US unveils new counterterrorism strategy: three key parts

The new counterterrorism strategy replaces one from 2006 and calls for pursuing with ‘laser focus’ the approach that the Obama administration has already been taking.

By , Staff writer

  • close
    White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan speaks during the daily press briefing on May 2. Brennan vowed the 'utter destruction' of Al-Qaeda as he unveiled new plans June 29, focusing on the terror group's ability to inspire Americans to carry out domestic attacks.
    View Caption

The White House unveiled a new counterterrorism strategy Wednesday that homes in on what it says is a declining but still dangerous Al Qaeda – and that for the first time makes a priority of the threat posed by adherents of Al Qaeda’s extremist ideology inside the US.

“This is the first counterterrorism strategy that focuses on the ability of Al Qaeda and its networks to inspire people in the United States to attack us from within,” said John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, in a speech Wednesday in Washington.

IN PICTURES: American Jihadis

The new counterterrorism strategy replaces one from 2006 and calls for pursuing with what Mr. Brennan called “laser focus” the approach that the Obama administration has already been taking. This approach, which the administration says has decimated Al Qaeda’s power, reach, and appeal, includes the following components:

Recommended: Where do things stand at Guantánamo? Six basic questions answered.

• A zeroing in on the organization’s senior leaders.

• Enhanced cooperation with allies and partners to defeat the extremist scourge.

• A sustained effort to restore America’s image and leadership in the world.

Elaborating on each of these points, Brennan said that, first of all, Al Qaeda’s leadership ranks have been seriously depleted and its recruiting abilities weakened.

“All told, over the past 2-1/2 years, virtually every major Al Qaeda affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander,” he said – adding that the operation in May resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden was “our biggest blow against Al Qaeda yet.”

Second, he said, the US will continue to deepen the kind of intelligence cooperation that was exemplified by Saudi Arabia’s tip-off to US intelligence officials last October about explosive devices, which Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had managed to introduce to planes headed for the US.

Brennan, who at one point in a long CIA career was station chief in Saudi Arabia, said in a question-and-answer session following his speech that the Saudi kingdom was now “one of the best counterterrorism partners that the US has.”

He said he hoped Pakistan – which he described as “one of our most vital counterterrorism partners” – will one day realize, as Saudi Arabia did after a series of internal attacks in 2003, that “this really is a war” that threatens more than US interests.

Third, Brennan said, efforts under Mr. Obama to improve America’s image abroad and enhance diplomatic and people-to-people relations were yielding results – even as Al Qaeda’s image and appeal among Muslims are waning.

He cited the Arab Spring, which he said has “left Al Qaeda and its ilk on the sidelines.” For decades, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda “have preached that the only way to effect change is through violence,” Brennan said, adding, “Now that claim has been thoroughly repudiated, and it has been repudiated by ordinary citizens, in Tunisia and Egypt and beyond.”

As upbeat as those words were, the White House counterterrorism chief sounded a cautious note in emphasizing that Al Qaeda still has an ability to attract adherents.

The new strategy will focus on such adherents inside the US, whom Brennan described as “individuals, sometimes with little or no direct physical contact with Al Qaeda, who have succumbed to its hateful ideology.”

Among the examples Brennan gave was the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, allegedly carried out by an Army major shouting “God is great” in Arabic.

A key component of Obama’s counterterrorism strategy will be a renewed emphasis on building “strong partnerships between government and communities here at home, including Muslim and Arab-American” communities, said Brennan, who chose Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to make his remarks.

Announcing the administration’s intention to introduce a new “partnering” effort, Brennan said, “A key tenet of this approach is that when it comes to protecting our country, Muslim-Americans are not part of the problem; they’re part of the solution.”

In another bit of news, Brennan said the new strategy marks the official end of the government using the term “global war on terror.” In his speech, he said defeating Al Qaeda “does not require a global war, but it does require a focus on specific regions,” from South Asia to Yemen and Somalia and the Maghreb.

Later, the counterterrorism chief corrected a student’s phrasing of a question, saying, “We intentionally do not use ‘global war on terror’: We’re in a war with Al Qaeda.”

