Three Critical Issues to Discuss on the 21st Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
As we approach the 21st anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in history, on U.S. soil, there are three issues we need to discuss concerning that horrible event to protect our nation from similar attacks in the future.
The most important issue is why we must acknowledge exactly what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks against the World Trade Center towers and the attack on the Pentagon were acts of terrorism by al-Qaida, a radical Islamist terrorist group motivated by its radical ideology.
We need to focus on and discuss this because over the last few years, the left and the mainstream media have been whitewashing the 9/11 attacks and do not want to mention these facts.
Moreover, many U.S. students never learn about 9/11 since only 16 states require even mentioning it in school curriculums.
You’ll hear many media outlets this week talk about the "tragedy" of airliners flying into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as if these were accidents.
Many on the left choose to avoid explaining these that were acts of terrorism and that the pilots were members of a terrorist organization because they view doing so as being politically incorrect, and also as being "Islamophobic."
It's not hate speech or "Islamophobia" to talk about what and who was behind 9/11.
To prevent such horrible attacks from occurring again, we must state clearly who committed these acts of terrorism while also acknowledging that the terrorists did not represent the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, who are peaceful and frequently the victims of radical Islamist terrorism themselves.
The second issue is recognizing that radical Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida are making a comeback and the likelihood is high that they will stage major terrorist attacks in the near future.
Three years after President Donald Trump’s leadership caused ISIS to suffer massive defeats in Iraq and Syria, and the loss of its caliphate on the ground, the terrorist organization is gaining strength in the Mideast and has established a major presence across Africa sparking violence across that continent.
Additionally, on Sept. 6, The Wall Street Journal reported that ISIS and other terrorist groups might be preparing to use digital blockchain technology to evade Western efforts to thwart their online fundraising and messaging.
Many experts are concerned that President Joe Biden’s abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan and the $7 billion in U.S. weapons left behind will lead Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven — again.
Although the U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri on July 31 was a blow to the terrorist group, the fact he was openly living in Kabul was an indication that al-Qaida was exploiting the exit of U.S. forces and the fall of the country’s elected government to use it as a base of operations to stage terrorist attacks globally.
Biden administration officials must recognize this threat as a priority national security issue and cease its politicized rhetoric regarding domestic terrorism.
The third issue is remembering that this radical Islamist terrorist attack occurred due to a major U.S. intelligence failure — the failure of U.S. government agencies to share threat information with each other.
We know from the 9/11 Commission Report ("Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States"), that the CIA and FBI each had critical information on al Qaida’s preparations for the attack, which, if this information had been reviewed together, might have provided adequate warning to stop the attacks.
To address this failure of intelligence agencies to share critical threat intelligence, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which initiated a reorganization of the U.S. Intelligence Community and created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
We need to talk about this now because it's clear that the ODNI has not made our nation safer by improving threat intelligence and intelligence sharing.
It has instead become an enormous additional layer of bureaucracy with far too many officials that have made American intelligence analysis and collection less efficient and more risk-averse.
The ODNI regularly creates new bureaucracies to address threats already being dealt with by other intelligence agencies. Although I cannot give my estimate of the size of the ODNI workforce for classification reasons, it's huge.
The ODNI, as well as the other agencies of the 18-member U.S. intelligence, also have undermined confidence in their work by politicizing their analysis and meddling in U.S. politics, including presidential elections.
On this 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, let’s talk about how a future U.S. president can build American intelligence by streamlining and reforming our intelligence agencies to make them leaner, more efficient, and take politics out of their work.
Concerning the ODNI, I recommend this vast and lumbering ODNI bureaucracy be eliminated. However, I have been told that had President Trump won a second term, he planned to reform — not eliminate — the ODNI by significantly streamlining its size, not just to improve efficiency but to eliminate politicization through leaks and corruption that become difficult to root out as bureaucracy grows.
Either way, major reforms like these are needed to ensure that the more than $80 billion our government spends annually on America’s intelligence agencies produce crucial intelligence that policymakers can trust to protect our security from a range of growing threats facing our Nation, including radical Islamist terrorism.
Fred Fleitz is a Newsmax TV Contributor and vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security. He previously served as National Security Council Chief of staff, CIA analyst, and as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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