Obama Administration's Counterterrorism Policy at One Year   [open pdf - 52KB]

From Daniel Benjamin's January 13, 2010 keynote address at the CATO Institute: "Today I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you today about the threats we face today and the Obama administration's counterterrorism policies for confronting them. One of the critical tests of an administration's counterterrorism policies is to see how they emerge from contact with a genuine terrorist event. The attempted Christmas Day bombing nearly cost several hundred people their lives on Northwest Flight 253. We had a very close call. And we are extraordinarily fortunate that no lives were lost. The event was a stark reminder that we are in a constant, pitiless race to head off our foe's relentless technological advances and confront its ability to deploy a changing cast of recruits. The President has rightly taken us to task for some key failures -- above all in the realm of intelligence analysis and watch-listing. Other shortcomings are obvious -- we need to have on line the screening techniques and technologies for a new generation of explosive devices. We are working those issues aggressively now. Equally important, the events of Christmas day demonstrated that some of the understandings that underlay how we organized ourselves for counterterrorism needed updating. Other events in the latter half of 2009 have also underscored how some of our operating assumptions were no longer adequate."

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