Predicting and Preventing Terrorist Attacks
U.S. and foreign intelligence organizations have averted a number of terrorist plots, including several directed at the United States. Nevertheless, it is not good enough to foil most terrorist attacks; intelligence organizations are expected to foil all of them. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States has reformed its intelligence organizations to make them better able to predict terrorist activity. These reforms include the establishment of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to coordinate intelligence activities, as well as the National Counter Terrorism Center to develop counterterrorism strategy and planning. Although reforms and new legislative actions can help provide a means to prevent terrorist attacks, the most important component to counterterrorism efforts is having accurate and timely intelligence. There are many challenges inherent to collecting data on terrorists and terrorist organizations. For instance, the extensive amount of data collected can make it difficult to distinguish useful information from irrelevant information. It is important to be aware of and consistently address challenges like this, because they can make predicting and preventing terrorist attacks very difficult.
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