A CIA Agent, a former Florida Governor, and a retired General, debate national security today at UF.
Debate moderator John Phillipson says attacks on our nation are not a new phenomenon, but Professor Kenneth Anderson from the American University in Washington DC says recent attacks around the world - specifically with the use of chemical weapons like in Syria -should be feared.
"The events of August of this year should be a wake up call to us as well as the rest of the world."
Former CIA agent, Professor James Olsen, says they have knowledge a terrorist attack is coming and working against those terrorists is the most difficult challenge they have ever had in the intelligence community.
"I must tell you in my professional life, I've never seen a time that I considered America more in peril, domestically and overseas, than we are right now."
Olsen says the evolution of terrorists who now come from inside our own country is making it harder to target them.
Their technological advances are preventing infiltration and that's why the government is doing what some people think of as infringing on privacy.
"You cannot expect us in the intelligence community to adequately protect the American people unless you give us the tools that we need to do that. Signals intelligence, communications intercepts, cell phones, emails are a vital part of that."
Privacy from the government is a very controversial issue, but retired General James Hill says both sides need to work together.
"That's what we've always done in this nation, especially in the area of national security. We are drifting away from that and we need to get back to it."
One student attending the debate says hearing officials explain why it is so difficult to catch today's terrorists helped her understand the need for compromise.
"They made a very good point of distinguishing the fact that there's no simple answer for this, that there is a trade off between security and personal liberty."