An Example Of What Should Be Considered a Newsworthy, Significant Contribution to the Counterterrorism Debate

April 15, 2004

J. Cofer Black, the director from 1999-2002 of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, concluded his prepared statement to the 9-11 Commission on Tuesday with the following essential reminder:

I promised to be brief, so I’ll close with a final thought.

What I have been largely talking about is what the Counterterrorism Center can and has done, but ultimately what we at the agency do is deal with the symptoms of terrorism at a tactical level. As long as there are people who are not happy with their lot in life, as long as the United States is perceived to somehow be the cause of this unhappiness, there will be terrorism.

No matter how many plots we uncover and disrupt, no matter how many terrorist organizations we degrade or destroy, another individual or group will rise to take their place.

Mr. Chairman, we need to remind the American public of this reality.

Those like the families who have lived through the horrors of 9/11 will never forget. But I fear sometimes, that the rest of the country is losing sight of the long and hard way ahead.

At the more strategic level, the only way to address terrorism is to deal with the issues that create terrorism, to resolve them where possible, and where that’s not possible to ensure that there is an alternative to violence. And that is not something that the Counterterrorism Center or CIA can do. That is a mission for the broader United States government.

[from the Washington Post transcript]

I’d wager a significant amount of money that a significant majority of CIA paramilitaries, Special Forces, and all others who do the actual messy work of counterterrorism agree. Politicians from both sides of the aisle would do well to heed this.

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4 Responses to “An Example Of What Should Be Considered a Newsworthy, Significant Contribution to the Counterterrorism Debate”


  1. At Large

    Give the new blog Too Many Worlds a visit. Its proprietor William Kaminsky, a Ph.D. student in physics at MIT, has contributed many thoughtful comments…


  2. At Large

    Give the new blog Too Many Worlds a visit. Its proprietor William Kaminsky, a Ph.D. student in physics at MIT, has contributed many thoughtful comments…

  3. Tom Murphy Says:

    “At the more strategic level, the only way to address terrorism is to deal with the issues that create terrorism, to resolve them where possible, and where that’s not possible to ensure that there is an alternative to violence”

    “Politicians from both sides of the aisle would do well to heed this.”

    I could not agree more. Have you noticed that the specific foreign policies are worth more than our lives? Where is the discussion about these specific policies and why aren’t people questioning if we should continue with them and continue to put out lives at risk because of them?
    Here is my web page about Bush’s lie: http://www.representativepress.org/whylie.html and here is my blog: http://representativepress.blogspot.com/

  4. Jokes Says:

    The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all of the background checks, interviews, and testing were done there were three finalists – two men and one woman. For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.

    “We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside this room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. You have to kill her.” The first man said. “You cant be serious. I could never shoot my wife!”The agent replies, “Then you?re not the right man for this job.”

    The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. Then the agent came out with tears in his eyes. “I tried, but I cant kill my wife.” The agent replies, “You dont have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”

    Finally, it was the womans turn. Only she was told to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one shot after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, “You guys didnt tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. So I had to beat him to death with the chair.”


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