Foiled Plots Put Eyes Back on Counterterrorism

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The recent arrests in alleged U.S. bombing plots has turned public attention  back to the federal government's counter-terrorism efforts.  

A lot has changed since 9/11, but some enemies stay the same.

The latest statement from Osama bin Laden contains language some experts believe signals an upcoming attack.  

Within the last few days, U.S. law enforcement agencies have foiled what appear to be unrelated terrorist plots in New York, Illinois and Texas.   Analysts say the successful coordination that led to these arrests is rooted in policy changes that were implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

"The good news here is that this is a rare example of all of the U.S. government working together-- the intelligence agencies, the law enforcement agencies,"  said Richard Clarke. "That doesn't mean we'll catch every one of them. It doesn't mean we have a perfect net out there, ut this time, it worked."  

After 9/11, more investigators were assigned to monitor terrorism.   Still, analysts say in response to criticism that different agencies working on the same case did not share information, law enforcement changed its culture.  

Now there's more coordination and cooperation between federal law enforcement, local agencies, and the intelligence community. 

"Another key component is, I believe that communications between the law enforcement side of the federal government, and the intelligence side, is much better," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett.   Terrorism is an international problem, which is why analysts insist that the cooperation must cross international lines. 

"Surprisingly, countries you may think we have a horrible relationship with, we may from a diplomatic standpoint, [but] we may actually have a good intelligence relationship with them, possibly," Garrett added.

Analysts point out that law enforcement is as good as the intelligence agents gather and that it requires strengthening relationships in communities and cultivating reliable informants.

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