Next week marks two decades since the September 11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, and today a House committee held a panel discussion with national security experts and 9/11 historians to reflect on that day and the changes it has caused around the country.
“Perhaps the only silver lining of 9/11 is that it brought Americans together,” said Dr. Daniel Byman, a former staff member of the 9/11 Commission and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
From the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the terror attacks reshaped American lives forever.
“It made America afraid and it changed the way that we lead our daily lives both as policy makers and citizens of this country,” said Garrett Graff, a journalist and 9/11 historian.
The panelists pointed to the increased coordination among intelligence agencies today that resulted from the security failures leading up to the 2001 terror attacks.
“Organization matters,” said Dr. Amy Zegart, co-director of the Center for International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University. “The root failures of the causes of 9/11 lie in organization.”
“The country is safer because of the policies and changes it undertook,” said Christopher Kojm, former chair of the National Intelligence Council and Deputy Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission.
While witnesses pointed to the security improvements stemming from the attacks, they also cautioned about ongoing threats.
“I urge members to think very strongly outside the jihadist framework,” said Byman who pointed to growing domestic threats like white supremacists.
“Our threat landscape has never been more complex,” said Zegart. “The key threats are shaped by technology.”
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