The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) held inaugural book release party for COUNTERSTRIKE: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against al Qaeda by acclaimed New York Times national security reporters and former CNAS Writers in Residence Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker. On Thursday, September 8, 2011- just a few days before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - Schmitt and Shanker provided an insider’s look on how the U.S. government has adapted its strategy for fighting terrorism since 2001. Steve Inskeep, host of NPR's Morning Edition, moderated an informed conversation followed by Q&A with the audience.
In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the United States waged a "war on terror" that sought to defeat Al Qaeda through brute force. But it soon became clear that this strategy was not working, and by 2005 the Pentagon began looking for a new way.
In COUNTERSTRIKE, Schmitt and Shanker tell the story of how a group of analysts within the military, at spy agencies, and in law enforcement has fashioned an innovative and effective new strategy to fight terrorism, unbeknownst to most Americans and in sharp contrast to the cowboy slogans that characterized the U.S. government's public posture.chmitt and Shanker take readers deep into this theater of war, as ground troops, intelligence operatives, and top executive branch officials have worked together to redefine and restrict the geography available for Al Qaeda to operate in. They also show how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
About the Speakers
Eric Schmitt is a terrorism correspondent for The New York Times and has embedded with troops in Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan. Schmitt has twice been a member of Times reporting teams that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Thom Shanker, a Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, routinely spends time embedded with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shanker was formerly a foreign editor and correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, based in Moscow, Berlin, and Sarajevo.
Steve Inskeep is host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. Inskeep has traveled across the nation and around the world for Morning Edition and NPR News. After the September 11 attacks, Inskeep covered the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq.