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Memorial Institute director: The system is working

BY DAVID CID Published: October 31, 2012

After the first World Trade Center attack, we focused on international terrorism and took our eyes off the domestic threat. The Oklahoma City bombing followed. In response, we turned our attention to domestic threats while al-Qaida was growing in sophistication and operation audacity.

As we continue to deny al-Qaida the opportunity to mount large-scale operations against U.S. interests, it will rely increasingly upon volunteers who must execute an attack alone or with a small group of co-conspirators. To detect these plots and others requires all of us to be alert and have a bias toward reporting unusual events to the police. Most terrorist plots that fail do so from poor operational security; preparatory actions are clumsy and police are alerted.

Where will they attack us next? They will attack wherever we're vulnerable and inattentive. As an open society that values liberty over security, we are vulnerable in many places. Being attentive, then, is a shared responsibility. We are stewards of one another's well-being.

Cid is executive director of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City.