Last week senior leaders of the US intelligence community presented their annual assessment of national security and terrorism threats impacting the United States. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that “Al-Qaeda maintains its intent to attack the homeland—preferably with a large-scale operation that would cause mass casualties, harm the US economy or both.”
Blair and CIA Director Leon Panetta warned of new threats from al-Qaeda groups in the Arabian Peninsula and assessed the likelihood of an attempted attack on the US within the next six months as “certain.”
While this could be alarming, it should not be surprising. We have already witnessed quite a number of foiled attacks over the previous 18 months, so basically what the security assessment tells us is that it is business as usual in terms of terror threats.
And though we often hear of the likelihood of threats or raised threat levels, we never hear any specifics about where or when those attacks take place. So, what do you do with this information?
The best thing we can do is to let it serve as a reminder to think about emergency planning. If your family already has a plan in place, you should check your supplies like batteries, radios and bottled water. If you haven’t made an emergency plan, now is the time to do so. You need to know what you would do in the event of a terror attack or national disaster. Where would you go? Who could pick up your children from school if you couldn’t? Do you have emergency supplies at home like flashlights, cell phone batteries, bottled water and cash? Thinking and planning ahead could save your life in the event of emergency.
We should also be reminded to be vigilant in our daily lives. If we all made the effort to keep our eyes open during our daily travels and to report suspicious behavior or things like abandoned packages in public transportation hubs, we could be of great assistance to law enforcement and security officials in the effort to prevent acts or crime or terrorism.