STANFORD—The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and Al-Qaeda’s possible involvement there were discussed by Hoover Institution Media Fellow Eric Schmitt, military correspondent for the New York Times, when he spoke on “From Pakistan to Peoria,” on November 26.
Listen to Eric Schmitt’s talk (30:33)
“I think about Al-Qaeda every day, what it is doing, where it will strike next,” Schmitt said, as he reflected on the violence reported earlier in the day. “There is terrorist movement related to the group in other, newer places now: Yemen, Somalia, West Africa. But most troubling is what is happening within the group in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Schmitt’s talk was sponsored by the William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows Program at the Hoover Institution and the Stanford University Alumni Association.
He said that what had appeared to be a waning Al-Qaeda earlier in the year might be a signal that leadership was reequipping and training followers for attacks ahead.
Some of that training may be of what he called “clean skins,” or disaffected Caucasians in Europe who can be radicalized, recruited, and sent to wait within the United States, in particular, for directions to strike.
He also commented that terrorists seeking to strike the United States are finding it difficult to mount another attack. Not only has security and intelligence improved, but terrorists today seem to believe that a second attack must be of even greater magnitude than the first. It will not be easy to achieve that aim, Schmitt said.
With the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, Schmitt said, decisions will have to be made on which structures in the United States–airports, government installations and offices, schools, health-care facilities, to name just a few--must be defended. Security specialists also will be watching the American Muslim community for changes in attitude and action. Also on the radar for analysis will be the use of the Internet by terrorist groups and what terrorists manage to do in Europe. Finally, appointments made by President Obama for secretary of defense, attorney general, and head of the Central Intelligence Agency will give indications to the world about how the United States will continue to fight against terrorism.