The terrorists have split into small cells of two or three thugs to attack us common people. They want to strike fear in us so we will hide under our beds while they run amok destroying our freedom. Counterterrorism Mamas
Home Grown Terrorists
No longer do enemy agents appear as refugees from a greasy spoon. Born here they speak our language as well as we do or maybe even better. Many of them have studied in our universities to have a leg up for obtaining more responsible jobs. For sure, they have advanced from the quick hit suicide bombers in the shopping centers. They might spend a couple of years selecting a target site and developing tactics to maximize damage. If possible, they will plan an escape route or use devices that enable them to live to fight another day.
Our authorities have a defeatist
Agencies such as the FBI and CIA spend much of their resources to excuse failure and to excise whistle blowers. The Homeland Security is going in the same direction, the bureaucracies serve to perpetuate themselves and rarely achieving any more than that. Their main success lies in persuading just about everyone there are weapon(s) of mass destruction. The nuclear bomb remains the only such weapon. The others commonly mentioned have serious drawbacks, which limit them as to range and killing power.
Given proper support and a modicum of luck, a small group of assassins can eliminate anyone in the world. This factor exaggerates the power and influence of even the weakest actors on the scene. As the terrorists fractionalize command and control, this will increase in importance.
The Patriots Alien and Sedition Acts
Passed during the chaos after 9/11, the Patriot Act is bad legislation. It abridges the Bill of Rights, particularly Amendment One [free speech] and Amendment Five [eminent domain]. Essentially, anyone can steal your house and if you object to the theft the government, can put you into prison. The terrorists eliminated you without a shot being fired.