We are less than a year away from the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As that milestone approaches, a dangerous view is taking hold in Washington that al-Qaeda no longer has the intent or capability to repeat the devastation of that terrible day. In February, Vice President Joe Biden announced that "the idea of there being a massive attack in the United States like 9/11 is unlikely, in my view" and that we need only worry about "small bore" attacks.
On Friday, the former heads of the 9/11 Commission echoed Biden's assertions, declaring that after Sept. 11, 2001, the intelligence community wrongly believed that al-Qaeda was intent on "matching or besting the loss of life and destruction it caused that day." Really? They must have forgotten how al-Qaeda planned to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 -- with a plot, nearly consummated, to blow up seven transatlantic flights departing London's Heathrow Airport for New York, Washington, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and San Francisco.
On Aug. 9, 2006, police arrested two dozen al-Qaeda operatives in the London suburbs tasked with carrying out the attacks. They found liquid explosives and chilling martyrdom videos prepared for broadcast after the attacks, including one in which the ringleader pokes his finger at the camera and declares: "Sheikh Osama warned you. . . . Now the time has come for you to be destroyed." If al-Qaeda members had blown up those planes over the Atlantic, some 1,500 people would have perished. If they had blown them up as they flew over populated areas in their destination cities, it could have been the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
According to American intelligence officials, the plot was just weeks from execution
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