Current polling suggests that Americans remain unscathed from fears of imminent and future terror attacks on U.S. soil.
Since November 2001, the Gallup Poll has questioned Americans about their thoughts regarding terrorism occurring within the United States. At any given time, only about 5 - 14 % of Americans polled have said that they are Very worried that they or someone in their family would become a victim of terrorism.
Around 55% answered that they were either not to worried, or not worried at all. When asked if they felt that there would be further acts of terrorism in the United States the majority responded that it wasn't too likely or not likely at all.
When polled regarding what the priorities for Congress and the President were, National Security was rated seventh falling behind the environment and pollution.
In a news briefing on July 17th 2007, Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend expresses that Americans should feel safer due to "Our greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts since September the 11th." He further states that it is because of this effort that "we have constrained the ability of Al Qaida to attack the U.S. again and have led terrorist groups to view the homeland as a harder target to strike than it was on 9/11." However, Townsend also explained that "Al Qaida will continue to attempt visually dramatic mass casualty attacks in the homeland. And they will continue to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and will not hesitate to use them if they develop sufficient capability."
These statements were based upon the newly released national intelligence estimate of the terrorist threat to the United States homeland. The first ever of its kind, this estimate is "intended to provide a strategic understanding of the terrorist threat to the homeland over the next three years and to give the intelligence communities baseline judgments in order to help policy-makers develop and prioritize government actions." But do Americans trust the intelligence gathered by the various agencies of the federal government to be credible?
For many years some have felt that the Bush administration have used terror threats as a way to manipulate the media by creating a distraction from negative press. Other claims have included that Bush has used the threat of Domestic terrorist attacks as a means to demonstrate our need to continue the war in Iraq and engage the enemy abroad.
However, Senator Barack Obamaexpressed today that the national intelligence estimate demonstrates "a chilling reminder of what we have feared all along. After almost six years, awesome sacrifices by our brave men and women in uniform, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, we are no safer than we were on 9/11."
Supporting that notion Senator Russ Feingold said that "''The NIE confirms that al-Qaida is the most serious threat to the United States, and that key elements of that threat have been regenerated or even enhanced. ... The administration's policies in Iraq have also allowed the emergence of an al-Qaida affiliate that didn't exist before the war.'' Both parties recognize the report's serious threats of plans by al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks - which including homegrown terrorists, to inflict mass casualties through new attacks on the United States. Frances Townsend reiterated this feeling in his press briefing saying "We are facing a persistent terrorist enemy led by Al Qaida that remains driven and intent on attacking the homeland and that continues to adapt and improve its capabilities... There should be no question in anybody's mind: Despite our successes, this is an enemy that remains determined. And it remains determined to try and understand if there are vulnerabilities that they may exploit. It requires us to be equally adaptive at capturing or killing them." Although Townsend adds that there has been no "credible information pointing to a specific imminent attack", what serious security threats do we face as a Nation?
According Paul Williams, seasoned investigative reporter and former FBI consultant, al-Qaida is not content with detonating just one nuclear devise inside the United States but multiple detonations simultaneously in seven cities. He reveals in his recently released book "The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World", that New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Miami, Boston, Houston, and Los Angeles are all targets for what he calls is an inevitable "American Hiroshima".
According to Williams, former CIA Director George Tenet informed President Bush one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that at least two suitcase nukes had reached al-Qaida operatives in the U.S. "Each suitcase weighed between 50 and 80 kilograms (approximately 110 to 176 pounds) and contained enough fissionable plutonium and uranium to produce an explosive yield in excess of two kilotons," wrote Williams. "One suitcase bore the serial number 9999 and the Russian manufacturing date of 1988.
The design of the weapons, Tenet told the president, is simple. The plutonium and uranium are kept in separate compartments that are linked to a triggering mechanism that can be activated by a clock or a call from the cell phone." He asserts that the nuclear weapons have already been smuggled into the United States over the Mexican border with help of the MS-13 street gang. Can this be true? Williams's explosive revelations cannot be construed as just mere speculation; in fact, there are many top level government officials which have been mentioned as his sources. This list includes current FBI Director Robert Mueller who verifies Williams' that al-Qaida is poised "to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans" - and that, they seek to simultaneously detonate these devices in multiple cities. A Senior CIA official named Michael Scheuer, confessed to Williams that the CIA ""found that [bin Laden] and al-Qaida were involved in an extraordinarily sophisticated and professional efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction - in this case, nuclear weapons." Other Revelations include:
- In 1996, al-Qaida's "paymaster" and a top lieutenant for bin Laden walked into a U.S. embassy in Africa and spilled the beans on the terror group's activities - including that al-Qaida had purchased nuclear material in the Sudan.
