February 13, 2002
5:01 PM   Subscribe

U.S. authorities had seven chances to catch the hijackers before September 11th.
posted by euphorb (3 comments total)

 
I don't see where you get "seven" from. In any case, this is a somewhat pointless game to play, unless you're looking at specific ways to tighten security. Sure we had plenty of chances to "catch the hijackers", if you assume:

a) that every strange incident should be investigated as if it's a precursor to a major terror attack (see teddy bear thread for the jeers that result);
b) that merely investigating every odd incident would actually lead you to the terror plot;
c) that blocking or deporting individual hijackers would have halted the entire plot;
d) that even knowing the plot people would have believed it.

Certainly there are key improvements needed -- from interagency communication to making sure that the existing laws and procedures are followed for visas. Ultimately, though, it's a fool's game to assume that we could have completely prevented such an audacious and determined terror attack. They looked around, found a weak spot, and exploited it. We can close some loopholes, but they'll find others. Ultimately, it isn't about maintaining an airtight perimeter defense around and indeed throughout our entire society -- nobody would have the resources, the cops get tired, the human beings administering the systems make mistakes, and the terrorists only need one mistake. Ultimately the true way of dealing with terror is to make the price of sponsoring it too high for states, smoke out and eliminate training facilities, and educate people so that they know how to react when they see something happening.

It's like they say. They got three hits, but by plane number four, we had already learned this tactic. Flight 93 refused to let itself be another flying bomb.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on February 13, 2002


I just posted the link as food for thought. Some of those chances were just strange incidents: leaving a plane on a taxiway at Miami International. Some were more serious: failing to put one of the hijackers on a watch list until after he entered the country. Yes, catching them may not have averted the attacks. One was caught (almost despite the FBI) and one was prevented from entering the country.

Like you said the conclusion to draw is that more interagency communication is absolutely necessary. All the wiretaps, surveillance, and watch lists in the world are worthless if the information doesn’t get into the right hands.

Ultimately the true way of dealing with terror is to make the price of sponsoring it too high for states,...

I wasn’t aware that they were state sponsored.

...smoke out and eliminate training facilities...

Let's invade Florida and convert them to, I dunno, say Buddhism? And while we're at it there's a certain domestic bioweapons facility that was likely the source of the anthrax attacks.

...and educate people so that they know how to react when they see something happening.

I think Israel has populace which is educated about these situations. I'm not sure how effective that is.
posted by euphorb at 10:49 PM on February 13, 2002


Ultimately the true way of dealing with terror is to make the price of sponsoring it too high for states,...

I wasn’t aware that they were state sponsored.


Taliban sponsored the Al Quaeda, by sheltering them in the first place, and then refusing cooperate. I'm not sure to what extent their dealings go further, but from what I've read the Taliban were the Al Quaeda, maybe not at first, but money talked.

...smoke out and eliminate training facilities...
Let's invade Florida and...


...and make them change their chad counting policy. hehe. No, I think he was talking about the ones in the middle east, Afghanistan and stuff. I'm not aware of any terrorist training fascilities in Florida, though there are flight schools that teach almost anyone to fly. I guess from no on though they are required to do background checks and stuff, so. I kind of doubt that the next strike, if there'll be one will be carried out by air.
posted by tiaka at 11:28 PM on February 13, 2002


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