Heritage Foundation security and defense expert James Jay Carafano tells Newsmax the Obama administration is so eager to declare victory in the war on terror that it is “putting its head in the sand” and ignoring the rapid growth of non-al-Qaida terrorist groups.
Carafano, the vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative think tank, praised the post 9/11 homeland security effort as “very effective,” citing some 54 instances where attacks and bombings targeted the United States were thwarted. But he criticized the administration for downplaying the war on terror as if it already had been won.
In an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview on Friday, Carafano charged the administration has “defined their way out of the problem” by focusing only on al-Qaida.
“They’ve basically said that we are fighting al-Qaida central, and al-Qaida and its affiliates, where people are actually planning operations to attack the U.S. or its allies. Well, when you define the enemy that way, you look pretty good.
“But the problem is there are a lot of groups that hate us, that aren’t necessarily directly affiliated with al-Qaida, which could attack the United States tomorrow and could be a significant threat, whether it’s Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Iranian Quds Force, or other things. And the reality is you’re not always going to get the early warning or signs that, ‘Tomorrow, I’m just going to decide to attack the United States.’”
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Carafano told Newsmax.TV it is not clear yet whether Islamic extremism played any role in the Boston Marathon bombing. But he said he fears “we’ve adopted a counterterrorism strategy which generally means that the United States is putting its head in the sand and pretending that threats are laxing when the reality is, if you look across North Africa, if you look at what’s going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the threat is not laxing. There is no waning.”
In fact, Carafano told Newsmax, the threat of terrorism is growing. And he says the current administration “has adopted a counterterrorism strategy which really relies on ignoring a lot of the people who might potentially want to kill us.”
Carafano, a leading U.S. national security expert, advised it is simply too soon to save what motivated the two bombing suspects to commit their horrific act. But he said authorities are leaving no stone unturned in an effort to determine if someone radicalized the youths and encouraged them to commit the bombing, perhaps via the internet.
“Pretty much the No. 1 one tool of global radicalization is the internet,” he said. “Now, we use the internet to buy stuff on Amazon.com. But to terrorists, it’s their most important asset.
“They use it for fundraising, they use it for recruiting, they use it for propaganda, and they use it for radicalization. So they lure people into these things called chat rooms, or emails or discussions, and then they move them into discussions about politics and religion into increasingly more violent activities, sometimes coordinated, sometimes just inspired.”
Carafano tells Newsmax that al-Qaida actually produces an online magazine called Inspire instructing Westerners how to commit acts of terrorism against Americans.
Carafano was critical of the quality of the mainstream media’s coverage of the attacks, which at several key points conveyed inaccurate information to the public. And he praised the national-security infrastructure for stopping as many terrorists attacks as it has.
“We’ve been constantly under attack since 9/11,” Carafano said. “We’ve seen everything. Plots overseas, homegrown plots, self-radicalized connected with something else. So we’ve seen a little bit of everything. We’ve seen a lot of very effective stopping of it.”
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