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Terrorism And Security

The Takeaway

Yemen: New Sanctuary for al-Qaida?

Friday, January 01, 2010

All this week, we’ve been discussing the apparent attempt by a young Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest flight on Christmas Day. Al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen reportedly sent the man on that mission.  Our partner, the BBC, just sent Owen Bennett-Jones, the host of “Newshour," to Yemen. He brings us a report on this complex and conflicted country.

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The Takeaway

Eight US Civilians Killed In Afghanistan Bombing

Thursday, December 31, 2009

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed eight American civilians in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials. The incident happened at Forward Operating Base Chapman, which is located in a highly hostile area near the Pakistan border.  It is still unclear how many people were injured and whether or not the bomber was targeting the civilians, reportedly CIA employees.  With the latest is Marvin Weinbaum, former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, along with Peter Greste, BBC correspondent in Afghanistan.

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The Takeaway

Intelligence and Flight Security in 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Later today, President Obama gets a preliminary report on what went wrong in the country's airport security systems. One of the things the report will mention is how U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted a call back in August that warned of a terror attack being carried out by a Nigerian man. Despite that, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got onto a plane in Amsterdam with PETN on his person.

We talk to New York Times reporter Eric Lipton, who broke this story. And we are also joined by international security analyst Bob Ayers, who's had a 30-year career in the intelligence services including the CIA, military intelligence and the National Security agency. He tells us why it's so difficult to fix the nation's intelligence system.

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The Takeaway

After Botched Terror Plot, Reactions on Yemen

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a Northwest jetliner last week had spent months in Yemen, a country some are concerned is becoming a new training ground for al-Qaida. We speak first with Khalid Ezzelarab, BBC Arabic reporter, about how people in Yemen are responding to this story.  Then we hear from Brian O'Neill, independent analyst and expert on Yemen security, about how American engagement with the tiny Arabian country could change.

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The Takeaway

President: 'Systemic Failure' in Security

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Details are still trickling out on how the alleged Christmas Day 'bomber' managed to board a Detroit-bound plane despite several intelligence agencies having some information on him.  To look at what happened and what procedures may change in the future, we talk with Scott Shane, New York Times national security reporter.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Travelers' Privacy, Sports, Listeners Respond

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

  • Privaty Takeout: John Schwartz, legal correspondent for The New York Times, says a debate is brewing over balancing privacy and security for airline travelers, following an alleged terror attempt on Christmas Day.
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin says Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach is fighting to coach in this weekend's Alamo Bowl after being accused of treating one of his players badly after the young man suffered a concussion.
  • Listener Response: We close this week at the dawn of 2010.  Takeaway listeners called and wrote in with New Year's resolutions to ring in the new decade.

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The Takeaway

The Challenges of Terrorism Security

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The investigation continues into how Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab was allegedly able to smuggle explosives onto Northwest Airlines Flight 253. President Obama from Hawaii said in a press conference that "we need to determine just how this suspect was able to bring dangerous explosives aboard an aircraft and what additional steps we can take to thwart future attacks." At The Takeaway, we want to find the answers to that, too: What exactly went wrong, and how can it be prevented in the future? To help with the answer is Barbara Peterson, a senior aviation correspondent for Conde Nast Traveller, and Chris Yates, and aviation security analyst for defense publication Jane's.

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The Takeaway

Interesting Times: National Security in the Last Decade

Monday, December 28, 2009

When it comes to national security, were the past 10 years the best of times or the worst of times? George Packer, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of the new book "Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade," shares his opinions on how history will record the first decade of the 21st century. It's the first segment in our week-long series looking back at the big issues of the past 10 years.

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The Takeaway

Why Wasn't Christmas Bomber on No-Fly List?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The man who attempted to detonate explosives aboard Northwest Flight 253 had been reported to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, by his father, a prominent Nigerian banker who expressed concerns that his son was becoming radicalized. Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and professor of security studies at Georgetown University, says U.S. security still needs improvement.

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The Takeaway

Security Questions After Christmas Bomb Attempt

Monday, December 28, 2009

Concerns about the safety of airline travel are still running high this morning after a 23-year-old Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, allegedly attempted to detonate explosives aboard Northwest flight 253, flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, on Christmas Day. Authorities credit quick action by passengers and crew and a faulty detonator with preventing what could have been a tragedy aboard the plane. But travelers can expect to see a host of new restrictions on airline flights. Micheline Maynard is covering the story for our partner, The New York Times

Many people were surprised to learn that the father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had reportedly approached the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, with concerns that his son was becoming radicalized. That has raised questions of why the young man wasn't subjected to greater scrutiny before boarding the plane to Detroit. For a look at how this incident may change planning and procedure around U.S. airport security we speak to Paul Pillar. Pillar is the director of graduate studies at Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: President's Vacation, Amazon's Kindle, Colts' Loss

Monday, December 28, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: President Obama isn't getting much of a vacation, reports Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner, since a Nigerian-born man allegedly tried to detonate a home-made bomb aboard a Detroit-bound flight.
  • Gift Takeout: Amazon's e-book reader, the Kindle, was the most-gifted item on Amazon.com this year.  Jane Sasseen, writer for Business Week, joins us to talk about what this portends for paper books.
  • Sports Takeout: After a long, undefeated run this season, the Indianapolis Colts finally lost last night, to the New York Jets. Ibrahim Abdul-Matin looks at the Colts' gametime strategy and what's ahead for the playoffs.

