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How 9/11 Changed America

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How 9/11 Changed America
Final Exam Essay

On September 11, 2001 America watched in horror as an act of terror hit New York City. Two commercial airline planes were hijacked and rerouted to hit the World Trade Center buildings. Today the question is being asked, did this result from intelligence failures? My answer to that is yes. When something is going wrong and you do not know what is happening, that is an intelligence failure.
November of 1941, the U.S. intelligence community knew that the Japanese were moving their fleets across the Pacific; however they could not quite figure out where the target location was. In November 1944, American and British intelligence knew that the Germans were massing around the Ardennes; it was not until the Battle of the Bulge did they find out why. In 1990, the U.S. intelligence community was aware that Saddam Hussein was moving armored forces in Iraq and various places; again we did not know why until it was too late.
How many times does this have to happen before change is made? The intelligence community should know about people’s capabilities and their intentions. We do find out intentions some of the time, but not all of the time. The intelligence game is a zero-sum business. If you do not find intelligence all of the time, then what happened in New York will happen again. Maybe not in the same fashion, but something will happen.
What happened?
Nineteen members of al-Qaeda hijacked 4 American Airlines Boeing 767, each were loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, and carried out suicide attacks on American soil. This was funded by the leader Osama Bin Laden, former leader of al-Qaeda. Two of those planes were flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, which left a burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper. Hundreds of people were instantly killed, while hundreds more were trapped on higher up floors.
The third plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 people and damaging roughly one-third of the building. The Pentagon is the U.S.’s center of military control. Losing this building would have crippled our military power and endangered our country.
The fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field, the target location was predicted to be the White House. This would have been the ultimate slap in the face to our country. Through the heroic sacrifices of the hostages onboard, they overran the hijackers and crashed the plane to stop it from hitting something else. Those actions will never be forgotten.
The attacks resulted in extensive destruction, death and psychological trauma to our nation; leading the U.S. to execute major security, policy and community intelligence changes. Also, this began the United States’ war on terror.
Who Were They?
At approximately 8:46am EST, American Airlines Flight 11 was traveling from Boston to Los Angeles. Mohamed Atta piloted the plane to strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At approximately 9:03am EST, Marwan al Shehhi piloted United Airlines Flight 175, traveling from Boston to Los Angeles, into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. At approximately 9:37am EST, Hani Hanjour hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, traveling from Virginia to Los Angeles, and struck the Pentagon. Lastly, at 10:30am EST United Airlines Flight 93, traveling from New Jersey to San Francisco, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The hijacker was Ziad Jarrah.
The reason these planes were used in this plot was simply, they held the most fuel. These planes were scheduled to fly cross country, and packed a lot of jet fuel.
Below is a list of all the hijackers and where they came from:
Hijackers by Airplane:

American Airlines Flight 11
Mohamed Atta - Egypt, tactical leader of 9/11 plot and pilot
Abdul Aziz al Omari - Saudi Arabia
Wail al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
Waleed al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
Satam al Suqami - Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 175
Fayez Banihammad - United Arab Emirates
Ahmed al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Hamza al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Marwan al Shehhi - United Arab Emirates, pilot
Mohand al Shehri - Saudi Arabia
American Airlines Flight 77
Hani Hanjour - Saudi Arabia, pilot
Nawaf al Hazmi - Saudi Arabia
Salem al Hazmi - Saudi Arabia
Khalid al Mihdhar - Saudi Arabia
Majed Moqed - Saudi Arabia
United Airlines Flight 93
Saeed al Ghamdi - Saudi Arabia
Ahmad al Haznawi - Saudi Arabia
Ziad Jarrah - Lebanon, pilot
Ahmed al Nami - Saudi Arabia

