I cannot for the life of me figure out what is wrong with America's intelligence community. Every time there is some kind of threat, be it a car bombing, an anthrax scare, or a crazy shoe bomber local and federal agencies implement "new" security measures that - at best- had they been thought of earlier, could have provided more protection. Or, worse, the measures are simply reactionary and would in no way act as protection against any real threat. I mean, can't the FBI, NSA - someone! - anticipate these not-so-original kinds of attacks. Any 10 year old kid who has ever picked up XBOX controls can better prepare for a car bomb ("use the M82 with the infrared scope and the paintball MOD).
I've been reading 1000 Years for Revenge by Peter Lance and would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in understanding American intelligence and more specifically the pre-9/11 War on Terror. He writes a chilling tale of mismanagement prior to the first World Trade Center bombing and then leading up to the events of September 11, 2001. Understandably, many might take offense at the picture of ineptitude and gross negligence that he paints, however I think that there is an important message beneath all the criticism: while it may forever be unclear who was at fault in 2001, the same events can happen again if we are not careful to learn form history and to preempt those who wish to harm us. Let's not wait for something terrible to happen each time before setting up a security measure to prevent it.