How do Government Policies affect Terrorism?

How do Government Policies affect Terrorism?

Author: Josh Valdez

           Airports would be a shock to some if they were what they used to be before 9/11. Now, we see the lines and the machines as normal life, where we let a blue shirted guard wave us through security just to get on our airplane. The presence of boarder passes and photo identification has never been so prevalent than it was just a decade ago. Government policy began to change drastically as we as a society try and prevent another attack. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created. It is the largest department that requires millions of dollars each year to operate. TSA is part of this department which has been tasked to oversee all inbound and outbound traveling passengers at airports.  Transportation Security Administration, (TSA) was created a transfer of security responsibilities from the airliners and the Federal Aviation Administration to be held in the jurisdiction of this federal agency. Since TSA has been in charge of airport security, we see a wide transition of rules. Passengers must keep liquids in a clear bag, laptops must be removed from their bags, belts and jewelry must be removed and scanned. And finally shoes must be removed from the passenger’s feet.

            Not only did the rules and procedures change, but the technology present at airports as well. High-tech cameras watch your every move. Metal detectors are scanning all luggage and passengers. Highly trained officers as well as specialized K-9s are present to detect explosives and drugs. The checkpoints getting through to your boarding gate as well as checkpoints often times present before boarding an airplane are present where pat downs and passenger screening takes place. In the film, “Please Remove Your Shoes” I was able to learn the differences between airport security then and now. It explained the preventative tactics that airports should have had before 9/11 as well as how well these new procedures and protocols are being implemented within these new large department. Many of the speakers present in this film were very disappointed by the way much of the security was utilized and maintained during this time. The formation of the Air Marshal Service was underway, however, had many obstacles to overcome as far as budget and adequate leadership and training. As time continues to past, I feel as if the safety and security concerns that were present during the film have sense been resolved or is undergoing further development and change.

            I do feel that the new policies that have surfaced since 9/11 will benefit the safety of the American people and cripple or inhibit terrorist groups from future acts of violence. Any changes to what we had before 9/11 were absolutely crucial and needed. TSA has not only prevented and screened potential terrorists from entering into the country but has also been very effective in slowing down the drug trade present within the United States. A PBS report stated that since 9/11 we have seen “fortified cockpit doors were introduced, and first-class cabin curtains were dropped by some airlines. Pilots can now apply to become a federal flight deck officer, allowing them to carry a loaded gun and act as a federal officer aboard the plane” (Villemez, 2011).

These changes have shown terrorists that we are aware of the vulnerabilities and have actively worked to make them stronger. Tactics within terrorist organizations have begun to change where they will travel as little as possible and work toward recruiting more and instructing to create terror where they live. Air Marshalls and flight attendants have been more vigilant when it comes to “dry-runs” where terrorists will try and exploit weaknesses within the security of the system. The more we become aware of these different tactics the better we can prepare and prevent. Government officials have become aware of these dry-runs and have been able to successfully investigate further into the tampering of aircraft when such dry-runs are noticed.

I also firmly believe that the changes in policy and procedure that are underway will constantly need to be altered and re-developed. History has shown us that terrorism will constantly be evolving. As technology advances as well as warfare tactics, the TSA is not a fix-all for the problems and security threats we have seen on board aircrafts. The Department of Homeland Security will need to constantly train and manage their directors as well as the staff. Terrorists will find a way around the systems we currently put into place.




Villemez, Jason. 2011. “9/11 to now: Ways we have changed”. PBS News Hour. Retrieved December 15, 2016. (


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