For me, the three most important terrorist attacks are 1) The World Trade Center in 1993, 2) Oklahoma City, and 3) Beslan.

                My justification for #1 is that it was essentially the first time foreign terrorism struck on American soil. It was a game changer for most law enforcement agencies and was the catalyst for things like secure entries to buildings, badging, key cards, and roving patrols. Before that attack, it was expected to find lockers in airports and bus terminals. After the 1993 bombing, things like that were seen as security threats and removed.

                I chose #2 and its spot because it was the first major home-grown terrorist attack. While the 70s and 80s saw a bunch of home-grown terrorist actions and thousands of bombings, Oklahoma City was the first one that actually caught the full attention of the country. It also demonstrated that the stereotype of the Arab terrorist was not accurate and a terrorist could be anyone of any stripe.

                I chose Beslan as #3, but it could easily be swapped with the ’93 World Trade Center bombing. With Beslan, the world realized the level that certain organizations were willing to go to for their cause and that our most precious resource (our children) were our softest targets. It also highlighted the extremely difficult task that faces law enforcement when trying to end the threat. The fact that Beslan has been mentioned as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the United States cannot be overstated.


FBI, 2008, February 26th, FBI 100 First Strike: Global Terror in America, Retrieved from

FBI, Unknown date, Oklahoma City Bombing, Retrieved from

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (revised by Ray, M.), 2004, Beslan school attack, Retrieved from

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