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Archives: Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Articles and Op-Eds

A Feminist Film Epic and the Real Women of the CIA

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
December 13, 2012 |

The star of the new film "Zero Dark Thirty" is a flame-haired female CIA analyst Maya (played by Jessica Chastain) who is obsessed with finding Osama bin Laden.

Maya sits in on brutal interrogations of al Qaeda detainees without a qualm and is constantly berating her male bosses to do more to find the leader of al Qaeda. And Maya is there at the end of the movie, identifying bin Laden's body shortly after a Navy SEAL team has killed him in Abbottabad in northern Pakistan.

'Zero Dark Thirty': Did Torture Really Net bin Laden?

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
December 11, 2012 |

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a likely shoo-in, deservedly, for Oscar nominations for best director (Kathryn Bigelow) and best screenplay (Mark Boal) and perhaps a slew of other categories.

Jessica Chastain, who plays Maya, a CIA analyst who in the film is the key player in finding Osama bin Laden, is reminiscent of Cate Blanchett in both looks and talent. The movie is beautifully filmed, and the propulsive score moves the action forward effectively.

The Last Refuge

December 7, 2012 |

On December 5, Princeton Scholar Gregory Johnsen came to New America for an event to discuss his new book, The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia. In the video below, he tracks Al-Qaeda's resurgence in Yemen and explains how U.S. signature drone strikes could be fueling its rise.

 

 

Republican Obsession with Benghazi Makes No Sense

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
November 28, 2012 |

Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, a possible nominee to be the next secretary of state, came to Capitol Hill Tuesday to perform a private mea culpa to key Republican senators for her erroneous initial public statements about the perpetrators of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in September in which four Americans were killed.

It didn't work.

How U.S. Can Once Again Define the Future

  • By
  • Patrick C. Doherty,
  • New America Foundation
November 27, 2012 |

Washington is all about the fiscal cliff these days. In Doha, Qatar, world leaders are negotiating over climate change. Federal debt and carbon emissions are indeed two big problems on the nation's front burner. But they are just the beginning.

As the fog of the election season lifts, America has a lot to worry about -- everything from competing economically with China to housing rapidly retiring baby boomers.

Tough Choice for Obama on Petraeus' Successor

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
November 13, 2012 |

 In choosing a new CIA director to replace David Petraeus, President Barack Obama has a range of well-qualified candidates to choose from, although some of the most qualified were in management roles at the CIA when controversial interrogation techniques were used by agency interrogators questioning al Qaeda prisoners and the CIA was maintaining secret prisons overseas to detain members of al Qaeda.

Michael Morell, a three-decade veteran of the CIA, is now the acting director of the agency and a leading contender to become the next director of central intelligence.

How Petraeus Changed the U.S. Military

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
November 11, 2012 |

Historians will likely judge David Petraeus to be the most effective American military commander since Eisenhower.

He was, after all, the person who, more than any other, brought Iraq back from the brink of total disaster after he assumed command of U.S. forces there in 2007.

To understand how daunting a task that was, recall that when Petraeus took over in Iraq, the country was embroiled in a civil war so vicious that civilians were dying at the rate of 90 a day.

Romney Endorses Obama's National Security Policies

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
October 23, 2012 |

Mitt Romney came to Monday night's debate with a choice.

He could run to the right of President Obama on national security issues and also differentiate himself on such tricky matters as what to do about Syria, or the United States' complicated alliance with Pakistan.

Or he could essentially endorse Obama's aggressive campaign against American enemies such as al Qaeda and the Iranian regime and his administration's approach to knotty problems such as Syria and Afghanistan.

Jihadi Terror Suspect Could Face Tough Odds in Court

  • By
  • Jennifer Rowland,
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
October 19, 2012 |

The man charged Wednesday with attempting to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the latest alleged jihadist to be charged in a law enforcement sting, may or may not have had the capability to create a major terrorist incident. But if his case follows the pattern of other similar sting operations, what is clear is that he faces very long odds in court.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanual Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi from Queens, is accused of plotting to detonate a 1,000-pound bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan.

Romney's Sorta-Kinda Call to Arms

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
October 10, 2012 |

On Monday, Mitt Romney delivered what his campaign billed as a major foreign policy address, in which he sought to distinguish himself from the man he called the "lead from behind" president.

The speech at the Virginia Military Institute, which largely focused on the Middle East, served as something of a warm-up for the two remaining debates between Romney and Obama to be held later this month, one of which will focus entirely on foreign policy, while the other will deal with both domestic and national security issues.

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