This weekend, the FBI arrested two men, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, who were hoping to join extremist militants in Somalia. This well coordinated counterterrorism operation was led by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multi-agency group including agents of the FBI, the New York state homeland security office, the New York Police Department, Port Authority police, and other federal security agencies. It appears that the arrested men were amateurish and unsophisticated, apparently having no connections in Somalia and having been previously rejected by extremists in Iraq. As is customary for the Obama administration in such cases, the arrests were neither used to scare or excite Americans.
Yesterday, Faisal Shahzad - the suspected Times Square bomber -appeared in a New York City courtroom. Shahzad's failure to detonate his crude car bomb, his swift arrest and the domestic and international counterterrorism cooperation that followed was the result of persistent vigilance pursued by America's counterterrorism apparatus. This effort has put considerable pressure on terrorists and terrorist networks, denying them the freedom to operate freely. This pressure is part of a broader, multilayered and effective approach to addressing terrorism, one that also depends on the resilience of the American people. Because the potential for future attacks remains, Americans must continue to utilize this strength and to deny terrorists the goal that they are seeking - to create panic, fear and overreactions that contradict our nation's values and best traditions.
Twin developments today bring into focus the challenges the
U.S. faces in South Asia: a devastating
car bomb in Kabul killed five U.S. troops and more than a dozen Afghan
civilians, even as top U.S. officials travel to Pakistan to build pressure on countering
terrorist activity in the region. As the deaths in Kabul took the
American death toll in Afghanistan past 1,000, it is essential that the U.S.
remain concentrated on the core task of fighting extremists who seek to harm
Americans in the region and at home.
Less than two weeks before the rollout of the Nuclear Posture Review, Vice President Biden will take the stage today at the National Defense University to reiterate the steps the administration is taking to advance U.S. national security interests and reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. Last year in Prague, President Obama pledged to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. A comprehensive nuclear security agenda has since been put into motion to bring our national security strategy into the 21st century.
The joint-operation between the U.S. and Pakistan to capture the Afghan Taliban’s number two leader and military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar highlights efforts by the Obama administration to prioritize Pakistan as part of an effective regional security approach global counterterrorism strategy. Since taking office, the Obama administration has embarked on a steady campaign of military, diplomatic, and development measures to improve the tenor of U.S. – Pakistan relations, with broader regional and global counter terrorism goals driving this approach.
Yesterday, America's top intelligence officials testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. At the hearing FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed that that the underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has been providing FBI interrogators with useful intelligence about his training and contacts since last week. This important revelation comes after weeks of criticism from conservatives who have been on the political attack, saying that once Abdulmutallab was read his Miranda Rights he stopped talking, insisting that he should instead have been "interrogated" by the military or the FBI. They were proven incorrect and the use of the criminal justice system is what made cooperation -particularly with his family -possible.