The world has been battling with threats from domestic and international terrorists for as long as we can remember. Interestingly enough, the concept of terrorism is so subjective that countries of Orient and Occident fail to compile a standard definition. But that is another debate.
The loss of innocent lives and the damage caused to the country’s infrastructure make all hearts ache in grief. And we have witnessed numerous such moments of grief throughout history.
To be clear, our focus is not to unravel the thread of what we call terrorism. Instead, we are much more interested in informing Global Citizens (like yourself) moving to the US of the country’s risk of terrorism, so you will understand how safe is the US and how the US counter terrorism.
Each year, plenty of people choose this country as the destination for their vacations or the beginning of their new lives. Why? Well, people trust the US counter terrorism efforts and find it safe compared to any other county on the globe. But to what extent are they right? We will find out.
Terror attacks in the US
The US gives an impression of unparalleled military strength and incredible economic and political influence. The country’s federal government makes the commitment of defending the nation against its enemies, internal or external.
To defeat the threat of terrorism, the authorities are making use of every tool in their arsenal – military power, law enforcement, intelligence, improved homeland defenses, and vigorous efforts cutting off terrorist financing. But how far has the country succeeded in what we call “the US counter terrorism efforts”? A great deal, we must say!
Let’s get you through the series of terrorist attacks in the US in the past to understand how the situation has improved in the country or whether it ever got any better.
There have been numerous attacks on the country’s sovereignty, resources, and the people that one may lose count of it. Starting from the Mormon war of 1838, followed by the Klamath lake massacre, and then comes the Sutter Buttes massacre, it never stops.
Let’s not go too far in history and see what stats has to say. According to Statista, there have been 1,414 bombings/explosions in the US since 1970.
According to figures from USAFACTS, the nation has averaged about 30 terrorist attacks a year from 2002 to 2019. However, most terror attacks in the US do not result in deaths, except for the deaths of terrorists, according to the START (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) report.
The 9/11 US misery is considered the most grievous international terrorist attack where almost 3000 people lost their lives. These attacks changed the face of international relations forever, eventually putting additional pressure on the US counterterrorism department.
The US Government deployed four counterterrorism waves after the 9/11 attacks, aimed to target terrorist hubs worldwide. US Law enforcement agencies, military forces, and intelligence authorities developed shared databases, countered terror threats as one unit, and paved the way for a safer country.
Today, the 9/11 attacks are still grieved upon and remembered as the biggest terrorist activity in the US, but the counterterrorism department and government are determined to safeguard the residents’ security more than ever after these horrifying attacks.
On 15 April 2013, an egregious terror attack took place during the annual Boston marathon. When thousands of spectators and hundreds of participants were focused on the marathon, two pressure-cooker-based bombs exploded near the race’s finish line, killing three and injuring hundreds.
Boston bombings were an act of extremism on the part of two US immigrant brothers who had ties to radicalization and terrorism. After the Boston marathon bombings, the US Government deployed policies to educate the youth and bring extremist brains back to normalcy.
Boston bombings resulted in multiple assaults on US immigrants and violent mob activities, urging the authorities to strengthen their intelligence network.
Recent terror attacks in the US
Since 9/11, 107 people have been killed in the external terror attacks in the US. The death toll is similar or even lesser to that from internal far-right terrorism, killing 114 people.
- White supremacists
- Anti-abortion violence
Observing the stats and the prevailing scenario in the country, we can conclude that problem of terrorism in the US today is homegrown and is not the province of any one ideological perspective.
Following 9/11, hundreds of Americans and people residing inside the US have been the victim of aggression from white supremacists and falsely being called “terrorists” or the “promotors of terrorism” based solely on their religion and the attire they choose to wear.
As the years have passed, there has been growing awareness among the masses to respect each other beliefs and not resort to criminal activity. As of 2021, it is said that the peak of ISIS’ influence and the number of terror attacks in the US has declined.
Domestic terrorism in the US
According to the US national security and law enforcement agencies, racial animosity and anti-government ideology have given rise to domestic terrorists. In the words of the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray:
“Certainly, the domestic terrorism caseload has exploded.”
