Counterterrorism

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NYTimes: Who Is Watching the Watch Lists?

Author: Susan Stellin

"The government refuses to confirm or deny whether someone is on the list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Database, or divulge the criteria used to make the decisions—other than to say the database includes 'individuals known or suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and terrorist activities.' Even less is known about the secondary watch lists that are derived from the main one."

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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.

See more in Terrorism and the Law; Counterterrorism

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.

See more in Terrorism and the Law; Counterterrorism

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.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Counterterrorism

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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.

See more in United States; Counterterrorism

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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