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White House Releases National Counterterrorism Strategy

Deputy Nat'l Security Adviser John Brennan on U.S. plan to defeat al-Qaeda

Washington, DC
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The White House unveiled its strategy this morning for fighting al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups targeting the U.S.

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan released the plan at an event hosted by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  The approach reflects changes since the killing of Osama bin Laden and the announced withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Brennan said the U.S. counterterrorism strategy focuses on al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups, along with "misguided individuals" that align themselves with al-Qaeda.  He said the plan reflects the fact that that the U.S. is "at war...waging a broad, sustained, integrated and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power to defeat al-Qaeda.”

Brennan explained that while the goal of defeating al-Qaeda is not new, the principles set forth in the strategy are "guiding our efforts to destroy (the terrorist group)."  Those principles include "upholding...the rule of law and the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans;" maximizing cooperation between law enforcement & intelligence; building partnerships with other nations; and creating "a culture of preparedness" here in the U.S.

The strategy's goals include preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, eliminating safe havens for terrorist training, countering al-Qaeda's ideology and its attempts to justify violence, and adapting and updating our homeland defenses.

Administration officials have said that while the death of bin Laden was a victory, it does not represent the defeat of al-Qaeda worldwide.  President Obama said last week that “we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.”  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Americans "should not forget that the battle to stop al-Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin Laden."

Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 3:34pm (ET)

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