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On September 11th, 2001 a series of suicide attacks all conducted by al-Qaeda whom led by Osama Bin Laden on the United States occurred. This will forever reside in history as a very tragic and memorable day. That morning, nineteen members; all men from nations in the Middle East of al-Qaeda intentionally hijacked four commercial jetliners in a well thought out attack to take flights and turn them into weapons of destruction. In which two jetliners were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. This causing the towers to go up in flames and collapse. The third jetliner was set to crash into the Pentagon which is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense located in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth jetliner luckily didn’t reach a target, it was said to be headed to the White House, but landed in a field in Pennsylvania, due to the passengers fighting back in an attempt to gain control of the plane, so that it didn’t destroy another monumental structure, taking more innocent lives. All jetliners did lead into the deaths of all passengers, crew members, and terrorists. Nearly, about a total of 3,000 people died during the attacks. From this day on, national security dramatically changed their methods in protecting all the people in America. Fortunately, national security has heightened their security measures after 9/11 by passing airport security acts, creating stricter guidelines, and expanding the government’s ability to gather information, such as surveillance.

Not even less than a month after 9/11 United States troops invaded Afghanistan in attempt to break apart the terrorist group al-Qaeda that took all credit for the attacks, and to dispose of the Taliban government harboring it. An invasion Iraq occurred March 2003 to rid President Saddam Hussein for the suspicion of producing weapons of mass destruction; none that were ever brought to light. Although he is not linked to the terrorist attacks. The War on Terror, was key from the invasion under the supervision of President George W. Bush. The ongoing war in Afghanistan is said to be the longest in U.S. history (Green, 2017).

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Two months after the attacks, Congress decided to have two airline security acts passed: the Aviation and Transportation Security Act and the Enhanced Border Security & Visa Reform Entry Act. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act federalized security, service, and screening personnel. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act was signed by President Bush in November 2001 to be a law, thus requiring all screening to be conducted by federal officials. In doing so this created the (TSA) Transportation Security Administration (Villemez, 2011). The TSA’s mission is to make sure America’s transportation system is safe. Failing to do so would jeopardize our National Security. Following behind the TSA, was the Enhanced Border Security & Visa Reform Entry Act. This act was controversial, and was bipartisan majority and both houses. It required immigration and naturalization service to give access to aliens on a single database so that everyone was on one accord. This requirement enabled government officials to process and search for aliens easily. It also required travel and entry documents, such as visas, be “tamper-resistant”, and use a standard identifier, to prevent fraud or manipulation of identification. Slowly, these acts strengthened our security system, and made Americans feel safer.

 The Patriot Act is the most efficient part of legislation than any other introduced into Congress. The Patriot Act enables law enforcement officers, and the government to intrude into anyone’s personal home or business, telephone calls, financial accounts, and anything else that would seem unconstitutional. The Patriot Act serves under many restrictions. It is to allow investigators to use any form of tools that were already available to investigate any kind of crimes and drug trafficking. It allows the law to use surveillance against crimes, such as drug crimes, mail fraud, and passport fraud. Though our founding fathers built the government against unconstitutional laws, acts such as this one, gives insight to an abundance of information.

 

The stroll through airport security may seem that it takes forever, but overall this is for everyone’s protection. The airline industry has grown since the 9/11 attacks. Stricter guidelines were implemented for procedures such as luggage and passenger screening. New advanced machinery and procedures were created so that security couldn’t bypass any dangerous weapons, chemicals, livestock, etc. After 9/11 opened the large variety of threats, new methods had to be created, in this liquids were banned and shoe and other garment removals were apart of these methods.