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The Takeaway

Feds Charge Nigerian Man With Bombing Attempt

Monday, December 28, 2009

Over the weekend, federal authorities charged a 23-year-old Nigerian man with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. That man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, claims that he received the explosive chemicals from a bomb expert with ties to al-Qaida. For an update on the case, we speak with reporter Scott Shane, who is covering the case for our partner, The New York Times, along with BBC reporter Ahmed Idris, who joins us from Nigeria.

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The Takeaway

Is The U.S. Fighting a Secret War in Yemen?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This week, al-Qaida militants made a rare appearance at an anti-government protest in Yemen, proclaiming that they were at war with the United States. This might sound like jihadi boilerplate, except that it came only days after reports of U.S. missiles struck suspected al Qaida sites in the small country on the tip of the Arabian peninsula.  Details are still murky, but if true, those strikes would mark a major escalation in the United States’ approach to Yemen.  This leads us to ask: is the U.S. fighting a secret war in Yemen?   Robert Worth, Middle East correspondent for The New York Times, helps us answer that question.  Gregory Johnsen also joins us; he's a Yemen expert at Princeton University

 

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The Takeaway

Pakistan's Strained Relationship with American Diplomats

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Attitudes towards Americans and American diplomats in Pakistan have become so hostile they border on harassment, according to a new report from The New York Times.  From refusing to approve visas for over 100 U.S. officials, to what some describe as an unreasonable uptick in vehicle searches, relations between Pakistan's military services and Americans are unraveling at a crucial moment for security in the region. We talk about these strained relationships with Marvin Weinbaum, scholar at the Middle East Institue, and Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council.

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The Takeaway

Guantánamo Detainees May Move to Rural Illinois

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Terrorism suspects held in Guantánamo Bay may soon be on their way to a prison in rural northwestern Illinois, according to an Obama adminstration plan announced Tuesday. Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn has spoken in favor of the plan, which he says will bring as many as 3,000 jobs to Thomson, Illinois, and the surrounding area. We speak with Thomson resident Vicky Trager, who is a member of the village board of trustees. We also speak with Sue Stephens, news director at WNIJ, Northern Illinois Public Radio.


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The Takeaway

Five American Muslims Detained In Pakistan

Friday, December 11, 2009

Five young men from Northern Virginia were arrested in Pakistan on Thursday for alleged ties to Muslim militant groups there, and will likely be deported. Just weeks after the Fort Hood shooting, we take a look at these young American Muslims. We're joined by Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Siobhan Gorman, intelligence reporter at the Wall Street Journal, who break down what we know about these five men and report reactions from the Muslim community in Virginia.

This case and possibly others raise enough concerns that it's something the Muslim community wants to deal with. That's why we're planning an outreach campaign to Muslim youth, offering a mainstream perspective on a variety of issues, so that when they go on the Internet and have access to these kinds of extremist viewpoints from overseas, that they have a balancing perspective. I don't think we're seeing this kind of thing develop from something that's said in a mosque in America -- you're seeing it develop from people accessing extremist websites or extremist viewpoints in the international arena.
--Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations

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The Takeaway

Five American Muslims Detained in Pakistan

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As President Obama declared in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech "We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes," new details were emerging from Pakistan, where  five American Muslims have been detained on suspicions of possible involvement in terrorism. Law enforcement in that country said the United States nationals, who disappeared from Washington D.C. last month, were suspected of planning attacks against "American interests" in Pakistan.

Aleem Maqbool, Islamabad correspondent for the BBC, joins the conversation about these five young men, ages 19-25, whose families recently asked for help in finding them. One possible piece of evidence in the case is a video the men left behind, featuring scenes of armed conflict and a message that young Muslims had to do more.

 

 

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Pakistan Detainees, Atlanta Mayoral Election

Thursday, December 10, 2009

  • National Security Takeout: New York Times National Security Reporter Scott Shane talks about five Muslim-American men being detained in Pakistan on possible connections to terrorism. The men disappeared from Washington, D.C. last month, leaving a farewell video that has authorities exploring possible terrorist connections.
  • Elections Takeout: Executive Producer and host of Georgia Public Broadcasting Rickey Bevington, on a close run-off election in Atlanta yesterday between Kasim Reed and Mary Norwood. Mr. Reed led Ms. Norwood by 715 votes, a small enough margin to require a recount by state law.

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The Takeaway

Is Iraq too Volatile for Elections?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday was one the deadliest days in Iraq since October, with more than 127 people dead after a series of coordinated car bomb attacks in Baghdad. The bombers struck after Iraqi lawmakers voted to hold parliamentary elections early next year. But are elections the best course of action for the volatile country? We get two views: from Rachel Schneller, an international affairs fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations; and Rusty Barber, director of Iraq Programs at the United States Institute of Peace.

Read Rachel Schneller's article, "Avoiding Elections at Any Cost in Iraq."

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Pakistan, Listeners, EPA on Greenhouse Gasses

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich brings us yesterday's announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, which says greenhouse gasses are harmful to humans and can be regulated without Congressional approval.
  • World Takeout: The BBC's Aleem Maqbool joins us from Islamabad to update us on recent bombings in the Punjabi city of Multan.
  • Listener Takeouts: We hear from our listeners about climate change and creative job hunting.

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