America Changes After 9/11
Air Travel:
Two months after the attacks, Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. This created the Transportation Security Administration. Before 9/11, airport security was run by each airport, outsourced to private companies. Now this bill federalizes airport security.
The TSA runs on stricter guidelines handling luggage and passenger screenings. Only those with tickets may pass through security, and the equipment used for screening has vastly improved. New procedures are introduced, as new threats rise.
Also, airplanes underwent major changes. We now have fortified cockpit doors to stop hijackers from entering. Pilots may now apply to become federal flight deck officers, allowing them to carry a loaded gun and act as a federal officer aboard the plane. Flight may even include an Air Marshal, an officer assigned to keep the plane safe.
Immigration, Tourism and Deportations:
After 9/11, America noticed a drop in visas being issued, Pakistan being the most noticeable. In 2002, Pakistani visas given out dropped 70 percent, until 2008 when visas reached a pre-9/11 level again. Egypt and Morocco had similar problems. Also, for three years after 2001, international tourism to America dropped; as well as Americans traveling outside the United States.
Deportation rose by 104 percent from the years 2001 to 2010, according to data from The Department of Homeland Security. Central America was the highest percentage, next was Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
American Muslims:
After the attacks, Anti-Islamic violence increased throughout the United States. According to the FBI, since the year 2001 over 100 Anti-Islamic groups were started. The attacks lead to fear of Muslims and the Middle East. However, not all Muslim are terrorists.
The 9/11 Commission
Before the 9/11 attacks, the intelligence community and its challenges were not at the center of interest. There was widespread belief that the US was safe compared to the period of Cold War. Despite hearing of a possible Islamic attack, there was no concern felt from the threat. An argument could be made, with almost certain accuracy that the US intelligence services failed to deliver the information about the possible danger.
After the attacks on September 11, 2001 the nation was shaken up. The Intelligence Community felt that they let the country down. Senators Lieberman and McCain stepped up to authorize the legislation that would create the 9/11 Commission.
The Commission was established to investigate why America’s defenses failed, and how to prevent catastrophic attacks from happening again.
The committee originated several bipartisan legislative initiatives enacted by Congress and signed into law. The law organized and coordinated federal resources to more effectively prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from terrorists attacks; also to natural disasters. This also strengthened the capabilities of state and local governments, first responders, and the private sector.
During the years 2001-2002, the Committee consolidated the 22 disparate agencies and bureaus in charge of disaster preparedness, prevention and response for the country. They now consolidated into one department, the Department of Homeland Security. The new departments job’s is quite simply, protect the homeland.
Acts Founded After 9/11
The Department came up with some new acts: The Homeland Security Act of 2002, Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention and Act of 2004, the National Counter Terrorism Center, The Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, SAFE Port Act of 2006, Chemical Security Legislation of 2006, The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the USA Patriot Act, Stellar Wind, The President’s Surveillance Program, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2008/ Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention and Act of 2004 created the Director of National Intelligence, who coordinates the 15 federal intelligence agencies. The National Counter Terrorism Center analyses intelligence information by “connecting the dots”.
This lets the government take effective actions to detect, prevent, and disrupt terrorist activities. The Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 strengthened the Department’s ability to protect the nation from “all hazards” whether it’s natural or man-made. The SAFE Port Act of 2006 strengthened the nation’s port security, and established a port security grant program. The Chemical Security Legislation of 2006 allows the DHS to regulate the nation’s high risk chemical plants.
The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007: A system for distributing homeland security grants based on risk. Also, it now required that all cargo carried on planes by passengers be screened. The act also gave protection from lawsuits to vigilant citizens who in good faith report suspected terrorist activity targeting airplanes, trains, buses. Next, it granted money to state and local first responders to improve emergency communications. Lastly, it granted $4 billion dollars for rail, transit and bus security grants.
After 9/11 Thomas Tamm spoke of Stellar Wind, an open secret code name for a collection of activities performed by the United States National Security Agency approved by President Bush. The program had to do with data mining large databases of communication networks on American citizens. Things such as phone calls/texts, emails, internet search activates, and financial records.
Stellar Wind is the largest data mining program running. The program is debated by many government officials and offices. Some feel as it is too intrusive on citizens’ privacy and violates the Constitution.
Disputes within the Justice Department have taken place since the program started about the ethnics involved, is this legitimate. Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled that the program was illegal. He later suffered from pancreatic and was brought t the hospital. Sitting at his hospital bed were two members of Bush’s staff. They wanted him to sign a reversal document on his decision, but he was neither able nor willing to.
The President’s Surveillance Program was authorized by President Brush after 9/11. It is a collection of secret intelligence activities. Most of these activities are highly classified, but one known is the warrantless wiretapping on authorities believed to be working with al-Qaeda.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2008 (FISA), amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law makes it illegal to electronically servile without a government approval. Also, it is illegal to intercept, disclose, and use divulging phone calls or electronic communications. It prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning, or requiring disclosure by large telecoms and protects them from lawsuits.
The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 expands the educational benefits to military veterans who served since 9/11. This now give 100% funding to veterans for a 4 years undergrad education. However it is only given to those who served at least 3 years active duty since 9/11. They may also use the money for their spouse or children after serving 10 years. The bill also covers monthly living expenses, and supplies while attending school.
So, Who Were The Drivers?
The first driver of 9/11 was Osama bin Laden. While he claimed at the time he was not responsible, evidence supported that he was indeed behind the financial part of the plan. After the raid of his compound on May 2, 2011, the SEALs gathered data from Osama. The information found showed just how much influence he had on terrorist’s activities throughout the years, including 9/11.
Next, other drivers were the hijackers themselves. They spent months planning out these attacks. The pilots even went to flight schools to learn how to fly the airliners. They managed to take over the planes with box cutters and fake bombs.
The last driver was America’s government and lack of defense. Below is a list with chronological events listing the US’s relations with Islamic groups and Osama bin Laden.
Feb. 26, 1993 -- Bomb explodes in garage under World Trade Center, killing six and injuring more than 1,000. Group of Islamic extremists later convicted.
Nov. 13, 1995 -- Seven people, including five Americans, killed when two bombs explode at U.S.-Saudi military facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden blamed for attack.
Sept. 27, 1996 -- Taliban, suspected of giving refuge to bin Laden, completes takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan.
June 25, 1996 -- Bin Laden followers detonate bomb at U.S. military base near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American soldiers and wounding hundreds of Americans and Saudi Arabians.
Aug. 7, 1998 -- U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, bombed, killing more than 250 people, including 12 Americans, and injuring 5,000. In retaliation, United States launches airstrikes against suspected terrorist camps in Sudan and Afghanistan.
Aug. 28, 1998 -- FBI accuses bin Laden of having declared "jihad," or holy war, against United States. Complaint also alleges bin Laden founded Al Qaeda that year to promote Islamic fundamentalism and force non-Muslims out of Muslim countries.
November 4, 1998 -- Bin Laden charged with ordering embassy bombings.
Oct. 12, 2000 -- Suicide bombers in Yemen attack U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole, killing 17 sailors. Officials suspect bin Laden involvement.
Jan. 15, 2001 -- U.N. imposes new economic sanctions against Taliban for refusing to turn over bin Laden for trial.
The warning signs were there. America received threats leading up to 9/11 about pending attacks on United States soil. However, our government did not take this serious. Also, the lack of communication between agencies hindered all efforts of a true investigation.
Final Thoughts
In conclusion, before 9/11 the US Intelligence Community was not a focus. We thought the country was safe now that the Cold War was over. Then on September 11, 2001 a terrorist attack happened on American soil in New York. After the attack Intelligence became an import issue, to prevent future attacks. A central idea of intelligence sharing formed and new agencies were created, as well as new acts. Yes we still have intelligence failures, but that will happen. It’s how we react to those failures that will make the country stronger or weaker.

