The events of September 11, 2001, stoked unprecedented interest in terrorism not only because of the spectacular nature of the plots and the audacious choice of the perpetrators’ target selection but also because of the unconventional structure of the group responsible for this spectacular set of terrorist strikes. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Al Qaeda may have been known to most terrorism experts by name, but it was poorly understood. Remarkably, Al Qaeda’s nature and structure would continue to elude counterterrorism scholars and practitioners for the subsequent decade and beyond. It was not unusual to see knowledgeable experts offering competing—and, at times, opposing— assessments of the group around bin Laden and the broader global jihad movement it helped spawn.
Moghadam, Assaf. 2015. "Bruce Hoffman and Fernando Reinares (Eds.): The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat: From 9/11 to Osama bin Laden's Death." Rev. of The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat: From 9/11 to Osama bin Laden's Death. Democracy and Security 11 (August): 318-321. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17419166.2015.1067985