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Continued anxiety

9/11 repercussions felt a year later

By Greg Botelho
CNN New York Bureau

The U.S. spent most of 2002 on
The U.S. spent most of 2002 on "elevated" alert status, according to the country’s new Homeland Security Advisory System.

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SPECIAL REPORT

(CNN) -- In the year following the September 11 attacks, the world still could not escape the terror.

The year 2002 featured a host of new and old conflicts, controversies and characters. Yet many of the headlines -- from homeland security to the showdown in Iraq -- could be traced to the previous year's top story: the horrific attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. (More on the 9/11 Anniversary)

As in the days and weeks that followed those strikes, America and its allies throughout 2002 found themselves chasing an elusive and destructive enemy, al Qaeda.

Despite military operations in Afghanistan and a string of high-profile arrests, the United States remained alert, still unable to fulfill President Bush's desire to get the group's leader, Osama bin Laden, "dead or alive." (More on War Against Terror)

After months of speculation on whether he had survived a barrage of U.S. strikes, bin Laden re-emerged in November in an audiotape aired on the Arabic language TV network Al-Jazeera that U.S. intelligence experts said almost certainly was authentic.

In the tape, the wealthy Saudi-born fugitive celebrated bloody attacks on civilian, military and commercial targets in Yemen, Kuwait, Bali and Moscow and offered an ominous threat to America and its allies: "Just like you kill us, we kill you." (More on the Bin Laden tapes)

Back in the United States, government officials issued terror alerts, positioned military and National Guard forces and debated and eventually created a Cabinet department dedicated to homeland security. (More on the homeland security bill)

The economy, meanwhile, continued to suffer more aftereffects from September 11th, showing sporadic signs of life amid a slew of corporate scandals and the prospects of terrorist attacks and costly military action. (More on the economy in 'soft patch')

Ultimately, one of America's most frightening brushes with terror came not from killers schooled in terrorist camps in Afghanistan, but from sniper attacks athorities said were performed by an expert marksman trained by the U.S. Army and his teen-age cohort.

The wave of attacks turned suburban gas stations and strip malls around the nation's capital into hunting grounds. Police arrested two men at a Maryland rest stop October 24, claiming they randomly gunned down 10 victims and wounded four others in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (More on the Sniper Attacks)

John Lee Malvo, left, and John Allen Muhammad, right, were arrested as the sniper suspects in a cross-country shooting spree.
John Lee Malvo, left, and John Allen Muhammad, right, were arrested as the sniper suspects in a cross-country shooting spree.

In addition, authorities also linked John Allen Muhammad, 41, an Islam convert and Gulf War veteran, and John Lee Malvo, a 17-year-old originally from Jamaica, to killings in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

But a softening economy and the administration's inability to capture bin Laden hardly put a dent in President Bush's popularity at home. He campaigned hard for GOP candidates, playing up his tough stances on terrorism, pointing to an "axis of evil" (including Iraq, Iran and North Korea) and promoting domestic security. (More on campaign blitz)

Buoyed by Bush's efforts and appeal, the Republicans scored a major victory on November 5 by regaining control of the Senate and increasing their advantage in the House. (More on the 2002 election results)

While searching for bin Laden, the Bush administration turned its attention to another familiar foe: Saddam Hussein. The president outlined his case against the Iraqi leader in a September speech to the United Nations, accusing him of illicitly developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, threatening U.S. action regardless of whether the world body sanctioned it. (More on the U.N. speech)

Hussein faced the threat of a U.S.-led coalition to disarm him through military force if inspectors discovered Iraq had not fully disclosed its weapons of mass destruction programs.
Hussein faced the threat of a U.S.-led coalition to disarm him through military force if inspectors discovered Iraq had not fully disclosed its weapons of mass destruction programs.

Despite many countries' trepidations about a war with Iraq, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution assuring the return of weapons inspectors and pledging "serious consequences" if Baghdad does not cooperate. (More on Showdown: Iraq)

And so 2002 ended much like 2001 -- with the threat of more terrorist attacks, the prospect of war in a nation half a world away from the United States and a struggling economy. As he was 12 months ago, Bush has remained defiant, vowing to defeat terrorism at all costs.

"Our alliance of freedom is being tested again by new and terrible dangers," the president told thousands gathered in the Lithuania capital of Vilnius in late November.

"The terrorists seek to end lives and control all lives. And like the Nazis and communists before them, they will be opposed by free nations and the terrorists will be defeated."



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