The explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line left three dead and many more injured. Two days after the tragedy, there are still many unanswered questions. Todd Zwillich and Callie Crossley update us on the situation in Washington and in Boston. Eric Schmitt, a national security correspondent for our partner The New York Times, explains the mechanics of the Boston bombs.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has used the consulate attack in Libya question President Obama's experience and action in terms of foreign policy. Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent for our partner The New York Times, explains.
Unrest in the Middle East has been a political and foreign policy setback for President Obama. Eric Schmitt, who covers terrorism and national security for The New York Times, explains.
News reports claim that British and US leaders are prepared to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clemency if he agrees to help push for a UN-sponsored conference on political transition in Syria. This could put an end to the violence, but would no doubt spell a bittersweet end for many Syrians who want to see al-Assad answer for his actions.
Since a NATO airstrike on November 26 accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two military check points along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the United States has had a difficult time maintaining its already strained relationship with Pakistan. "We’ve closed the chapter on the post-9/11 period," an anonymous senior United States official was quoted telling The New York Times. "Pakistan has told us very clearly that they are re-evaluating the entire relationship."
We continue our coverage of the death of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric killed early this morning in northern Yemen. It is still not clear whether the operation was carried out by Yemeni forces or American intelligence but the CIA has had the greenlight to target the leading terrorist figure. Joining us is Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent for our partner The New York Times and co-author, along with The Times' Thom Shanker of the book "Counterstrike: the Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda".
The Obama administration has quietly released two sets of guidelines to government officials in the U.S. and abroad on how to commemorate the tenth anniversary 9/11 terrorist attacks. The guidelines seek to remind Americans that many other nations around the globe have faced terrorist attacks of their own in the last 10 years, while underscoring themes of public service and remembrance. The document, which was forwarded to all federal agencies, also highlights what the government has done to prevent another terrorist attack.
Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent, and Thom Shanker, Pentagon correspondent, both of The New York Times, talk about the Pentagon's revolutionary new strategy to fight al Qaeda, and how it’s shaping the United States’ efforts to fight terrorism in the Middle East and at home. In Counter Strike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda, Schmitt and Shanker tell why the strategy to defeat al Qaeda through force wasn’t working, and how successful new counterterrorism strategies are being developed and adopted.
In their new book, "Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against al-Qaeda," New York Times reporters Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker provide an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of U.S. counter-intelligence, and how national security efforts against terrorism have evolved in the almost ten years since 9/11.
According to newly unsealed FBI documents, the Pakistani military and its spy agency, the ISI, has spent $4 million over two decades to influence U.S. policy against India. The FBI has also indicted two U.S. citizens in connection with illegally lobbying members of Congress and presidential candidates. Syed Fai, who lives in Virginia, was arrested on Tuesday for failing to register with the Justice Department as an agent of Pakistan. The other man, Zaheer Ahmad, is at large in Pakistan.
The United States is suspending as much as $800 million of military aid to Pakistan, in a bid to change the behavior of one of America’s most crucial — and controversial — partners. The move is an effort to admonish the country for expelling U.S. military trainers, and show disapproval for terrorist activities, such as the slaying in May of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, whose death has recently been linked to Pakistan's powerful spy agency.
The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it will prosecute a Somali man accused of having ties to two terrorist groups in a civilian court.
The man, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was charged with nine counts related to accusations that he provided support to the Shabab in Somalia and Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. Though he is reported to be in his mid-20s and has not been charged with plotting any specific attacks, the Justice Department has called Warsame a "Shabab leader."
Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been severely strained since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden took place on Pakistani soil two months ago. But a story in The New York Times spells further trouble ahead. Back in May, news broke of the disappearance and subsequent murder of Saleem Shahzad — a Pakistani journalist who frequently wrote about the presence of militants in the armed forces there. But Obama officials believe there is new evidence to suggest the agency had itself ordered the killing.
A week after President Obama announced the time line for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, his top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, says the US war on al-Qaida is far from over. Immediately following the death of Osama bin Laden, Brennan said in an interview on NBC's Today Show that the US would continue to "pummel the rest of Al Qaida." Now that goal is being laid out in the form of official strategy, with the U.S. vowing to focus more on clandestine operations and attacks to take out key leaders of the terrorism network.
Pakistan arrested a number of the country's CIA operatives, who had helped the U.S. find and kill Osama bin Laden. After bin Laden's death, Pakistan's military has been mired in a crisis of confidence, and has distanced itself from working with U.S. intelligence in order to combat militant groups in Pakistan. The effect that this fallout with Pakistan may have on the drone program has many U.S. officials worried.
According to a recent report from the State Department, Pakistani security forces are illegally rounding up political activists and unarmed fighters. In the last decade, thousands of people have been held without charges, tortured and killed, the report says. Many of those detained are members of the Baluchistan separatist group, which has battled the Pakistani government for independence for decades. The State Department report marks a new push by the Obama administration to urge Pakistan to address human rights abuses.
For geographic, political and strategic reasons, Pakistan has been a key player in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, new military documents leaked by Wikileaks.org and published by The New York Times have raised the question: just whose side is Pakistan's intelligence agency on?
Despite their best attempts, the military services are finding it difficult to enroll and keep experienced officers working the mission in Afghanistan. New York Times terrorism correspondent Eric Schmitt joins the show with details from his article in today’s paper that explains how a program designed to attract and retain the best of the miltary’s best is falling to meet expectations. How hard is it to find (and keep!) a few good soldiers, sailors, airmen/airwomen, and Marines?
It seemed like an essential move after the September 11 attacks: having dozens of fighter jets on alert at all times in case it happened again. But eight years later, military commanders are now questioning such an expensive policy. New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt tells us about the biggest reassessment of the terrorist air threat since the attacks.
Read Eric Schmitt's exclusive story in today's New York Times
The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has cautioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates that he needs additional troops in Afghanistan by next year or the conflict will “likely result in failure.” The previously-confidential report was sent to Gates on August 30, but was just released last night. To go over the details with us is Eric Schmitt, reporter for our partner, The New York Times.
"What this report does in very stark language is lay out some of the problems and...basically gives his prescription that he needs more forces -- he doesn't say how much, that'll come in a separate document -- and he needs them soon or else the mission in Afghanistan, the eight-year mission there, will likely fail."
—Eric Schmitt, reporter for The New York Times, on Afghanistan commander Admiral McChrystal's report