- The story of a Brooklyn, N.Y., mosque that was receiving "stipends" from the federal government for more than $2 million a year up until 1993 - when it was discovered that the mosque was the nerve center for the first attack on the World Trade Center.
- The case of a Chicago charity that raised millions for bin Laden and even paid for one of his operatives whose sole job was to acquire nuclear weapons.
- Evidence the Saudi intelligence service claims bin Laden has an arsenal of between 40 and 70 tactical nuclear weapons.
- Russian sources that claim bin Laden bought 12 to 15 fully assembled nuclear weapons.
- Ties between al-Qaida and the Chechen rebels who allegedly acquired nuclear suitcase devices.
- Bin Laden's claim to a Pakistani journalist two months before 9/11 that acquiring nuclear was "not difficult" - claiming they were available from Russia for between $10 million and $20 million.
- Evidence bin Laden spent between $60 and $100 million to build nuclear devices with the help of scientists from Pakistan, Russia, and China.
- The damage even a low yield "junk" nuclear device would do to New York - with an estimated 250,000 dead in several days.
- The remarkable story of two British secret agents who penetrated al-Qaida's camps in Afghanistan - and reported to Britain that the terror group was finishing work on radiological weapons.
- The stunning admission of the head of Britain's MI5 who confirmed that "renegade" scientists had provided al-Qaida with the knowledge they needed to build a nuclear device.
- New Jersey: the strange case of a Pakistani who died of radiological poisoning soon after 9/11, a man who had apparently served as a "mule" to transport the deadly material into the U.S.
- Axis of Evil: the secret alliance between al-Qaida and Iran that brings together two religious groups with one common goal: destroying the U.S.
Interestingly, Williams claims that despite Homeland Security Advisor, Frances Townsends July 17th assertion that we have captured or killed two-thirds of Al-Qaida's leadership from 9/11, "only one member of bin Laden's shura - or high command - has been killed." So again I ask, can Americans trust the intelligence gathered by the various agencies of the federal government? Is there credible evidence that al-Qaida currently possess nuclear weapons within the United States?
Recently, a Virginia company was able to acquire a nuclear license granting them the permission to purchase machines containing Americium 241 and Cesium 137. Both are radioactive elements that could too easily create a non-fissible bomb that spreads radiation over an extensive area. Although this company was set up by the U.S. government to test the ability of individuals to purchase enough nuclear material to build a bomb, it demonstrates that there still remains serious safety concerns post 9/11. "Although we (Investigators from the Government Accountability Office) had no legitimate use for the machines, our investigators received, within days of obtaining a license from NRC, price quotes and terms of payment that would have allowed us to purchase numerous machines containing sealed radioactive source materials."
This disturbing news comes after a June 2007 report in which the FBI revealed the name of Adnan Gulshair el-Shukrijumah being al-Qaida's operational leader on a nuclear plot targeting the United States. Authorities believe that El-Shrukrijumah is "reportedly the man Usama bin Laden tapped to lead a previous plot to detonate nuclear bombs simultaneously in several U.S. cities." However Intelligence officials claim that "although al-Qaida created a team to develop nuclear terror plots targeting American cities, the organization has to date been unable to acquire the key materials necessary to carry out such attacks."
Adnan Gulshair el-Shukrijumah is a Saudi Born al-Qaida operative who currently remains at large and quite possibly residing within the United States. The State Department is offering up to $5 million dollars for information about current location through the Rewards for Justice Program however, they have yet to receive any pertinent information. El-Shrukijumah has reportedly spent fifteen years in the United States and has a mother who currently resides in Florida. Although the FBI is not sure whether el-Shrukrijumah is working alone or if he is acting in concert with others as part of a terrorist cell, they believe that "he may play a large and leading role in the next set of terrorist attacks inside the United States."