Threats to U.S. National Security: Economy v. Terrorism

People have expressed concern that the Obama Administration won’t pursue Islamic militants – the likes of whom were responsible for the 9/11 attacks – with quite the same level of aggression employed by the Bush Administration.

But given recent events and endorsements, it doesn’t seem that Obama is giving up on Bush’s War on Terror, per se. It’s just that the global economic crisis – and its potential threat to U.S. security – has displaced terrorism somewhat, as U.S. intelligence agencies reported to Congress in February.

You can rest assured, Obama’s keeping himself well in the know when it comes to threats to security generated by economic difficulties. Every day, he receives a special economic report compiled by the intelligence community, which specifically calls out potential changes to the foreign policy of countries facing economic instability, countries like China and Russia, Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela, said new CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Panetta goes on to appease those concerned about Obama’s allegedly relaxed approach to fighting terrorism, saying that when it comes to Islamic militants, President Obama intends to be just as aggressive and persistent as his predecessor in the struggle to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

US Predator Drone

Panetta later confirmed that President Obama has endorsed the CIA’s stepped-up offensive against Al Qaeda, which includes missile strikes carried out by unmanned drones and aimed at Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reports indicate that eight Al Qaeda leaders have been killed as a result of the strikes since they began in June 2008.

Within a few days of Obama taking office this January, the U.S. launched two missile attacks, and soon after Panetta’s appointment as Director of CIA this February, additional strikes were made in the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Panetta has told members of the Pakistani military and intelligence community that the CIA has no intention of easing up its attack, bent on seriously debilitating Al Qaeda’s central leadership, also known as Osama Bin Laden’s lieutenants.

In the face of a worsening situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s hesitance to do anything about the insurgents spilling over into its territory, the United Stated increased their missile offensive last year.

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