Streams

 

Terrorism And Security

The Takeaway

Pakistan Sees Increase in Violence

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BBC correspondent Adam Mynott joins us with a report on increasing violence in Pakistan. Earlier today, eleven people were killed when a car bomb exploded near a police station in the northwestern town of Kohat. Pakistan's second-largest city, Lahore, was recently the site of clashes between police and suspected militants who attacked a federal security building and other police training centers, killing at least 21 people. The latest attacks came days after a militant raid on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

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The Takeaway

Financial Troubles for al-Qaida

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Continuing our conversation about whether or not the Obama Adminstration is looking to focus war efforts in Afghanistan on al-Qaida, rather than the Taliban, we talk with Loretta Napoleoni in London. She is an expert on international terrorist financing and author of the book "Rogue Economics."

“Fighting this war in Afghanistan may not be the best option. Maybe we have to fight the war somewhere else, where the Taliban are raising money — which is, of course, in the streets of our city, where they are selling heroin that is supporting this new army of Taliban.”
—Loretta Napoleoni, expert on international terrorist financing and author of the book "Rogue Economics"

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The Takeaway

Can al-Qaida Continue Terrorist Operation With Little Money?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

President Obama continues to consult with his war advisors on Afghanistan, looking to focus efforts on the primary adversary, al-Qaida, rather than the Taliban. But now a senior U.S. government official says al-Qaida is in severe financial trouble. David Cohen, who monitors terrorist funding at the U.S. Treasury Department, said in a speech last night that al-Qaida’s influence was waning because of a lack of funds. He said the U.S. and its allies had successfully cut off the group’s sources of funding by targeting its donors. We talk with Bob Ayers, international security analyst, about whether or not al-Qaida can continue a terrorist operation with little money.

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The Takeaway

Taliban Attacks Pakistani Military Headquarters

Monday, October 12, 2009

Militants linked to the Taliban launched a bold attack on Pakistan’s army headquarters this weekend. The Pakistan army took back the building, but at least 41 people were killed. The attack raised questions about Pakistan's ability to keep their security infrastructure – including their nuclear weapons – safe, and whether the U.S. will need to deal directly with the Taliban in order to stabilize the region. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and BBC Islamabad correspondent Aleem Maqbool.

"What the (Pakistan) army does, is it has a fairly rigorous means of trying to sort out those kinds of people. They don't mind people being religiously oriented; in fact, many of the people in the junior ranks are. But they want their loyalty to be to the military first."
—Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst, on how Pakistan's military ensures against their members joining the Taliban

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The Takeaway

A Team Effort: International Forces in Afghanistan

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The United Nations Security Council will vote today to reauthorize the mandate for international forces in Afghanistan. Forty-two countries have troops in Afghanistan in numbers small and large, ranging from Singapore's two soldiers to Britain's 9,000. We're spending the week on the now eight-year-old war in Afghanistan; today we look at the role international forces are playing and how well U.S. forces and international allies are working together. Evelyn Farkas is a senior fellow with the American Security Project, a public policy organization. She was part of a NATO delegation with the International Security Assistance Force that just returned from Afghanistan this week. We also speak to BBC defense and security correspondent Nick Childs in London, and BBC correspondent Tristana Moore in Berlin.

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The Takeaway

Bomb Blast at UN World Food Office in Pakistan

Monday, October 05, 2009

A bomb exploded in the lobby of the offices of the United Nations' World Food Programme in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. At least three people have been killed and several others injured. We speak with the BBC's correspondent in Islamabad, Shoaib Hasan, for the latest news.

Read an official statement about the blasts from the U.N.'s World Food Programme.

