Al Qaeda is no longer a significant threat to the United States, the New America Foundation's Peter Bergen argued at a debate the foundation held Oct. 16. Bergen, who directs New America's national security studies program and is CNN's national security analyst, has spent much of his career studying al Qaeda. He said the threat of jihadist terrorism isn't over, but that al Qaeda is no longer capable of achieving its basic goal--to mount large-scale terrorist attacks in the United States.
The FBI arrested Oct. 17 Bangladeshi national Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.
A federal appeals court has overturned the conviction of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, for providing material support for terrorism. Hamdan was convicted for actions he took from 1996 to 2001 that were not criminal until the 2006 enactment of the Military Commissions Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia's Oct. 16 ruling (.pdf) says.
Eleven of the 20 terrorist groups responsible for the most attacks in 2011 were linked to al Qaeda, says the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, aka START. On Oct 16., START released the data for 2011 from its Global Terrorism Database, which now contains information on 104,000 terrorist attacks that occurred between 1970 and 2011.
The public-private Terrorism Risk Insurance Program has been an "unqualified success" and should be renewed, said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, on Sept. 11. The Treasury Department runs TRIP, which is due to expire at the end of 2014.
A probe into the FBI's pre-massacre threat assessment of Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan highlights difficulties the bureau has with its information technology systems. The commission report hones in on the Data Warehouse System-Electronic Surveillance Data Management System. The system began in 2001 as a transactional database, but morphed over the years into a warehouse database that holds intelligence information obtained by the FBI.
Although the State Department designated in June three individuals from the Nigerian Boko Haram group as international terrorists, designating the entire group as a foreign terrorist organization could be counterproductive, a State Department official said. It also might lead to more recruits joining the northern Nigerian Islamist group, he added.
More people have died on average this century in England and Wales from traffic accidents (123 on average per year) and in bathtub drownings (on average 29 per year), he adds.The risk of al Qaeda-related terrorism in the United Kingdom does remain real, says David Anderson, but it "should not be overstated."
Seventeen declassified documents captured during the raid of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound were posted online by the Combating Terrorism Center.
Affiliate movements do have ideological overlap and there is connectivity between them and core al Qaeda, said Stephen Tankel, but a sensible path for defeating them lies in a regional approach.