June 16, 2017

The Cyclical Politics of Counterterrorism

By Adam Klein

Why didn’t the United States invade Afghanistan and destroy Al Qaeda before September 11, 2001? 

This isn’t as farfetched as it might sound.  In 2001, President Bush issued a presidential directive instructing the Department of Defense to “‘develop contingency plans’ to attack both al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan.”  After the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings, CIA Director George Tenet told employees that the Agency was “at war” with Al Qaeda.  And the intelligence community well understood Al Qaeda’s grave threat to the homeland: the August 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief included an item entitled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US,” the 36th PDB item briefed that year on Al Qaeda.

Read the full piece on Lawfare.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • October 15, 2019
    The Nonintervention Delusion

    Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Video
    • October 14, 2019
    Kaleigh Thomas on Trump's withdrawal from Syria

    Middle East security expert Kaleigh Thomas discusses the aftermath of President Trump withdrawing from Syria. Listen to the full conversation and more in CTV News....

    By Kaleigh Thomas

  • Video
    • October 14, 2019
    Kaleigh Thomas on the Syrian conflict

    Middle East security expert Kaleigh Thomas discusses the latest on the Syrian-Turkish conflict. Listen to the full conversation and more on CTV News....

    By Kaleigh Thomas

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • September 25, 2019
    Trump’s Iran Policy Is a Failure

    This month’s attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities marked a stunning escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The scale, sophistication, and accuracy of the strikes all ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia