According to The Washington Post, today “[t]he FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police arrested a man…after a lengthy investigation into an alleged plot to carry out a suicide attack on the Capitol.”
This could well turn out to be (at least) the 45th terrorist plot aimed at American soil since 9/11 that has been foiled. Number 44 occurred a little over a month ago. From the early accounts, it looks like this takedown represents another example of the right way to conduct effective counterterrorism—by thwarting the plots before they get close to execution. This is done by effective investigations, good intelligence, and productive information sharing.
The attack also reminds that there is little room for complacency. There is an enemy out there trying to kill us, and we need to be working 24/7/365 to stop them. The most recent incident underscores the need to study closely the most recent dramatic changes announced by the Administration in counterterrorism strategy. We need a serious debate about whether they will make us more or less safe.
This is not about election-year politics. As I wrote earlier this week, “After all, the terrorists don’t care whether the West Wing is run by the left wing or the right wing. All they are trying to do is kill us.” There a serious concerns, even with today’s successful intervention, over whether we are really ready for the next wave of terrorism.