Progress on Terrorism “Disappointing”
BRUSSELS (April 29, 2006) — Four security experts participated in a dynamic discussion among themselves and with a congregation of high-level policymakers this afternoon at Brussels Forum: Transatlantic Challenges in a Global Era.
“If we step back and ask ourselves as a transatlantic society, ‘How are we doing?’” said Jules Kroll, founder of Kroll, Inc. and Vice Chairman of Marsh, Inc. “I think the answer is extremely modest and very disappointing.”
U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) pointed to progress in reform of American intelligence agencies. “We’ve made it possible for the FBI and the CIA to talk.” Issa, an Arab-American, said that to forgo racial profiling would be a waste of money in the fight against terrorism. “Of course you profile,” Issa said. “There’s no question we’re looking predominantly for people linked to Islam.” However, just “profiling leaves you with a huge vulnerability.”
CNN correspondent David Ensor, who served as moderator, engaged the panelists and other participants in a discussion of how to treat captured terrorists, in particular those held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay. A majority of attendees said they would shut the prison there and let the alleged terrorists go. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service, said “the methodology used in the United States is a very practical reflection of the difficulties” in “collecting human intelligence on terrorist movements” — intelligence that quickly becomes out-of-date after a suspect is in custody.
Ensor asked Sir Richard what he would do if he had suspected Al Quaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in custody, as the U.S. does. “As a professional, I would have wanted undisturbed access over a long period of time,” Dearlove said. “With no defense attorney present?” Ensor asked. “That would not be possible in the United Kingdom,” Dearlove said.
The experts identified mistakes governments have made in the fight against terrorism. Kroll said resources had been misallocated: “Eighty-percent of the money has been spent at airports; that was yesterday’s problem,” Kroll said. “I think the ports are no more or no less vulnerable than anywhere else.” Overall, the experts said, the U.S. and European governments have not made enough progress in eliminating the causes of terrorism. “This is an ‘anti-’ movement so broad that there is no one thing we can do to stop it,” Issa said. “I’m most afraid of us permanently losing the momentum to make this world better because we spend too many resources on a small group that means us harm.”