FROM Brian Fishman
Boston Shut Down for Manhunt Dramatic and tragic events continue to unfold in Boston last night and today. The FBI identified the two suspected Boston marathon bombers after they robbed a Seven Eleven store in Watertown, a Boston suburb. That led to a deadly gun battle, which left one of the suspects dead. The city is locked down and an enormous manhunt is underway for the second. Who are Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two brothers believed to be Suspect 1 and Suspect 2? Does their Chechen background help explain their actions? (L-R) Brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev Courtesy FBI
What's the Next Surprise from al Qaeda? Intelligence agencies say that last September they may have discovered a dry run for the package bombs found Friday in the UK and Dubai. All the intercepted packages contained were books, papers, CD's and household items, and they were allowed to continue to their destinations. Both recent incidents involved shipments from Yemen bound for Chicago, and it's now presumed the bombs were designed to explode in the air. We hear more about the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who tipped off Saudi intelligence, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and politics in Yemen. Is there any way to protect the multi-billion dollar air-cargo system that's a mainstay of the global economy?
US Steps Up Drone Attacks in Pakistan The latest US missile strike in Northwest Pakistan killed twelve people today, bringing to 60 the number killed in thirteen unmanned-drone attacks in just the past two weeks. Brian Fishman was director of research at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center. He's now counterinsurgency research fellow at the New America Foundation.
Terror on Trial: Politics as Usual Within the war on terror, there's another war going on, a political one. The Obama Administration says it's getting valuable information from the man accused of trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. Conservatives say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's case is being handled wrong, and that the government should be tougher on terror suspects. It all makes for potent mix of politics, counter-terrorism and national security – in an election year. Amid news that top al Qaeda leaders have been killed, are Obama's terror policies more effective than the Bush Administration, or are they just presenting a kinder American face to the world? How prepared is the country to deal with renewed terror threats?
A Double Agent, the CIA and al Qaeda A Jordanian doctor with a record as an Islamic extremist promised valuable information on Osama bin Laden’s top aide, Ayman al-Zawahri. Seven top CIA agents, including experts on al Qaeda, flew to meet with him in Afghanistan, but failed to conduct a rudimentary search, and lost their lives when he detonated explosives he wore on his body.
A Double Agent, the CIA and al Qaeda A promising lead on Osama bin Laden's top aide, Ayman al-Zawahri, drew the CIA's leading al Qaeda hunters to meet in Afghanistan last week with a Jordanian doctor. But he was a double agent and suicide bomber. The agents, including experts on al Qaeda, failed to conduct a rudimentary search, and lost their lives when he detonated explosives he wore on his body. Since then, the CIA has stepped up missile attacks across the border with Pakistan in apparent retaliation. Disturbing questions remain. How did seven experienced CIA spies get caught in a deadly deception? Was the attack pulled off by a resurgent al Qaeda? What will it mean for the CIA's crucial relationship with Jordan's intelligence agency?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.