By Chris Stewart, New York Times
DAYTON, Ohio — The amount of money federal and state governments have spent on homeland security measures to prevent another 9/11 is staggering.
More than $1 trillion has been spent on domestic counterterrorism efforts since al-Qaida hijackers turned passenger planes into guided missiles 15 years ago. Trillions more have gone toward other intelligence and military spending to wage the War on Terror overseas.
What’s driving the spending upward is fear, not the facts, said John Mueller, a senior research scientist at Ohio State’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies and a senior fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.
The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history left Americans feeling vulnerable and a handful of others since keep citizens on edge. A full 40 percent of Americans believe they or a family member will fall prey to a terrorist. More than 80 percent say ISIS is a critical threat to the United States, according to 2015 Gallup polling.
The level of fear Americans feel — often fueled by politicians and news reports — isn’t supported by the actual terrorism threat, which remains low, Mueller said.
But no one in authority at the time and few since contemplated whether the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 Americans were “an aberration rather than a harbinger” of future terrorist plots, writes Mueller and a co-author in “Chasing Ghosts,” a book examining the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts since 9/11.
An American has about a 1 in 4 million chance of being killed by a terrorist on U.S. soil, which has resulted on average seven deaths a year. One is far more likely …