If you exclude the 9/11 attacks from this data, you’re more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a terrorist attack executed by foreigners — by a whole lot.
And 9/11-style attacks are far less likely today than they were before 9/11. These plots are intrinsically difficult to pull off: They require huge amounts of planning, organization, and preparation. This makes them much easier to detect than, say, a random person who decides to buy a gun — especially since the US government has devoted an extraordinary amount of resources since 9/11 toward disrupting plots abroad.
“15 years without a mass-casualty attack is more than luck,” Dan Byman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, writes for Vox. “The US government’s counterterrorism efforts — in the form of military strikes on terrorist infrastructure, CIA-led international intelligence cooperation, FBI domestic investigations, and Department of Homeland Security border security — deserve much of the credit.”
Later in the paper, Nowrasteh breaks down the numbers by visa status — whether the terrorist was here as a student, for example, or had a green card. The 9/11 attackers mostly came in on tourist visas.
But perhaps the most interesting breakdown concerns refugee visas. Despite all of the panic from Trump and Breitbart News about ISIS members sneaking in as refugees, this kind of thing is incredibly rare (partly because of the intense vetting that refugees, and Syrian refugees in particular, are put through). The odds of being killed by a refugee terrorist? One in 3.6 billion.
88-yr old man detained for hours at #Dulles. He's blind. Granddaughter said CBP took away his things, inc. his meds pic.twitter.com/2361PM4Y5Y— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) January 29, 2017