Counterterrorism

Primary Sources

President Obama's Speech at National Defense University: The Future of our Fight against Terrorism, May 2013

President Barack Obama outlined on May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University, his administration's counterterrorism strategy, which include three areas: "targeted action against terrorists; effective partnerships; and diplomatic engagement and assistance." He discussed legal and moral concerns, and congressional oversight regarding the use of lethal targeted drone attacks and terrorist detention centers, and signed a policy directive to guide future operations.

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Primary Sources

Attorney General Holder's Letter to Congress on Counterterrorism Operations, May 2013

Author: Eric H. Holder Jr.

Attorney General Eric Holder sent this letter on May 22, 2013, to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, addressing accountability, transparency, and legality of U.S. counterterrorism operations. He discloses previously classified information regarding the deaths of four U.S. citizens involved in terrorist groups, who were "outside the area of active hostilities" and were targeted by lethal drone attacks. This letter came before President Obama's speech at the National Defense University and his Presidential Policy Directive, which outline the administration's policies regarding counterterrorism operations, including drones and terrorist detention camps. See also the Department of Justice Memo: Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa'ida or An Associated Force.

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Op-Ed

What the President Could Say in His Speech

Authors: Matthew C. Waxman and Robert Chesney
Lawfare

In President Obama's upcoming counterterrorism speech, Robert Chesney and Matthew Waxman explain that the president should focus on three areas that his administration has not followed through in a serious way: closing Guantanamo, working with Congress to put forceful counterterrorism actions on sound legal footing, and making targeted killing more transparent.

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Must Read

CRS: U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism

U.S.-EU cooperation against terrorism has led to a new dynamic in U.S.-EU relations by fostering dialogue on law enforcement and homeland security issues previously reserved for bilateral discussions. Nevertheless, some challenges persist in fostering closer U.S.-EU cooperation in these fields. Among the most prominent are data privacy and data protection concerns.

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Must Read

NYT: Rise of the Predators

Author: Mark Mazzetti

"While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, [Pakistan] became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war."

See more in Counterterrorism; Pakistan

Must Read

CTC: AQIM’s Playbook in Mali

Author: Pascale Combelles Siegel

As the French-led military forces retake northern Mali, [AQIM emir Abdelmalek] Droukdel's eight month old letter should resonate as an ominous warning as it points to a long-term strategic plan to outlive the intervention and sets the stage for a potentially successful return. Clearly, under Droukdel's leadership, AQIM has no intention of relinquishing northern Mali.

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Must Read

NYT: How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs

Authors: Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane

This account of what led to the [Anwar al-]Awlaki strike, based on interviews with three dozen current and former legal and counterterrorism officials and outside experts, fills in new details of the legal, intelligence and military challenges faced by the Obama administration in what proved to be a landmark episode in American history and law.

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