2001+ : Denial & Devastation - Part 1
See Chris Cobar Article List at bottom of page.
Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #16 –
9/11 struck. Since brighter people have written better articles, I will not attempt to rehash what we already know. We all know exactly where and what we were doing when it happened.
For me, I was just finishing my first cup of coffee. Being an hour behind NYC, I was still waking up and hadn’t turned on the telly. At 7:49AM my time, my CNN Producer friend called. With no formalities, he said:
“Was it a terrorist attack?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, despite not having seen the event, I responded:
Five minutes later we received our confirmation when the second plane struck the second tower. It was a no brainer. We knew it was coming, but…
Like all of America, I was in shock. I shouldn’t have been; I knew better but…
Not surprisingly, the following day found the FBI on my doorstep. Due to the invocation of their ‘zip code law,’ my “case” had been transferred locally. After 10+ years, I had a new handler. I really liked Duke. He happened to be from my home state but for obvious reasons, counterterrorism was not his forte. In his neck of the woods, it was meth labs, bomb makers and bank robberies. He was the only Special Agent I ever knew who lived in a flak jacket and could personally arm an entire battalion from his car trunk.
After 10+ years of sending faxes directly to my people, I was no longer allowed to walk three feet and stuff my report into the machine. It was now deemed too “sensitive.” Instead, Duke now had to drive 40 miles to meet me, review and pick up the report, then drive another 40 miles to send it by encrypted fax and then drive 40 miles back home. It was like the pizza delivery boy’s schedule from hell.
I remember one week in particular. It had been one helluva busy week. Stuff was happening daily and I was reporting daily. I called Duke; we had already met on the previous day. He was in the middle of a bank robbery and said that he would have to call back later. I did not argue. As it turned out the bank robber had stuffed his stash in his pants. The money was loaded with a permanent red dye explosive.
It went off; he was coated in red dye. Somehow, he still managed to escape. How can you possibly miss a man waddling down the street with red-streaked pants? Oh, well.
Anyway, Duke showed up bright and early on 9/12. I had been instructed to bring my pertinent files. We headed off to Mickey D’s. Business could not be conducted “on premise.” Duke knew exactly what he was looking for and immediately went to one of my 2000 reports in which I had listed the White House, Pentagon, US Capitol Building, World Trade Center, Sears Tower and TransAmerica Building as targets. We adjourned to make copies and off they went.
Later in the day, I spoke with the Prince Datu. We assumed that America had finally gotten the message. The issue of Abu Sayyaf would now come to the fore; eight year late but what the hell. Taking innocence (and/or stupidity) to an art form, we once again waited to hear from Uncle Sam. Not surprisingly, nothing was forthcoming.
Later on, I learned that all my files had been sent to the 9/11 Commission in DC in a 40 foot truck under cover of darkness.
America was in shock. Shock turned to anger. As Admiral Yamamoto of Imperial Japan noted during World War II:
“Do not awaken the sleeping giant.”
Pearl Harbour did it and so did 9/11.
As is customary, America invoked their isolationistic tendencies and withdrew within their own borders. That is not to say that we did not lash out and take out the Taliban in Afghanistan within three months, but our focus was internal, we were working on healing a nation. Therefore, we tend to forget what Al-Qaeda did outside our borders at this time. They did not slow down; they were on a roll. I will not recount them all; it would take too much time and be downright depressing. A brief recap:
11 April 2002 Al-Qaeda detonated a truck bomb in Tunisia – 19 dead
While sometimes during the aftermath of 9/11 we tend to focus on America and forget what happened outside our borders. It is important for us to always remember that Al-Qaeda did not pause or stop their activities. They escalated. They haven’t gotten out of the biz, nor do they have any intention of doing so.
They’re just waiting for an opportunity and we do know that they have a lot of patience. As previously noted, they only have to be lucky once. We have to be correct 100% of the time.