The purpose of the NIE July 2007 is to warn or sound the alarm for all the relevant government organs in the US about the possible threat that Al Qaeda still presents after 9/11 to the US homeland security especially in the next three years. The report also points out the possible challenges that lie ahead for all the relevant government bodies policy makers e. t. c given the advancement in technology which makes it easier for even small disjointed groups to plan attacks, ‘a result’ of ‘which puts United states in ‘a heightened threat environment’(NIE July,2007)
The NIE July 2007 assumes an authoritative or commanding tone which not only clearly gives indications of what and how Al Qaeda and other small anti- US terrorist groups are planning, but also advices the relevant bodies on what must be done in order to counter these threats. In contrast, the NIE April 2006 report focused on showing the gains the US made by fighting Al-Qaeda and dismantling its top leaders but however downplayed the threat posed by the small splinter groups in future.
The report also stressed the importance of the support by mainstream Islam in rejecting the activities of the Jihadist’s movements or Al-Qaeda and adopting democratic systems of governance as a major solution to the global terrorism risk. The NIE July 2007 report on the other hand differed a little from the April 2007 report because it presented the small splinter groups from Al-Qaeda as the most dangerous because they lacked a centralized command.
They could therefore, attract many other non- Islamic anti- US sympathizing groups and launch un-coordinated attacks which may have been hard to pinpoint. Since the release of the NIE July 2007, we are almost midway within the 3 year timeline that was given for the possibility of Al-Qaeda and other terror groups striking again. In Nov 2008, One year after the release of the report, the FBI indicated that the risk for terror attacks were no longer high as some of those documented by some reputable tabloids.
Randall Mikkelsen (Reuters, 2008), reported that ‘the FBI tracked about 108,000 potential terrorism threats or suspicious incidents from mid-2004 to November 2007, but most were found groundless’. Today the terrorism threats have been overtaken by the global economic downturn. In fact, the beginning of the Obama presidency in the US heralded a Change in the way Muslim Extremist viewed America. This is because the Obama administration was viewed as one that would have a diplomatic approach to issues than a military approach that was consistent with the immediate former administration.
Obama administration counter-terrorism policy moved away from the term “war on terror,” in order to ” reflect a concerted effort to locate terrorism in its proper place within the panoply of threats facing the country”, according to Patel (2009). In one of his speeches, President Obama said Al-Qaeda is a terror threat more to Europe than it is to the US and added that “ Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder that burden alone,” because terrorism was an international problem ( Steinberg , M 2009)
Both the April and July NIE reports similarly observe the waning US international support and underline the importance of improving the relationship between US and other countries in the fight against terrorism. Both also show the importance of developing pluralism and the culture of democracy in governing especially in the Muslim world as a way to curb extremism but also warned about anti-US global sentiments which were on the rise and the danger it presented to Homeland security especially with the advancement ion technology and communications.
Though a lot has been done in terms of combating terrorism, some have been successful but the threats have changed in a way. Terrorists still aim to produce mass civilian, property or economic damage mainly meant to inflict fear among the US citizens but this time they intend to use nuclear weapons. If anything, the threats have not only taken a new face and new names, many of them are now non-Muslim, and characteristically small to detect , with a “single issue “ being their main source of hatred (NIE July 2007). According to Graham Allison(2003), nuclear terrorism poses the greatest thereat today.
He explains that if terrorist were to get hold of a nuclear device, they would most certainly try to smuggle it to Paris, London, Berlin or Rome a view which Warren Buffet also concurs is “inevitable. ” Op-Ed, The Wall Street Journal Europe, page A10, July 2003 The NIE JULY 2007 views our counter terrorism efforts today as good. This is because the advancement in technology and information systems has allowed more people to share information concerning threats and suspects. On the flipside, these small groups would also easily connect…”justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resource to attack.
” Though these attacks would be rated as small attacks and expected to remain small for a period of time to come, bigger attacks are expected especially with the activities of North Korea and Iran brought in focus. The US should be concerned with serious attacks from countries like Iran and North Korea because the global economic crisis, which is currently a major issue, has led to the US losing its wealth in trillions of dollars diminished its capability to support NATO and consequently presented the Obama administration as “weaker than ever….
” The recent events such as the long range nuclear war head testing by N. Korea, and the harassment of US ship in China waters could be an indication of this. Further more, the fact that Iran has close ties with Hezbollah, the threat of nuclear weapons being developed and donated to these terror groups is a matter of time (Gerald M, Steinberg 2009).