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Holder, Napolitano, Clapper: We're safer post-9/11 - USA Today Op-Ed

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Holder, Napolitano, Clapper: We're safer post-9/11
By Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and James Clapper

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - USA Today

All of us who are old enough remember exactly where we were on September 11, 2001,
at the moment we first learned that terrorists had taken control of commercial jetliners
and crashed them into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a field in
Shanksville, Pa.

On that day, our lives, our country, and our world fundamentally changed.
Today, a decade later, we remember the loss of the nearly 3,000 innocent victims of the
attacks, honor the firefighters, police, and many other first responders, who showed such
courage and conviction on that tragic day, and take stock of the fundamental changes that
have reshaped our country and improved security for all Americans. While there are no
guarantees — and there never will be — we have accomplished much to minimize the
risk that a successful terror attack like 9/11 will ever occur on American soil.

Ten years ago, our intelligence and law enforcement communities were aware of
potential threats to the homeland from terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, but we
lacked the focus necessary to anticipate and prevent the attack. Sharing essential
information to confront this threat was impeded by long-standing cultural, legal and
institutional barriers, stove-piped government organizations, and a lack of coordination
and cooperation.

In the decade since 9/11, an unprecedented international partnership has emerged.
Together, the United States and our allies have captured or killed most of those
responsible for the events of 9/11; we continue to pursue those who remain at large; and
the organization that orchestrated these attacks, while still a serious threat, has been
significantly weakened.

Today, we are working together as never before to share information, tactics, and training
to fight terrorists and prevent them from putting their plans into practice, while affirming
our support for security, prosperity and universal rights around the globe. We owe a great
debt to our men and women in uniform who are working tirelessly and effectively in
many places around the world to protect us from harm.

At home, we have made equally important strides to build the capacity to protect our
country and the American people in an age of rapidly evolving threats, and we have made
critical enhancements to our nation's counterterrorism capabilities.

New federal agencies like the Director of National Intelligence and the National
Counterterrorism Center, and a robust information-sharing environment, have
strengthened analysis, improved terrorist watch lists and databases, and created a "need to
share" culture, leading to enhanced coordination, tools, and capabilities. Indeed, the
entire Intelligence Community is producing better intelligence than at any time in history.

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