Cooperation Worked in UK Terror Plot But Challenges Remain

Sen. Gorton was a member of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission).

Perhaps our initial response to Thursday's foiled terrorist attack should be to congratulate the Brits' MI5 and its associated law enforcement agencies for a job well done. Discovering, monitoring, and waiting to arrest a group of dangerous potential terrorists until the largest number could be taken into custody with the most evidence to convict was great work.

Second, we should note the fine international information sharing and cooperation. Both the FBI here and Pakistani agencies worked with the Brits to make the case and, in the Pakistanis' case, to make arrests. This is just the kind of joint work that was so tragically missing in the days and years leading up to 9/11.

Third, we were reminded once again that airplanes are still the weapons of choice for ambitious would-be terrorists and that a heavy emphasis on aircraft security is an appropriate priority.

Fourth, we can take modest comfort in the fact that DHS was not caught totally surprised by an unexpected new form of in-air terrorism. The good news is that DHS has been researching just the kind of threat these extremists present; the bad news is that the department has yet to come up with a practical detecting device.

Finally, we need to remember that the religious and political ideas motivating these people have been around for centuries and will not be eliminated anytime soon. We are in a long war against this enemy, must be constantly both on our guard and proactive, and must use our collective imaginations to sniff out new threats.