Monday, May 10, 2010

Terrorists May Have New Focus on Striking U.S.

The failed bombing in New York's Times Square is a possible signal that militant leaders in Pakistan have shifted their focus to targets in the U.S. and other Western countries instead of sticking to their home base, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials. The attack, they also warned, could be only the first by terrorist groups that seek to avoid detection by using simpler methods that are more independently planned. U.S. investigators and intelligence agencies are trying to establish whether accused bomber Faisal Shahzad was trained or recruited for the Times Square operation by any Pakistan-based terrorist organization, including the Pakistani Taliban. Shahzad, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, spent five months in Pakistan before returning to the United States in February and preparing his attack. If those suspicions prove correct, it suggests that groups based in Pakistan, including the Taliban along the Afghan border, may be taking on a more global approach after years of focusing attacks largely on government or coalition forces in their region. That focus could stem from the Taliban's continued close association with senior Al Qaeda leaders, who are believed to be hiding in the lawless regions on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. One counterterrorism official said the groups were "deadly enemies of the United States" BEFORE the U.S. began destroying their leadership, fighters, and camps from the air.

The counterterrorism officials say the Times Square attempt also shows a continuing shift to opportunistic attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups that don't have much money for overseas operations. So they use whatever method they can afford, wherever they happen to find a willing operative. As a result, U.S. authorities must figure out how to deal with less predictable patterns of behavior. The officials say one major concern is that terrorist groups could send people to the U.S. to train homegrown extremists instead of people going to Pakistan or elsewhere for training. Juan Zarate, President George W. Bush's former deputy national security adviser, agreed that the Times Square attack may mark a new chapter in the terrorist threat. "The model may be shifting here, in part because they may have made a calculus that it's much more difficult to have a big ticket attack, and secondly, they may have moved to a model of disruption rather than destruction."



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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