"Pakistan's government is pointing their fingers at [the Taliban]. Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, briefly spoke to reporters about an hour ago ... he said that this would not slacken Pakistan's resolve, he said that the government was going to carry out its operations, that it's continuing against the militants and there would be no negotiations with the Taliban."
—Shoaib Hasan, BBC correspondent in Islamabad, on the Taliban as suspects for the bombing in Islamabad

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The Takeaway

Denver-New York Terror Case Grows

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yesterday, the Department of Justice indicted Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old Afghan living in Denver, on conspiracy charges related to an alleged bomb plot intended to strike the New York City subway system. According to government documents, Zazi bought gallons of acetone and hydrogen peroxide from beauty supply stores, and had experimented with bomb making in a Denver-area hotel room. We talk with New York Times reporter David Johnston and Bruce Finley from The Denver Post; both have been following the case. We are also joined by former federal prosecutor Ed O’Callaghan, the former chief of the Terrorism and National Security Unit in New York’s Southern District, who talks us through the legal case.

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The Takeaway

President Obama's Push for Nuclear Disarmament

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday President Obama made nuclear disarmament a central theme of his speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Today he chairs a Security Council meeting on the issue. For a look at what the president needs to say and do to convince the world that he means business, we turn to two men who are experts in the realms of diplomacy, foreign policy and nuclear proliferation. Hans Blix served as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997 before he was tapped to lead the U.N. committee charged with searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We also speak to Joe Cirincione, president of the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund. He also wrote the book "Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons."

"On the Iranian issue, I think the focus in the Western world has been, perhaps, too much on the sanctions. All on the whips, and not so much on the carrots. If you want to get a country to act in a particular direction, the carrots are just as important. It's instructive to compare the attitude taken towards North Korea on the one hand and Iran on the other. North Korea, they [have been] offered diplomatic relations with both the U.S. and Japan if they scrap their nuclear program. They're also offered security guarantees. None of these elements have, so far, been raised publicly for Iran."
--Hans Blix

"Every president since Truman has called for the elimination of these weapons, including Ronald Reagan, who wanted to make them 'impotent and obsolete.' What's different is that Obama is calling for this vision and coupling it with a concrete program on how to get started, step-by-step. He's not doing it unilaterally; he's doing it with the Russians. He says, 'We have to start. The United States and Russia own 96% of all the weapons in the world. The U.S. has about 10,000, Russia has about 12,000 -- we have to take the first steps.' He's right about that, and he's acting on it."
--Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund

Here are highlights of President Obama's address to the United Nations yesterday:

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The Takeaway

Working for the Weekend, Taliban-style

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The BBC's Kate Clark joins us with a look at one aspect of the Taliban that you don't see that often: their day jobs. So-called "weekend Jihadists" are members of Afghan society — civil servants, office workers, even police officers — who spend their days at the office and join the Taliban on the weekends. These weekend warriors are blurring the lines between civilians and Taliban militants and complicating the fight for American troops under orders not to fire on civilians.

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The Takeaway

New York-Denver Terror Investigation Widens

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The investigation into a possible bomb plot involving three men in New York and Denver is reportedly widening to include at least a half-dozen individuals in the U.S., Pakistan and elsewhere. Meanwhile, federal counterterrorism authorities have alerted local police around the country about terrorists’ efforts to attack entertainment centers, hotels and stadiums. To discuss how best to secure a large American city like New York, and whether local and federal authorities are working together effectively, is Chris Dickey, Middle East regional editor for Newsweek and author of "Securing the City: Inside America’s Best Counterterror Force — The NYPD." We also speak to Lydia Khalil, a former counterterrorism analyst at the NYPD. She’s currently a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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The Takeaway

Three Arrests in Cross Country Terror Probe

Monday, September 21, 2009

Late Saturday, the FBI made three arrests in New York City and Denver, Colorado, that they say were connected to an ongoing terror probe.  24-year-old Najibullah Zazi and his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53 years old, were both arrested in their aparment outside Denver.  Agents also arrested Ahmad Wais Afzali in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York; Afzali served as the FBI's informant in this case.

We talk this morning with two reporters currently covering this story. David Johnston covers the Justice Department for our partners The New York Times and has a story on the arrests in today's paper, and Bruce Finley, staff writer for the Denver Post, who interviewed two of the arrested men in their homes before the FBI made their arrests.  