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

eZ debug

Clear cache:

Quick settings:

Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Script start
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Module start 'content'
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl:10[1] Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Variable 'story_source' is already defined.
Warning: PHP: E_WARNING Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
exif_read_data(0623-David-Petraeus.jpg): Incorrect APP1 Exif Identifier Code in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/lib/ezimage/classes/ezexifimageanalyzer.php on line 61
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Module end 'content'
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Before parse_includes
Strict: PHP: E_STRICT Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Non-static method MugoViewExtras::get_view_extras() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/mugo_view_extras/autoloads/template_operators.php on line 37
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/extra/archive.tpl:21[1] Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
Variable 'view_extra_node' is already defined.
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
After parse_includes
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:55:21
End

Timing points:

CheckpointElapsedRel. ElapsedMemoryRel. Memory
Script start 0.0000 sec0.0167 sec 1,286.1172 KB1,162.2578 KB
Module start 'content' 0.0167 sec2.5956 sec 2,448.3750 KB12,850.4063 KB
Module end 'content' 2.6123 sec0.0201 sec 15,298.7813 KB401.5156 KB
Before parse_includes 2.6324 sec0.0684 sec 15,700.2969 KB274.8828 KB
After parse_includes 2.7008 sec0.0015 sec 15,975.1797 KB-186.7031 KB
End 2.7023 sec  15,788.4766 KB 
Total runtime:2.7113 sec
Peak memory usage:21,611.1797 KB

Time accumulators:

 Accumulator Elapsed Percent Count Average
ini_load
Load cache0.0082 sec0.3019%370.0002 sec
Mysql Total
Mysqli_queries0.2093 sec7.7140%2540.0008 sec
Looping result0.0521 sec1.9198%2430.0002 sec
Template Total2.6567 sec 97.9% 8 0.3321 sec
Template load0.0070 sec0.2578%80.0009 sec
Template processing2.6495 sec97.6341%80.3312 sec
Template load and register function0.0003 sec0.0099%40.0001 sec
states
state_id_array0.0117 sec0.4312%200.0006 sec
state_identifier_array0.0159 sec0.5862%280.0006 sec
override
Cache load0.0070 sec0.2581%1170.0001 sec
eZ Find
Search0.0821 sec3.0241%10.0821 sec
Query build0.0746 sec2.7500%10.0746 sec
Class attribute list0.0702 sec2.5864%10.0702 sec
Engine time0.0062 sec0.2283%10.0062 sec
MoreLikeThis0.0000 sec0.0000%00.0000 sec
Sytem overhead
Fetch class attribute can translate value0.0028 sec0.1021%60.0005 sec
Fetch class attribute name0.0003 sec0.0109%130.0000 sec
XML
Image XML parsing0.0164 sec0.6042%60.0027 sec
class_abstraction
Instantiating content class attribute0.0002 sec0.0058%160.0000 sec
General
String conversion0.0000 sec0.0009%30.0000 sec
dbfile0.0084 sec0.3108%820.0001 sec
View Extra building0.0161 sec0.5924%40.0040 sec
Total script time:2.7137 sec

CSS/JS files loaded with "ezjscPacker" during request:

CacheTypePacklevelSourceFiles
01a980f93dc967c6e39d52a11ae2108b_1404899611_all.cssCSS3extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/normalize.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/html5b.css
design/standard/stylesheets/debug.css
extension/ezwt/design/standard/stylesheets/websitetoolbar.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/jquery-ui-1.10.3.custom.min.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/desktop.css
ede0a88fd146f1a095d27fb22227d0e5_1398846822.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/modernizr.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery-1.10.2.min.js
1650da1ba852ac5f9af81af07e8fa105_1404899611.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery-ui-1.10.4.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/json2.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery.cookie.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.mobile.custom.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.arthole.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sticky.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.right_column.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory_editorspickdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sailthru_signup.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.jcarousel.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.history.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.mainNav.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.gallery.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.staffdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jQuery.rollChildren.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/pubService_extended.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/csm/csmNew.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.quiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.spectrumQuiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/global.js

Templates used to render the page:

UsageRequested templateTemplateTemplate loadedEditOverride
1node/view/full.tplfull/article.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/full/article.tplEdit templateOverride template
28content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tpl<No override>extension/ezwebin/design/ezwebin/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tplEdit templateOverride template
3content/datatype/view/ezimage.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezimage.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezstring.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplEdit templateOverride template
24content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tplEdit templateOverride template
4content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/strong.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/strong.tplEdit templateOverride template
4content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/promotion.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/promotion.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezobjectrelationlist.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_images.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_images.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/eztext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/eztext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplcontent/datatype/view/image_credit.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/image_credit.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezmatrix.tplcontent/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplEdit templateOverride template
1pagelayout.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/pagelayout.tplEdit templateOverride template
1modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tpl<No override>extension/mugo_view_extras/design/standard/templates/modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tplEdit templateOverride template
1setup/debug_toolbar.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/setup/debug_toolbar.tplEdit templateOverride template
 Number of times templates used: 76
 Number of unique templates used: 17
 Time used to render template usage: 0.0006 secs