For 15 years, questions about what really transpired in the run up to the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center have been asked and left unanswered. Unfortunately, these questions left hanging in the air have both led to a lack of accountability for the failures that resulted in the 9/11 attacks and have also given rise to a cottage industry of conspiracy theories regarding over-the-top dark and sinister plots in smoke-filled rooms.

You’ve heard these theories before, ranging from nonsense about holographic airplanes to conspiracies by our government to invent artificial wars. This article is not about conspiracy theories, but rather examines whether or not incompetence within our intelligence community contributed to the failures leading to the 9/11 attacks.

Unlike the recent rash of terrorist attacks across the United States and Europe, which at best were inspired by ISIS and executed by lone wolves who became remotely radicalized in place, 9/11 was a fairly sophisticated and elaborate plot that involved high-level meetings between terrorists, extensive planning, overseas financial transactions, the infiltration of a terrorist network into the United States, flight training to prepare for the hijackings, and a simultaneous execution of the hijackings on multiple airplanes.

The more extensive the terrorist network, the more moving parts there are in the plot, the more opportunities there are for the intelligence community and law enforcement to uncover the attack before it happens. New information leads one to believe that this could have been possible.