12:48 PM, Jun 13, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The message regarding terrorism from the Obama administration over the past few years has been that al Qaeda is on the run, its core leadership has been "decimated," and that the face of the "war on terror" is changing for the better. In his recent speech on U.S. counterterrorism strategy, President Obama said, "Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States."
However, remarks on Thursday by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to the House Committee on the Judiciary paint a less optimistic picture [emphasis added]:
Overseas, the terrorist threat is similarly complex and ever-changing. We are seeing more groups and individuals engaged in terrorism, a wider array of terrorist targets, greater cooperation among terrorist groups, and continued evolution and adaptation in tactics and communication.
Al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to represent a top terrorist threat to the nation. These groups have attempted several attacks on the United States, including the failed Christmas Day airline bombing in 2009 and the attempted bombing of U.S.-bound cargo planes in October of 2010.
In December 2011, Somali national Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame pled guilty to nine counts of providing material support to AQAP and al Shabaab. A Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation found that Warsarme conspired to teach terrorists how to make bombs, provided explosives weapons and training to al Shabaab, and arranged for al Shabaab leaders to obtain weapons from members of AQAP. Warsame faces up to life in prison.
Director Mueller also spoke of the "continuing threat from homegrown violent extremists" as seen in the Boston marathon bombing, and the "growing scope of the insider threat" posing risks to national security, illustrated by Chinese national Steve Liu, an employee of a New Jersey defense contractor sentenced in March to five years in prison for stealing designs on U.S. weapons systems.
12:00 AM, Jun 3, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, added his rather important voice to the growing number of current and former officials who believe the Obama administration should expedite the release of some documents captured during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. And Rogers, in an appearance Sunday on Meet the Press, suggested that the Obama administration cherry-picked the few documents released to date to create a narrative about al Qaeda favorable to the president.
It’s high time for the administration to release the bin Laden documentsJun 10, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 37 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
In a speech at the National Defense University on May 23, Barack Obama declared an end to the global war on terror. The threat posed by al Qaeda, its affiliates, and those it inspires can be managed, he said. “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. . . . [I]f dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.”
President Obama may think that the threat from al Qaeda is receding. It isn’t.Jun 10, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 37 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
During his speech at the National Defense University on May 23, President Obama sought to reassure Americans that they are “safer” because of the administration’s “efforts” to fight terrorism. The controversy over the administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, had been swirling for months. And on April 15, two jihadists set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 250 others.
5:50 PM, May 17, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
The Washington Post editorial board is quite upset with “Republicans and conservative media obsessed” with the “phony” issue of the administration’s misleading public explanation of the nature of the attacks in Benghazi. In a lengthy editorial, the Post makes a haughtier and more condescending version of a complaint we’ve heard from others. So it’s worth a response.
3:02 PM, May 15, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Obama administration’s editing of the Benghazi talking points not only obscured what really happened in Libya on September 11, 2012, it also confused the events of earlier that day in Cairo, Egypt. The editing process specifically removed any hint that “jihadists” were encouraged to “break into” the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. In fact, jihadists were incited to act by Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, as well as several other al Qaeda-linked extremists.
10:42 PM, May 11, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Egyptian interior ministry announced Saturday that an al Qaeda plot against a Western embassy and other targets had been disrupted. Two suspected terrorists are being held for questioning and a third is under house arrest.
12:20 PM, May 10, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
At a White House press briefing on May 1, Barack Obama spokesman Jay Carney attempted to frame new reporting on the Benghazi attacks as old news by noting that the attacks had taken place "a long time ago."
Just ten days have passed since he uttered that infelicitous phrase. But it feels like a long time ago.
6:25 AM, May 8, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Nearly eight months after terrorists killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration still has not explained who, exactly, was responsible.
12:00 AM, Apr 21, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
“In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there's a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions,” said President Obama, in the late evening of April 19, after Dzokhar Tsarnaev was captured alive in Watertown, Mass. “But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it's important that we do this right. That's why we have investigations. That's why we relentlessly gather the facts. That's why we have courts. And that's why we take care not to rush to judgment -- not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.”
5:45 PM, Apr 9, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Al Qaeda’s presence inside Syria is now so significant that the terrorist organization has decided it is no longer worthwhile to pretend otherwise. Previously, al Qaeda operated under a thinly veiled alternative identity – the Al Nusrah Front.