WUSA 9, Washington, DC
September 11, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- On this 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, The President and many experts say we are safer, but that safety has come at a high cost.
Who can forget how terrified and vulnerable we felt on September 11, 2001? Who can ignore the hassles we've had to except? Who can forget the wars we've fought and the terrorist masterminds we've killed or captured? But are we safer?
Skip Brandon, a former FBI Assistant Director For Counter Terrorism, answered, "We are safer. There's no question...Intelligence and law enforcement people are actually talking to each other."
Our mindset changed by September 12th. The shoe bomber and the underwear bomber proved airplane passengers are unlikely ever again to give up without a fight.
Police in Montgomery County and across the country have focused on counter-terrorism. Homeland Security has spent billions equipping officers with equipment like radiation detectors.
"The money we've spent is like spending money for insurance. You have to decide how safe you want to be and how much insurance you want to have," shared Lt. Phil Raum with the Montgomery County Police Department.
One political science professor at Ohio State University has put your odds of being killed by a terrorist at about one in 3.5 million. But to reduce those odds even further, we've spent trillions of dollars and sacrificed thousands of our heroic service members. In order to imagine that we're safer from terrorism, we have given up all kinds of freedom.
The regional ACLU director says the costs outweigh the risks.
"If you're a Muslim American, you're a lot less safe, because the FBI has you in its sights," said Art Spitzer.
More than a decade later, we still wrestle with how to respond to the terrorist threat without losing sight of the rights that make us Americans.
Here's one thought that keeps a lot of people in America's homeland security offices up at night: They can succeed 99.9 percent of the time. The terrorists only have to succeed once.