With sanctions targeting its oil sector, and the possibility of Israel striking its nuclear program, a senior official in Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Iran could strike U.S. military installations in the region "within minutes."
How equipped is Iran's military to carry out such a threat? CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty reports.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of opinion articles about national security by participants in the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 25-28 in Aspen, Colorado.
Philip Mudd served as the FBI’s deputy director for national security and, prior to that, spent most of his career at the Central Intelligence Agency. He held various positions and was eventually named the deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center. Mudd is now a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation.
The counterterror campaign has evolved markedly during the past decade, from the centrally-directed al Qaeda plots of 9/11 through the rise of affiliated organizations in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia and, now, to the homegrown phenomenon in the United States and elsewhere. In each of these cases, the combination of effective counterterror operations and broad rejection of al Qaedaist ideology has hollowed the threat: al Qaeda’s core is struggling; with few exceptions (the Sahel, for example), affiliates are either in remission (Indonesia) or suffering serious setbacks (Somalia and Yemen); and homegrowns are prolific in number but limited in the strategic threat they pose. Meanwhile, with economic setbacks across the world, the rise of China, and questions about Iran’s nuclear intentions, questions unrelated to the al Qaedaist threat of the first decade of this century are appropriately crowding out counterterrorism in the national security arena.
The lessons of how U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement developed tactics during this long campaign, though, likely will be more enduring. Like international terror groups, emerging threats - organized crime, drug cartels, human trafficking groups, and child pornography rings - have common characteristics. All are led by a central cadre (a leadership network) of criminals who communicate, travel, and manage finances. Increasingly, each of these elements that make up organized networks is trackable through the digital trails that we all leave behind during everyday life, from bank transactions to e-mail and other messaging traffic on the Internet. And these are the same types of trails that U.S. security entities so successfully tracked during the counterterror campaign and the effort against foreign-fighter networks in Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan. FULL POST