelligence Community are busy finding and assessing threats around the world.  Yet, because of their prosperity and security, many Americans are disconnected from those who are trying to keep them safe.  Since the threats are not as significant, there has been a loss of unity.  Rodriguez summarized it well: "In many ways, the fact terrorism is now on the back pages, this is positive.  As long as the intelligence community and our government officials are laser-focused, they will be able to force terrorists to keep their heads down, allowing us to view and find them.  Rather than having the media and some politicians second-guess our every move, the Intelligence Community is being left to do our jobs."

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Seventeen years have passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  As the years pass, people's memories of that gruesome day also fade.  It seems the potential for another 9/11 is not on Americans' radar.  For many young people, born after the harrowing incident, it is not even a memory. 

Seventeen years is a long time for a collective consciousness, and there are issues more pressing to many.  Bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker, in his latest novel, Swift Vengeance, has this book quote: "The ghosts of 9/11 are not just Taucher's.  They belong to all of us who get fooled."  Parker explained, "We as a people need to be vigilant to protect ourselves from another 9/11 or San Bernardino.  U.S. citizens have short memories and are busy people with hectic lives.  We tend to forget things.  We are now back to our comfortable ways and perhaps do not keep an eye out, or pay attention.  Our beautiful free society is a blessing, but also our Achilles heel."

American Thinker interviewed two former Special Forces officers, one currently working in the military; a retired FBI agent; and a retired high-ranking CIA official.  All agree with Parker, although they emphasize that security and intelligence services are as diligent as they have ever been, but it is now a challenge to make sure the American public, many politicians, and the press are as well.

Sean Parnell was a platoon leader in the Mountain Division, fighting in Afghanistan.  "While watching television, I saw an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center.  It was then that I decided to serve my country.  I was inspired by the selfless acts of Americans running into the building instead of away from it, trying to save people they did not even know.  After having to medically retire, I decided to become an author.  I wrote my non-fiction book, Outlaw Platoon, because I wanted to bridge the gap between those fighting and American civilians.  I hope Americans understood what my men went through on their behalf, fighting for their freedoms.  The novel, just released, Man of War, was written to awake Americans that there are terrorists still out there who want to kill us, and that all over the world, our military is still in the fight."

Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the former CIA director of the National Clandestine Service and author of Hard Measures, believes that the mainstream media are so obsessed and distracted with President Trump that they do not focus their attention on terrorism.  He has a point, considering that recent attacks were never in the headlines. 

A former Special Operations officer reasons that most Americans do not have terrorism at the top of their list because "they have become immune to the small-scale attacks where only a few people die.  We have been successful in preventing the large-scale attacks by terrorist organizations.  If we look at the weekend tolls from shootings in Chicago every week, they are much higher than recent terrorist attacks."

All those national security officials interviewed feel that bipartisanship, something that occurred shortly after 9/11, has dissipated.  They point to history, claiming that this has been going on for years.  Retired FBI agent and the first deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division Terry Turchie, wants people to "read the Weather Underground model of operation, where they say that resistance means causing division, and it takes everyone's attention from the real problems.  Just look at disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.  He headed the Counterespionage Section and was the deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division. Instead of concentrating on protecting us against terrorism, he became part of the resistance movement.  He is nothing more than part of a political hit team."

Rodriguez points to the Gina Haspel confirmation hearings.  "She was my right-hand person for four years.  Yet she had to swim upstream at the hearings, even though she is competent, thoughtful, and has great experience."  He has a good argument, considering that many of the Democratic senators were sympathetic to the terrorists.  Democratic New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich asked her, "Do you think that a transcript that says the detainees continued to scream has the same gravity, the same reality of an actual video?"  Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) had the audacity to compare a CIA officer to a terrorist when asking, "If one of your operation officers was captured and subjected to waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, would you consider that to be moral and good tradecraft?"

Maybe these senators should think about the screams of those 3,000 people on 9/11 as they plunged to their deaths, were burned alive, or were dismembered.  They need to consider that these bona fide American heroes, among whom Gina Haspel is included, men and women who serve in the intelligence agency, never get the heroic welcome or thanks they so rightly deserve for the risks they take.  Their names will never be known, and they will never receive the public gratitude so many others get.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.  They also should be reminded that the first person to die in battle, defending this country right after 9/11, was Mike Spann, a CIA paramilitary officer, who was beaten to death by the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan as they screamed, "Allahu akbar."

When asked about the next threat, all cited either cyber-security or the porous border.  They want secure borders and ports of entry.  The Special Forces operator told American Thinker, "You would think this should be a nonpartisan national security issue.  But today we cannot have a rational discussion because immediately people are accused of being racist."

Rodriguez agrees: "People who want to do nefarious things can get into this country, which can lead to all types of problems.  If there is a capacity for drug-dealers, traffickers, and illegal immigrants to cross the border, it is certainly possible to be used for all types of bad activities.  If we have totally open borders, terrorists would just be able to drive through."

Today, terrorist organizations overseas have been forced underground, which makes it harder for them to plan and execute attacks.  Everyone emphasizes that, working quietly behind the scenes, those in the military and the Intelligence Community are busy finding and assessing threats around the world.  Yet, because of their prosperity and security, many Americans are disconnected from those who are trying to keep them safe.  Since the threats are not as significant, there has been a loss of unity.  Rodriguez summarized it well: "In many ways, the fact terrorism is now on the back pages, this is positive.  As long as the intelligence community and our government officials are laser-focused, they will be able to force terrorists to keep their heads down, allowing us to view and find them.  Rather than having the media and some politicians second-guess our every move, the Intelligence Community is being left to do our jobs."

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.