Perhaps President Obama's greatest accomplishment, the killing of bin Laden in May marks a high point in his first presidency. However, there is continued expansion of governmental national security powers, through provisions of the Patriot Act and FISA, as well as the NDAA for 2012. The US continues to tighten sanctions against Iran, who threatens to cut off oil supplies in retaliation.
Jan. 2, 2011: President Obama signs the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act into law, which provides health coverage for 9/11 first responders.
Feb. 4, 2011: TSA grants airport screeners the right to vote on limited collective bargaining rights.
Feb. 15, 2011: An independent panel convened by the National Research Council of the National Academies determines that scientific evidence provided by the FBI is not enough to prove Bruce Ivins’ guilt in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Jun. 3, 2011: House passes homeland security funding bill that prohibits federal funding for collective bargaining.
Jun. 23, 2011: TSA airport screeners choose A.F.G.E. (nation’s largest federal employee union) to represent them in collective bargaining talks with the government.
Dec. 19, 2011: The last US combat troops leave Iraq, ahead of the December 31st deadline, ending the war in Iraq.
Dec. 2011: TSA chief John Pistole notes that though the US failed to meet its August 2010 deadline for 100% screening of inbound cargo flights, he expects that it should be met by 2013.
Dec. 21, 2011: Talks between the government and AFGE over TSA negotiations stall.
President Obama's first term is marked by the emergence of WIkileaks as either a government watchdog, or national safety issue (depending on who is asked). The administration also faces increased high-profile terrorism attempts, though none are successful. The Supreme Court widens the definition of a terroristic act, by upholding "material support" as aiding a terrorist group. The TSA faces civil rights backlash as it introduces full-body scanners and pat-downs.
Nov. 25, 2009: Wikileaks releases over 500,000 pager messages sent from US officials and the public during the 9/11 crisis.
Dec. 25, 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a native to Nigeria, attempts to blow up a jetliner over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. The detonator malfunctions, resulting in second-degree burns, but no explosion. al-Qaeda leaders based in Yemen trained Abdulmutallab and supplied him with the device.
May 1, 2010: Faisal Shahzad is arrested for lighting the fuse to a homemade bomb packed in car in Times Square, New York City. The bomb never explodes, but its smoke attracts the attention of a street vendor, who alerts police.
Jul. 25, 2010: Wikileaks releases almost 92,000 reports relating to the war in Afghanistan to the Guardian, The New York Times, and the Spiegel. The newspapers each independently vet and verify the documents. Included are unreported civilian casualties, possible war crimes, Pakistani aid to the Taliban, and a unit tasked with killing top Taliban leaders.
Aug. 19, 2010: Combat operations officially end in Iraq, two weeks ahead of President Obama’s deadline.
Aug. 2010: Obama receives a tip that bin Laden is in Pakistan.
Oct. 22, 2010: Wikileaks releases another 400,000 secret reports detailing the war in Iraq. It includes serial detainee abuse and an additional 15,000 civilian deaths resulting from the war.
Oct 29, 2010: Two explosives-laden packages addressed to synagogues in Chicago are intercepted in the United Arab Emirates and UK. Yemen-base al-Qaeda claim responsibility.
As President Bush's second term comes to a close, the first legal challenges to his policies are heard. By now, the Iraq War has become extremely unpopular and the Iraq Study Group's report only emphasizes such feelings. The Bush Administration is, however, able to broaden the government's survellience powers in 2007 and 2008 through legislation. Meanwhile, the TSA faces further backlash as it adds restrictions to carry-on luggage.
Nov. 6, 2006: Saddam Hussein, his half brother Barzan and Iraq’s former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar are all sentences to death. Hussein’s former vice president receives a life sentence, while three other men received 15-year sentences. The trial was marred by possible interference from the government, as well as the assassination of three defense lawyers.
Dec. 30, 2006: Hussein is executed by hanging. Though Iraqi state TV shows images of the moments leading up to his death, the moment of his execution is not shown.
Jun. 2, 2007: Three men are arrested for plotting to blow up jet fuel tanks at JFK airport in New York.
Oct. 2007: TSA begins additional inspections of remotes in carry-on luggage.
Jul. 29, 2008: Bruce Ivins, the primary suspect in the anthrax attacks of 2001, dies after an apparent intentional overdose of Tylenol.
Aug, 6, 2008: Federal investigators announces that Ivins was solely responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Aug.8, 2008: Federal prosecutors officially clear Hatfill of any involvement with the anthrax attacks. In June, the Justice Department paid him $5.8 million to resolve a privacy rights lawsuit.
Nov. 8, 2008: Barack Obama defeats John McCain and is elected President.
The US moves quickly to topple Saddam Hussein, but it is soon discovered that their WMD reasoning is false. At the end of this period, the reaction begins against measures passed and used since 2001 in the name of national security.
Jan. 13, 2003: Loy announces that TSA airport screeners will not be allowed to unionize.
Apr. 9, 2003: US-led forces capture Baghdad and topple a statue of Saddam Hussein.
Dec. 13, 2003: Saddam Hussein is captured by US soldiers near Tikrit.
Oct. 2004: Bin Laden releases a videotaped message, publicly acknowledging al-Qaeda’s role in the 9/11 attacks for the first time.
Nov. 9, 2004: Fighting in Falluja, Iraq begins, marking the most significant battle since the fall of Baghdad.
Jul. 7, 2005: al-Qaeda-linked suicide bombers on three trains and one bus in London kill 52 people.
In the aftermath of 9/11, federal powers greatly expand in the name of national security. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration further government reach and oversight. Additionally, the US enters into war in Afghanistan, while making motions towards war in Iraq.
Sep. 16, 2001: President Bush names Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect for the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden denies involvement.
Nov. 9, 2001: CDC releases figures about bioterrorism-related anthrax. In September and October, there were 10 cases of inhalational anthrax and 12 cases of cutaneous anthrax.
Oct. 5, 2001: Robert Stevens dies of pulmonary anthrax after opening a letter sent from Trenton, NJ.
Dec. 13, 2001: A tape is released in which bin Laden implies his participation in the 9/11 attacks.
Jan. 11, 2002: First detainees arrive at Guantanamo. The Bush administration asserts that the detainees are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention -- it is not until 2006 that the Supreme Court rules that detainees are at the very minimum allowed protections under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.
Jul. 19, 2002: John Magaw resigns as head of the TSA. He is replaced by James Low, Magaw's deputy.
Jun. 24, 2002: The FBI searches the home of former Army researcher Steven J. Hatfil in connection with the anthrax attacks of the previous year. He is one of more than thirty biological warfare experts being investigated.
Jan. 29, 2002: President Bush uses the term “axis of evil” when referring to Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
Nov. 12, 2002: An audio recording surfaces, in which bin Laden warns nations against supporting the US in the 9/11 aftermath.
After several incidents of hijackings and bombings, Presidents throughout the mid to late 20th century saw fit to increase security measures on civilian aircraft.
This period was also largely defined by the Watergate scandal and the government's view that more oversight was needed on domestic spying. In particular, FISA and ECPA set the groundwork for later laws and were also modified by the Patriot Act of 2001.
Aug. 29, 1969: Two Palestinians hijack an Israel-bound TWA plane, diverting it to Syria.
Jun. 14, 1985: TWA Flight 847 is hijacked and held for 17 days. Robert Stethem, a US Navy diver, is killed when the hijackers’ demands are not met.
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