Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City after hijacked planes crashed into them on Sept. 11, 2001. Richard Drew/Associated Press

AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. began bombing Afghanistan in October 2001 after announcing that al Qaida fighters were behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The first U.S. troops, 1,400 of them, arrived in November that year. In 2017, President Trump expanded U.S. troop levels to about 14,000, which is where they stand today.

PATRIOT ACT: The Patriot Act, approved quickly after the 9/11 attacks, gave law enforcement new tools to fight terrorism, including indefinite detention of immigrants; allowing law enforcement officers to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge; and allowing the FBI to search telephone, email and financial records without a court order.

BACKLASH AGAINST MUSLIMS: Anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States ballooned quickly following the attacks and has continued to increase in the U.S. There were 93 recorded assaults on Muslims in 2001, but that number rose to 127 in 2016.


Passengers wait in line at a TSA security checkpoint at Pittsburgh International airport in Imperial, Pa., in June. Long lines at airports have been common since the 9/11 attacks. Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, the Transportation Security Administration was created, and commercial travel hasn’t been the same since. It can now take a couple hours or more to go through airport security in a major city.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The agency was created 11 days after the 9/11 attacks to protect the country against another large-scale terrorist attack through the use of information gathering and department-led investigations. It has grown exponentially and, following passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, became the third-largest federal Cabinet department. The act also founded the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which has played a controversial role in immigration policy since President Trump took office.

ARMING POLICE: Police departments across the country, including some in Maine, have received military surplus gear ranging from office equipment to armored vehicles, much of it at no cost, since 9/11. Maine has received at least $12 million in such equipment.

A U.S. Customs checkpoint at the Canada-U.S. border on Sept. 14, 2001, in Jackman, Maine. All border checkpoints were quickly upgraded after the 9/11 attacks. Michael C. York/Associated Press

BORDER CROSSING: Crossing the Canada-Maine border used to require just a photo I.D. – at some crossings in northern Maine, residents of both countries would just drive across and check in with border officers later. Now, a passport is required.

UNATTENDED BACKPACKS AND BAGS: Before 9/11, these would attract little notice, but since then, they have become objects of suspicion and occasionally, such as with the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured at least 264 in 2013, they have been used in terror attacks in the U.S. The Homeland Security Department launched its “If you see something, say something” campaign in the wake of the 2001 attacks.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS: Prior to 9/11, public events that drew large crowds were deemed relatively secure. Now, such gatherings are seen as prime targets for foreign and domestic terrorists. They prompt a large, visible security presence, and those attending are typically searched carefully for weapons before entering.

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