As we feel uncomfortable with the intrusiveness of the government's counterterrorism methods we might want to think about the fact that there hasn't been a major terror attack on US soil since 9/11.
The past few days, a terror attack carried out by a faction allied with all Qaeda has killed about 60 people and injured 150 or so in an attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. It appears some of the terrorists are Americans, probably from the midwest, who traveled all the way to Africa to carry out an attack rather than on some target like The Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the US.
Why? Perhaps they were worried that they would be detected and their plot thwarted.
At any rate, the US is replete with soft targets. A soft target is one which has little security, and, from the terrorists' point of view, limited security possibilities.
As a security expert said on TV today, a shopping mall is almost impossible to make secure. Not only are the shopping area entrances almost impossible to secure, the stores tend to have shipping and receiving entrances. If even one is unlocked, dozens of terrorists could get in.
The same is true for most of the buildings we might use on a daily basis. You can put a metal detector at the front door, but terrorists could just shoot their way past it.
Think about how many miles of train tracks there are, most of them almost entirely unsecured. The explosives someone could buy to remove a tree stump would easily derail a train. Or take buses. A suitcase with a bomb in it could kill dozens.
City water is another soft target that could kill hundreds or even thousands.
If the government's antiterrorism efforts aren't thwarting plots or preventing them from being conceived in the first place, how else do you account for the absence of terror attacks on these soft targets?
You dismiss the importance of maintaining secrecy to making antiterrorism efforts effective. The need to maintain secrecy explains a lot. Could it be that warrants and judicial oversight would have meant tossing secrecy out the window?
The key to keeping a secret for long is to limit how many people know.
As for the recent Navy Yard attack (which appears not to have been terrorism), I find it strange that guns were not allowed in a military facility and so it wasn't until armed police arrived on the scene that the shooter was stopped. We don't even trust our Navy men and women with arms?
It makes no sense to me either. Some military are trusted with nuclear warheads FFS. But they can't be trusted with a personally owned handgun? Even in their housing?
The no guns on a military base thing has been a policy since at least Bush I (a lot of "righties" are trying to blame it on Clinton, but he only gets blame (along with everyone else since whoever started it) for perpetuating the policy.
Fox "News" Crackpot: Sure our Fourth Amendment rights are fucked, but nobody fucks with our Second Amendment rights. Be grateful a massive government agency monitors your every keystroke and syllable! That's the reason why Americans went to a Kenyan mall for mass murder, rather than stay on American soil and go to a US Navy Yard or a public school. They knew they'd be foiled!
To be sure Fox News and its audience has a high percentage of people in it who are just as appalled by the surveillance state; they've been griping about the huge numbers of public surveillance cameras in the UK too. I suppose a "crackpot" might not care but not all fox news people are crackpots, leastwise not of this variety.
Both sides do (and should) worry about what this power will be like in the hands of the other side.
Well in all honesty there where not many major terrorist attacks on US soil before 9/11 either. Most major terrorist attacks have always been more prevalent in other countries than within the US.
Also @Rocky John
I'm not sure you guys are making any sort of major rebuttal here. There weren't any attempted mass murder terror attacks back in the 1800's either. I suppose that bolsters your argument, too.
I declare a tie.
It appears some of the terrorists are Americans, probably from the midwest, who traveled all the way to Africa to carry out an attack rather than on some target like The Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the US. Why? Perhaps they were worried that they would be detected and their plot thwarted.
They more than likely had connections with al-shabaab in Kenya, making it easier to operate there.
They were just talking on CNN about the FACT that al-shabaab has a strong recruiting presence in Minneapolis. Coincidentally or not, Minneapolis is also the location of the Mall of America.
The media really piss me off, they do not report anymore, they speculate and spout opinions baed largely on zilch of their own hard investigation because their owners do not consider that the costs involved in investigative journalism enhance Shareholder Value. Whereis real root cause analysis ?
You can thank the Internet for killing off the newspapers. There are very few news sources online who hire professional degreed journalists.
He who would trade freedom for security deserves neither. Benjamin Franklin
He who would trade security for complacency may soon be dead.