from The Great Debate:

How will the war against Islamic State end?

June 19, 2015

Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi, cross a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad

Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi, cross a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad, May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

from The Great Debate:

US wants to hack your phone because it doesn’t have real spies it needs

By Patrick G. Eddington
February 23, 2015

A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in Paris

As Google’s Android smartphone operating system was coming under attack in fall 2012 from malware with the colorful names of “Loozfon” and “FinFisher,” the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center issued an alert to help defend against the threat. “Depending on the type of phone,” the FBI said, “the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user's personal data.”

from The Great Debate:

Here’s why killing the head of Islamic State wouldn’t yield results

By Arie W. Kruglanski
November 27, 2014

Aerial view of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad

Many believe that killing the leaders of terrorist organizations like Islamic State could change the course of events in Iraq and Syria. Like the cutting off of a snake’s head, eliminating the chief of a terrorist organization is assumed to deal it a fatal or near fatal blow. The U.S. government, for instance, has often boasted about eliminating major al Qaeda leaders, and viewed such assassinations as a clear mark of progress in the ‘global war on terror.’

from The Great Debate:

Violence or vaccines: Which path for U.S. in Africa?

By Michael Shank
August 6, 2014

A U.S. Special Forces trainer conducts a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) during an exercise in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio

Africa is the new frontier for the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon has applied counterterrorism tactics throughout the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Central and South Asia. Now it is monitoring the African continent for counterterrorism initiatives. It staged more than 546 military exercises on the continent last year, a 217 percent increase since 2008, and is now involved in nearly 50 African countries.

from The Great Debate:

Counterterrorism: Where are Obama’s policy changes?

By Daphne Eviatar
October 21, 2013

It is now roughly five months since President Barack Obama announced a new direction for U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

from The Great Debate:

Prying open drone secrets

By Ari Melber
March 18, 2013

A federal appeals court rebuffed the Obama administration's drone policy on Friday, ruling that the CIA stretched its considerable secrecy powers “too far.”  The stinging decision may be the biggest news in the war on terror that you've never heard about.

from David Rohde:

Obama’s legacy of secrecy

By David Rohde
February 8, 2013

John Brennan’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday was a microcosm of the Obama administration’s approach to counterterrorism: The right assurances, with little transparency.

from The Great Debate:

Brennan, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and the torture firestorm

By Herman Schwartz
February 7, 2013

Controversy over the U.S. use of torture erupted again with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. President Barack Obama has now added fuel to this fire by nominating John Brennan, his chief counterterrorism adviser, to be CIA director.

from Expert Zone:

The U.S. must move cautiously on Taliban reconciliation

By Lisa Curtis
April 27, 2012

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

from The Great Debate:

The cost of killing Osama bin Laden

By John Yoo
September 7, 2011
By John Yoo
The opinions expressed are his own. In the space of forty minutes on May 1, 2011, two Navy SEAL teams descended on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden. They brought a rough measure of justice to the man responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, and thousands of others in countries from Spain to Iraq. President Obama’s greatest victory to date in the war on terror vindicated the intelligence architecture—put into place by his predecessor—that marked the path to bin Laden’s door. According to current and former administration officials, CIA interrogators gathered the initial information that ultimately led to bin Laden’s death. The United States located al-Qaeda’s leader by learning the identity of a trusted courier from the tough interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and his successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Armed with the courier’s nom de guerre, American intelligence agencies later found him thanks to his phone call to a contact already under electronic surveillance. Last August, the courier traveled to bin Laden’s compound, but it took another eight months before the CIA became certain that the al-Qaeda leader was hiding inside.

The successful operation to kill bin Laden followed in the steps of earlier victories in the war on terror made possible by the enhanced interrogation program. Interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, thought at the time to be al-Qaeda’s operations planner, in the spring of 2002 led to the capture of much of al-Qaeda’s top leadership at the time.