Monthly Archives: December 2001

Could September 11 Have Been Averted? | Commentary

How did we fall victim to a second and more terrible Pearl Harbor? At first glance, this seems an unsolvable puzzle.

On the one hand, we had various kinds of warning. The bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the Tokyo nerve-gas attack that same year provided a powerful demonstration of some of the methods terrorists might employ and the destruction they could achieve. It was also abundantly clear, from a decade-long series of lethal attacks on U.S. facilities abroad, and an attempt to knock down the World Trade Center in 1993, that a group or groups of terrorists were making a determined effort to strike at the U.S. That these same terrorists might attempt once again to hit targets in the American homeland was an obvious possibility; indeed, the CIA issued a series of generalized alerts to that effect, the most recent appearing this past August.

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December 1, 2001 · 12:53 pm