Works Cited

"9-11 Commission, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Reform.“ U.S.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Cushings, Tim. "NSA's Stellar Wind Program Was Almost Completely Useless, Hidden From
FISA Court By NSA And FBI." TechDirt, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
"FISA Amendments Act of 2008." WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 19 June 2008. Web. 09 Mar.
Hess, Pamela. "Presidential Surveillance Program: Spying Went Beyond Warrantless
Wiretapping." Huffington Post, 10 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Mar. 2016. Staff. "9/11 Attacks." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 09 Mar.
2016. Staff. "Pentagon." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 09 Mar.
Means, Koryelle. Challenges with Intelligence in a Post 9/11 World. 09 Mar. 2016..PowerPoint.
Pleitgen, Frederik. 2008. Source of Iraq WMD intelligence tells his story. CNN World.
"September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 11
Mar. 2016.
"Timeline: Key Events Leading Up to Sept. 11 | Fox News." Fox News. FOX News Network, 05
Sept. 2002. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.
Villemez, Jason. "9/11 to Now: Ways We Have Changed." PBS. PBS, 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 11
Mar. 2016.
"Why Did U.S. Intelligence Fail September 11th." PBS. PBS, 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.…...

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...Conspiracy Theories of September 11th There is a lot of speculation on who was actually behind what happened on September 11, 2001. On this date one of America's greatest tragedies occurred. In this tragedy, around three thousand people were killed, with a total of six thousand injured. On this day four planes were hijacked; two of them hit the Twin towers in New York city, one hit the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia just outside Washington D.C., and a fourth one crashed in Pennsylvania, the intended destination of that plane is unknown. What happened on this day completely changed the world forever. ( The people who have been said to be responsible was a terrorist group called Al-Qaeda. The United States citizens have been told to believe that there were 19 hijackers from Al-Qaeda who hijacked four United States commercial jets, and purposefully crashed them into The Twin Towers, and The Pentagon. After the attack happened, the United States responded with launching “The War on Terror” and invaded Afghanistan to eliminate the Al-Qaeda. The leader in charge of the attack was Osama Bin Ladin. This war is still going on to this day, and we still have not found Osama Bin Ladin. ("Formal Analysis, September 11 2001.") The world, specifically the United states, believe that this planned attack was unknown to the United States government.. Many conspirators believe that the government knew about the plans to attack The Twin Towers and The Pentagon,...

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Post 9/11

...these types of techniques. Terrorist are coming up with many different ways to attack and have included hijacking planes as we have seen on 9/11. There is no possible way to avoid terrorism as they do not follow any laws or respect anything that is put into place. The military is doing its best to keep the terrorism threats down to a minimum. There is no definite way to determine if any organizations could have prevented these attacks as the attacks are never forewarned. They just happen and then it’s the after affect that we are left cleaning up and prepare to prevent a second attack. In order to properly put some sort of law into place I think it should be up to the President with all the military heads. I say the President as he is the ruler of the free land and the military heads do have experience and knowledge of proper procedures in preventing these types of attacks or ways to make the attacks less harmful. With proper military preparation we leave nothing open to chance. With every attack there will be repercussion and the terrorist need to understand that. We are not taking things lightly any longer. They need to see that the world is uniting as one to stand against terrorism. With a unified approach it will show that everyone is supporting each other and no attacks will go unpunished. With the attacks on 9/11 is showed the United States as vulnerable and helpless; that a group of men could harm and cripple such an abundant nation. It also showed......

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