WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – As Congress observed a moment of silence Friday morning, many reflected not only on the victims of September 11, 2001, but on how the United States has changed over the last 15 years.
The attacks ushered in a new frontier of terrorism, though an attack of that magnitude has not been replicated to date. Still, former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd does not believe the terror threat has been reduced. In fact, the White House issued a continuation of the national emergency threat level; something that has been done for the last fifteen consecutive years.
“Anybody who believes this is going to end any time soon is wrong, flatly wrong,” Shedd said.
Shedd believes radicalization through the Internet and social media has drastically altered the plane for law enforcement officers. “Today, you have a far more distributed network of individuals who don’t necessarily go off and train and plan a major attack,” Shedd said. He concedes law enforcement has had difficulty adjusting to new terror tactics while maintaining a tight grip on the planning of mass attacks.
When Omar Mateen killed dozens at nightclub in Orlando earlier this year, Shedd was frustrated. Mateen had been investigated twice by the FBI, and Shedd doesn’t think the book should have been closed on the terrorist. He believes there should be “something between an open investigation and a closed one,” in addition to giving the FBI more resources.
In the next fifteen years, Shedd says terror groups will continue to plan mass attacks in addition to these attacks driven by inspired young men. He says Americans will be forced to adapt, giving up personal freedoms to prevent terror and cyber attacks. It will be a new normal, but one that Americans will be forced to adjust to.