FROM Gregory Johnsen
Twelve Years after 9-11, How Big a Threat Is al Qaeda? Should we be afraid of al Qaeda? Officials in Yemen say they thwarted a plan by al Qaeda to seize a major port and kidnap or kill workers there. It's not clear how real that threat was. But the news came days after the US and Britain closed embassies across the Middle East and North Africa, fearing a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, hundreds of prisoners, including al Qaeda operatives, have escaped from prisons in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan. How have power vacuums in places like Iraq, Syria and Yemen created openings for al Qaeda to grow? Two years after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, how powerful is al Qaeda?
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?
Airline Security: Nine Years after September 11 Some $40 billion worth of security measures were defeated on Christmas Day when a man boarded an airplane with explosives sewn into his underwear. New procedures announced since Friday have already been revised as the Obama Administration struggles to reassure the traveling public. Today, the President vowed to "continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks" against the US. We hear what it's like now to fly into the US. Will high-tech scanners or behavioral profiling be the wave of the future? Is Yemen now a greater threat to the US than Afghanistan?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
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.