Assessing the Terrorist Risk to America (And What Americans Really Need to Fear)

Mainstream news broadcasts and YouTube, of late, have been filled with warnings of Middle East terrorists planning attacks in the United States. The U.S. government has responded to these threats by doing what it does best, expand its power (SEE: BREAKING New York-New Jersey Announce Massive Increase in Joint Surveillance), specifically by expanding its power of surveillance and monitoring of the average American, who would likely have trouble finding most of the terrorist hot spots on a map.

How real is the threat? It is difficult to know.

It is important to recognize that most of these terrorist groups are relatively small in size and their capabilities to carry out major terrorist attacks in the U.S. are limited.

It should be remembered that the two times that the U.S, launched attacks against Iraq, when Saddam Hussein was in power, Hussein would get on television and broadcast worldwide to his “terrorist cells” to begin their attacks in the U.S.  Of course, no such attacks occurred. It was all bluster. Perhaps Hussein thought it would encourage some lone wolves to heed his call. But he didn’t have the capability to launch a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

That said, most terrorists groups would like to stage an attack on the U.S. mainland, to give the impression that they are much bigger and more powerful than they actually are. It would be a great recruiting tool. So the possibility that they will attempt something can not be completely ruled out, especially since this latest batch of terrorists seems to be familiar with Western ways.

Further, there is the threat of lone wolves (The head of security at a major Las Vegas hotel told me a couple of years back that the lone wolf, who gets juiced up by what he sees in television reports, is what he fears most.) And the possibility of a false flag event can not be ruled out.

In the late 1980s, I was briefed on a study conducted by the government that reported results of a government group that tried to think out all the possible ways terrorists could attack the U.S. I won’t go into details here, but it appears to me that many of those scenarios could still be turned into operational plans today. Thousands could be killed.

To the degree a terrorist attack in its early stages looks like everyday life and is launched in a manner that blends in with the everyday life of thousands, if not millions of others, it is going to be pretty difficult to stop, no matter how many photo ops occur between Cuomo and Christie. The world is just too big to place a cop at every spot where two or more people gather.

Thus, the new surveillance efforts. such as those announced by Cuomo and Christie, will prove ineffective against a determined, clever thinking terrorist group. It is putting a band aid on a person who might have cancer.

The only thing the surveillance will do is expand the turnkey operation that could be turned against regular American’s at some point in the future. Thus, the surveillance in the long run is a much more dangerous threat to the average Joe, than a terrorist attack, not because a terrorist attack can’t occur on U.S. soil and do damage. It can, However, any such attack will be limited, as opposed to the broad-based evil that general surveillance by government can turn into.

History is riddled with examples of murders by the millions (SEE:  Death By Government) by governments. No terrorist group has come close to killing in such horrific numbers. In fact, groups resort to terror precisely because they do not have the weaponry and manpower to launch a frontal type attack.

The only thing that the U.S, government can do to lower the risk of a terrorist attack is to stop meddling and choosing sides in conflicts that are none of our damn business. This will certainly, at a minimum, lower to some degree the desire to attack America.

But, as far as expanding the surveillance state, the expansion will not prevent a terrorist attack by a clever and determined terrorist group. The expansion of the surveillance state is the terror I fear. No freedom loving people should ever welcome the growth of an apparatus that can easily be turned against them, in the manner that other governments have turned  surveillance states against the people.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

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