"If you take this from the government's perspective, their view is that these charges really reflect [that] they're suspicious that something serious was afoot here, although they are not yet able to define with clarity what it is."
—David Johnston, covers the Justice Department for The New York Times, on this morning's arrests in a terror probe

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda with Marcus Mabry and Andrew Walker

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Monday and that means it's time to check what's on the agenda this week. Marcus Mabry, International Business Editor for our partner, The New York Times, and Andrew Walker from the BBC, both join us as we talk about what to look for in the news this week: health care reform, the G20 meeting's start in Pittsburgh and the UN General Assembly's kickoff.  All that and the future of ACORN and New York Governor David Paterson.

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The Takeaway

Admiral Mullen: More Troops Necessary in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday seeking a second term. Although he repeatedly said that no final decision has been made on future troop numbers in Afghanistan, he was clear that more troops and more time will be necessary in order for a successful military outcome. We speak to Thom Shanker, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Is Somalia the Next Afghanistan?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The small East African nation of Somalia is once again becoming a big problem for the United States, this time in the fight against terrorism and al-Qaida. There is enough fear that the nation is becoming a breeding ground for terrorists that the United States launched a preemptive strike yesterday. American troops landed in Somalia and attacked a group of Islamic militants. We're joined this morning by Nick Childs, defense and security correspondent for our partners, the BBC.

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The Takeaway

American Forces Kill Islamic Militant Nabhan

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

American forces have killed one of the most wanted Islamic militants in southern Somalia. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was the ringleader of a Qaeda cell in Kenya. For more details, we talk to Jeffrey Gettleman, who's covering the story for our partner, the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The Hunt for al-Qaida: Eight Years On

Friday, September 11, 2009

It’s been eight years since the terrorist organization al-Qaida attacked the U.S., hijacking airplanes, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, and killing hundreds on Flight 93 and thousands elsewhere. Although the organization is not as robust as it was in 2001, it remains a serious security threat; its top leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still at large. For an insider's take on what the hunt for al-Qaida entails we are joined by former CIA agent Art Keller, who spent the last few months of his career in Pakistan, hunting top al-Qaida operatives. We also speak to Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert and professor of security studies at Georgetown University.

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The Takeaway

The Kindness of Strangers: Stories from 9/11

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thousands of people have stories about September 11th, eight years ago. For many of us these are stories that hang on the profound consequences of one life intersecting with another. Today we take a look at two of these stories, where the significance of a perfect stranger grows more pronounced with each passing year. We speak with Sarah Bunting. She’s a writer and publisher of the blog tomatonation.com. We also talk to Jim Dwyer, reporter for the New York Times and author of "102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers," which he co-wrote with New York Times editor Kevin Flynn.

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The Takeaway

Bill Keller on Rescued Reporter Stephen Farrell

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

This morning New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was rescued by military commandos during a raid in Afghanistan. A British soldier and Farrell's translator, Sultan Munadi, were killed during the rescue. Farrell and his translator were kidnapped on Saturday by a group of Afghan fighters calling themselves the Taliban while reporting on a story in the northern province of Kunduz. The story was kept quiet out of concern that media attention would worsen the situation, so most did not know of the kidnapping. For more of the back story, we talk to New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.

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The Takeaway

Afghanistan: A Reporter Freed, An Election in Question

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A raid by commandoes in Afghanistan has freed captured New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell. As is standard practice, the Times did not announce that the reporter had been kidnapped until after his release. Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent for the Times, gives us the details of the rescue as well as the back story.

We also speak to Christine Fair, professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, who has just returned from monitoring the presidential election in Afghanistan. Members of Afghanistan's election commission say they have clear evidence of fraud in the election; they’ve ordered a partial recount.

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The Takeaway

British Muslims Found Guilty of Terrorist Plot

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Late Monday afternoon, a London court found three British Muslim men guilty of conspiracy to murder by plotting, three years ago, to blow up planes bound for North America. The men planned to smuggle liquid explosives disguised as soda bottles on board at least seven airplanes. We speak to the BBC’s Defense and Security Correspondent Rob Watson with details about the case.

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