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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

In 2009 and 2010, as a result of investigations by the Department of Justice and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, more defendants were charged in federal court with the
most serious terrorism violations than in any two-year period in our history. And the
Department of Homeland Security, created in 2003 as part of the largest reorganization of
the federal government since the start of the Cold War, is working daily with its federal,
state, local, tribal, and private sector partners to enhance the security of communities
across the country. One recent study found that between 1999 and 2009, 86 terrorist plots
against Americans have been foiled.

Our nation has continued to strengthen and expand information sharing, intelligence, and
public awareness efforts since 9/11. We have supported the creation of 72 state and local
fusion centers, where information about threats can be gathered, analyzed, and shared
among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners. We have
expanded the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) around the country from 35
to 104 and increased the number of JTTF personnel from roughly 1,000 to nearly 4,500.

In addition, the Justice Department has implemented a series of far-reaching legal,
structural and cultural changes over the past decade, including the creation of the
Department's National Security Division and the FBI's National Security Branch, to more
effectively combat national security threats through intelligence.

We have established a new Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, which
trains law enforcement across our country to recognize behaviors and indicators related to
terrorism-related crime. It also standardizes how those observations are documented,
analyzed and shared.

We have worked to engage the broadest possible set of partners in security by expanding
the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign, a nationwide effort originally
implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to increase
public awareness and the reporting of suspicious activity to the authorities.

In short, we have created a much stronger framework for managing threats to our nation.
The capabilities that we have today are far greater than what existed 10 years ago, and
they have helped us thwart numerous terrorist plots, from the attempt to bomb New York
City subways to the foiled attacks against air cargo, Times Square, and a parade in
Seattle. And these capabilities continue to contribute to the security of the American
people every day.

Make no mistake: Our nation is stronger and more secure than it was on 9/11, better
prepared to confront the challenges we face, and more resilient than ever before. But
despite these improvements, we do not have the luxury to rest on our laurels. There are
still terrorist groups around the world who wish us ill, and are plotting attacks against us.

Our success in confronting these threats in the future will depend on those who work on
the frontlines, day and night, at home and abroad, to keep us safe. As important, it will
depend on the American people and our collective determination to stand firm against
threats, united in our resolve, free from fear, and resilient should we be attacked again.

Eric Holder is the U.S. Attorney General. Janet Napolitano is the Secretary of Homeland
Security. James Clapper is the Director of National Intelligence.

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