Talking about the past 16 to 18 months, Wray added:
“We have more than doubled our domestic terrorism caseload, from about 1,000 t about 2,700 investigations. We have surged personnel to match more than doubling the number of people working that threat from a year before.”
We haven’t yet forgotten the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, which caused the deaths of five people and has led to more than 600 arrests.
The Capitol attack, according to Christopher Wray, also implies the willingness of a percentage of people to resort to violence against the government in the furtherance of their political and social goals.
With the presence of the internet, it makes it hard to trace such terrorists whether they are motivated by domestic grievances or by foreign terrorist groups since the attackers don’t leave a lot of dots to connect.
The good news is that the FBI has managed to thwart terrorism in the US major cities, including New York, Las Vegas, and Miami, in the past couple of years.
How safe is the US?
If you have read this far and are invested in knowing the current situation of terrorism in the US, you must be making up your mind to move to the US. In that case, you must be well-informed of all kinds of relevant content related to your relocation. But where to look up to? The Finder can be your trusted source to get first-hand information about the country you are planning to immigrate to.
Along with it, you must know how safe is the US before making your final decision. Keep reading to get your answers.
The primal terrorist threat today in the US is best analyzed as emerging from across the political spectrum in various forms, such as political polarization and ubiquitous firearms. In addition to this is the power and influence of online communication and social media to generate a complex and carried terrorist threat.
Such threats generally cross ideologies and are mainly disconnected from traditional understandings of terrorist organizations.
How does US counter terrorism?
Although there has been a series of deadly terror attacks in the US by individuals and pairs by terrorist organizations, the country remains a challenging target because of its layered defenses that involve members of the public, tips from local communities, and extensive use of informants. In recent times, the US has seen many directed attacks that failed to successfully kill Americans.
According to the new data from CSIS, an increasing number of current and former law enforcement officers have been involved in domestic terrorism in recent years. As we write, it is speculated that extremists from all sides of the ideological spectrum are growingly targeting the military, law enforcement, and other government actors – putting US security agencies in the crosshairs of domestic terrorists.
In March 2021, the US Department of Defense (DoD) issued a report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that made the statement that:
“DoD is facing a threat from domestic extremists (DE), particularly those who espouse white supremacy or white nationalist ideologies.”
The US military has already taken steps along these lines of data collection and analysis in such areas as sexual assault and suicides. As it is observed, the military and law enforcement personnel have valuable skills that extremist network wants, such as small unit tactics, communications, logistics, reconnaissance, and surveillance.
Gains and signs of Progress
We can say that the US is now safer than before from terrorist network threats. A total of 2,977 died in the 9/11 attacks, one of the most enormous single death tolls from the terror attacks in the US. Since then, 107 Americans have died from apparently similar terror activities.
The multiple lines of effort from the US security agencies ensured that no additional major terrorist attack occurred within the US itself. In the wake of 9/11, new institutions were created such as:
- The Department of Homeland Security
- Directorate of National Intelligence
- National Counterterrorism Center
These institutions have substantially enhanced the resources for intelligence along with the law enforcement agencies.
Additionally, the country has also implemented new security procedures to restore confidence in air travel. Th security institutions, along with the assistance of the government, have given rise to increased military and intelligence capabilities that help thwart numerous plots and track down terrorist operatives and leaders.
The US has substantially increased its capacity to track and shut down terror finance networks with the help of all the institutions and personnel. It molded its approaches to cater to terror threats in the cyber domain, staying ahead of rapidly changing technologies.
US counter terrorism partnerships have been created and strengthened worldwide, and eventually the collaborative efforts have helped the US achieve more than it would have on its own.
To sum it up
Terrorists organize themselves to penetrate open societies and turn the power of modern technologies against the common people. To defeat this threat, the US is making sure to utilize every tool in its arsenal. It is crucial for the US federal government and the military agencies to defend the peace of its citizens and then preserve that peace.
Despite fears that extremism is on the rise in the US, right-wing extremism is far more prevalent than any external threat facing the country. The efforts to disrupt extremism in the country address wide stages of service. The country is witnessing increased focus towards counter-extremism education to make the country a safer place for US residents and global citizens.