Is Al Qaeda’s new terrorist strategy making the US less secure?
Obama outlined his tougher security measures in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt. But terrorist-related incidents in recent months raise questions about their adequacy.
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Among other things, writes professor Hoffman, Al Qaeda “seeks to flood our already information-overloaded national intelligence systems with myriad threats and background noise … has stepped up a strategy of economic warfare … is still trying to create divisions within the global alliance arrayed against it by targeting key coalition partners … is aggressively seeking out, destabilizing and exploiting failed states and other areas of lawlessness … [and is] covetously seeking recruits from non-Muslim countries who can be easily deployed for attacks in the West.”Skip to next paragraph
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If one purpose of terrorism is to wear down public morale with fear and personal disruption, recent days have seen evidence of that – even when no intended threat is involved. When a Rutgers University graduate student slipped past security at Newark Airport to give his girlfriend a last-minute hug, it caused a six-hour delay for hundreds of passengers. Airborne flights are much more likely to land at the nearest airport when a passenger mouths off.
Mixed picture on domestic security
Does this mean Americans are less secure? The picture is mixed.
In a letter to President Obama, Senators Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina and John McCain (R) of Arizona, asked the administration to immediately halt Guantánamo detainee transfers to countries “with a significant Al Qaeda presence,” including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Algeria, and Sudan. The Obama Administration has already halted the transfer of detainees to Yemen.
“Terrorists still have innocent people in their sights and the will to murder them,” Rep. Peter King (R) of New York said Saturday in the weekly Republican radio address. “They are always working on the next attack, refining their methods, searching the globe for new recruits. In other words, September 11th is not ancient history – it’s all too real.”
But on CBS’ “Early Show” Thursday, John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush, was asked whether the Obama administration was heading in the right direction on its intelligence system.
"Oh, absolutely,” he said. “And I agree with those who are saying that we are safer than we were before 9/11. This is a question of tweaking a system. We dodged a bullet obviously; it was a near-miss. But I think the president is taking appropriate, prompt and corrective action."
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