 

New procedures that take place are identification cards have to be present so that the name must match the boarding ticket of flight specifically. By trying to keep our airlines safe, TSA has passengers go through a series of screening procedures. Passengers are required to wait in a long line, and have their carry-on bags checked thoroughly, which may be subject to not only machinery x-ray scan but also a physical search of inside luggage contents, and have themselves checked via a scan machine, and in some cases, with a hand scanner or pat down by a TSA officer. The TSA allows them to choose between a pat-down, or go through a full body scanner. The pat-down allows an agent of the same sex as the passenger to search for any objects on the physical body. Though the pat-downs are invasive, it may uncover hidden objects before the scanner does. Most travelers must remove shoes, belts, toiletries, laptops, and other electronics at checkpoints. All luggage, including carry-ons and handbags, must be screened and checked to board the plane. Liquids over 3.4 ounces are banned and cannot pass through security. All outer wear are prohibited through screenings, because it can interfere with the machines. The banning of outwear during screenings may seem extreme, but it is preventing harm to all passengers.

Cockpit doors have also been reinforced and have three modes to them. The door can either be unlocked, put on normal, or locked. During unlocked, the Pilot lets anyone come in, When put on normal, anyone trying to enter must place their hand on the touch pad for identification clearance. After someone has placed their hand on the touch pad, the pilot can see whoever is trying to enter from the camera in the cockpit. When the door is locked, the pilot can deny access from within, even if a crew member places their hand on the pad. Though there can be a lock mode, crew members can breach the cockpit after five minutes of no response from the pilot or co-pilot. Pilots now have the option to become a federal flight deck officer enabling them to carry a loaded gun. The federal flight deck officer program, (FFDO), is run by the U.S. air marshal, and trains pilots how to defend the plane with a loaded gun onboard. President Bush has provided billions of dollars in the swift upgrading and intellectual man power of airline security.

 

The government has expanded majorly due to the fact they can obtain information like never before. The Patriot Act which extended over from President Bush to Barack Obama allowed the FBI to freely search emails, phone records, and financial records without a court order (Wolchover, 2011). This act expanded the employment rate within the government, because of the job requirements. The Patriot act expanded the government’s knowledge on what the true definition of terrorism is. Before 9/11, the government’s knowledge of terrorism wasn’t as detailed as it is now. They needed computer engineers and people with a high intelligence quotient to help develop stronger, reinforced security that would lead to a strong, more secure America.  

The Secretary of Treasury can oversee any financial transactions and immigration authorities and have the right to deport or detain immigrants in the suspicion of activities related to terrorism. In short, the Patriot Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ abilities to search private information. It led to wiretaps, and the collection of phone data. The act required phone companies to hand over this data. With all this collection, it led the government to using secret code names. Stellar Wind is the only open code name that we know the government uses. It is meant to mean a collection of activities such as: the collection of citizen’s information.

Fortunately, national security has heightened their security measures after 9/11 by passing airport security acts, creating stricter guidelines, and expanding the government’s ability to gather information, such as surveillance. These three things helped strengthen National Security, and ensure the safety of Americans like never before.  Airport security acts was the basis of national security after 9/11. The acts broadened government’s ability to gather information, and create stricter guidelines when it came to airline safety. These changes still continue to have effects worldwide.

It has been more than a decade since September 11, 2001, and the United States continue to mourn the lives lost. Many families cannot describe the emptiness in their hearts due to the fact that they cannot have a proper memorial for their lost ones. Bodies have remained unidentified and are still buried underneath each site. About 1,113 bodies have not been uncovered and families have had to bury empty graves as a sense of relief. Children who have lost their guardians rely on nearby families and communities for survival and still till this day have only the far distant memories to recall to and keep as they grow without the people they looked up to. Some families had to give up their jobs to stay home and support the members who were still recovering and while some have had to get a second job to keep the family financially stable. Among many of those unidentified bodies are also the patriots and heroes whom served their lives protecting our country of harm. All the lives lost could have made outstanding contributions to our country, from the children to the adults, and can never be quantified for (“9/11 – a summary” 2013).

The government will continue to praise their spirits as it strengthens and destroys the daily terror targeted towards our country. After the attacks, the government took rapid response to assure that this could never occur again. The statistics of how the government strengthened is shocking. It shows how much the government, and the people of America push themselves to overcome such a dramatic heartbreak and agony, and turn it into something extraordinary. Even with the exponential amount of grieving it takes, and the unaccountable tears our Americans shed we manage to regain focus of any obstacles in the way. The driving force of Americans is pain, and with pain, comes an opportunity to drastically change the country.