How did Al Qaeda obtain the power to carry out such a devastating attack on the US?
According to intelligence reports, the reality was that Al Qaeda gains the power to carry out to execute the September 11 attacks because they operated largely under the radar. From the planning of the attacks in the mid 1990s, Al Qaeda gains the strength needed for the attacks primarily because they are completely ignored by the Western governments. America and other governments do not do much in terms of focusing on the organization's strength and silencing it. Even though as early of December 1998, Central Intelligence officials in the United States warned of a plot to attack the United States using commercial airliners, terrorism was not seen as a vital United States concern, believing it to be something found only in a particular or specific region and not something that necessitated direct action. This enabled Al Qaeda to gain strength and develop the infrastructure to find the people who could both plan the logistics of the attack and participate in it. The fact that members of the Hamburg, Germany cell were able to be deployed for the operation and that it called for participants from Saudi Arabia, making it easier for them to obtain US visas, reflects how much strength Al Qaeda had from flying under the radar and not being disrupted by Western intelligence forces. Al Qaeda was able to meet in Malaysia to discuss logistics for the attack in January of 2000, again being able to proceed clearly and without interruption. Being able to plan the attack at a time when the United States was in the midst of a transition in government also helped with President Clinton leaving office and a new administration entering. Given the lack of attention the organization was drawing from the Clinton administration, it stood to reason that this emphasis would continue as neither Gore or Bush were speaking to terrorism as an issue they would have confronted as President. In the end, Al Qaeda was able to carry out the attack because not being a central target of Western governments enabled them to be organize and grow without much in way of interruption or disruption. Consider Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's words to this point, "We had a large surplus of brothers willing to die as martyrs. As we studied various targets, nuclear facilities arose as a key option." This statement reveals that the organization was able to grow to a height previously unimaginable probably by them and the world and that the attacks of September 11 represented the zenith of the organization's strength and infrastructure levels.