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Experts warn about the imminence of a terrorist attack in the United States

Former acting CIA director Michael Morell and American political scientist Graham Allison compared the current warnings with those from the period before September 11, 2001.

Banderas estadounidenses se alinean en una piscina conmemorativa en el Memorial Nacional del 11 de septiembre

(Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

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Former acting CIA director Michael Morell and prominent American political scientist Graham Allison warned that the United States could face a terrorist attack in the coming months. This concern is based on alarming statements made by senior officials such as Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, and General Erik Kurilla of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM).

In an article recently published in Foreign Affairs, Morell and Allison underscore the seriousness of the current situation, drawing parallels with the period leading up to September 11, 2001, when George Tenet, then director of the CIA, issued persistent warnings about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. At the time, these warnings were not fully understood or adequately addressed by the Bush administration, culminating in the tragic terrorist attacks.

Experts highlighted how current alerts reflect similar concerns to those back then. They stressed that the current warnings, issued by high-level authorities such as Wray and Kurilla, should not be misunderestimated, but rather require an effective and preventive response by national security authorities to mitigate any imminent threat.

“In those four years before al Qaeda operatives attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Tenet testified publicly no fewer than ten times about the threat the group posed to U.S. interests at home and abroad,” Morell and Allison recalled. Currently, it is FBI Director Christopher Wray who has emphasized a high threat environment, paying special attention to vulnerabilities on the southwestern border of the United States.

Likewise, the article recalls that since Kurilla assumed leadership of U.S. Central Command in 2022, he has been warning about the persistent activity of groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda in regions such as the Middle East and South Asia, highlighting the great threat they represent.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is another senior official who has spoken out about how the threat of a terrorist attack has increased exponentially.

“Only with complete access to intelligence information could one form a fully independent view of the threat. But the FBI director’s and the USCENTCOM’s statements almost certainly reflect the classified intelligence they are reading and the law enforcement and military operations in which their organizations are involved,” the experts note.

Call to vigilance

The article underscores the need for the United States to remain vigilant and proactive in its defense against terrorism and urges policymakers and the public not to let their guard down.

“The stated intentions of terrorist groups, the growing capabilities they have demonstrated in recent successful and failed attacks around the world, and the fact that several serious plots in the United States have been foiled point to an uncomfortable but unavoidable conclusion. Put simply, the United States faces a serious threat of a terrorist attack in the months ahead,” Allison and Morrell warned.