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Are We Safer Now Than We Were On 9/11?

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NBC News

Are We Safer Now Than We Were On 9/11?

Many national security experts say the U.S. is now much less vulnerable to international terrorism than it was when New York and the Pentagon were struck.

By Ken Dilanian

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Two decades after the 9/11 attacks put terrorism at the center of American foreign policy, some of the same Taliban figures who harbored the planners of that operation in Afghanistan are back in power, including an interior minister with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.

But despite the collapse of the American-backed government in Kabul, many national security experts say the U.S. remains much less vulnerable to international terrorism than it was when New York and the Pentagon were struck.

“Absolutely, we're safer,” Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.

“We're safer here at home, because we’ve got an integrated intelligence community and law enforcement in a way that we never had, pre-9/11,” he added. “We're safer globally, because we have a network of allies who have similar structure set up. ... None of that means we're safe, but we are absolutely safer than we were 20 years ago.”

President Joe Biden’s counterterrorism adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, echoed that sentiment in remarks this week at the Atlantic Council.

“We have learned since 9/11 how to protect Americans from terrorism,” she said. “It isn’t fail-safe, and terrible things still happen. But through a combination of actions abroad and at home, we have thus far been able to disrupt and prevent another 9/11-style attack.”

In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. reorganized its security apparatus and harnessed all the elements of national power to disrupt terrorist plots at home and abroad. Decisions were made to pursue policies, including brutally coercive interrogations and targeted killing, that once were considered out of bounds.

Full story https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/are-we-safer-now-we-were-9-11-n1278896