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 Directive, which outline the administration's policies regarding counterterrorism operations, including drones and terrorist detention camps.
Stewart Patrick and Alexandra Kerr make recommendations to improve the counterterrorism efforts of the United States and its allies, in conjunction with CFR's Global Governance Report Card, published by the International Institutions and Global Governance program.
The article also provides a detailed case study of Hossam Yaacoub—the convicted Hizb Allah operative now serving time in a Cypriot prison for his role in a plot targeting Israeli tourists—to show how Hizb Allah has resurrected its terrorist capabilities. Drawn from the police depositions of interviews with Yaacoub after his arrest, the case provides unique insights into how Hizb Allah recruits and trains new operatives.
According to Ed Husain, "the answers to countering the appeal of radicalism among some Muslims in the West rests in more, not less, debating of religion, pluralist politics and integrating immigrants."
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.
President Obama gave a speech on April 15, 2013, after explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In a second speech on April 16, he said the case will be investigated as an "act of terrorism" and on April 19, he discussed the federal and local coordination in locating and taking into custody one of the suspects and in collecting intelligence.
Linda Robinson writes that the upcoming anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death highlights the continued need for a "more comprehensive approach to special operations as part of U.S. national security policy."
"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."
What is the Obama administration's legal justification for targeted killings? CFR national security expert John Bellinger explores this question as well as others with significant implications for U.S. counterterrorism.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.