Americans may have lost interest in terrorism, but terrorism remains interested in us. For example, the Washington Post reports on a video that surfaced on Islamist websites showing a large group of al Qaeda terrorists, including high ranking ones, taking part in an open-air gathering in Yemen. Describing the outing as “brazen,” the Post notes that the terrorists make no apparent effort to avoid detection by U.S. drones.
The terrorists know what they are doing. According to the Post, the Obama administration has suspended drone flights this year following a deadly drone strike on members of a wedding party in December.
Al Qaeda, though, isn’t suspending activity, and the U.S. remains a prime target. Indeed, during the video, al Qaeda’s leader in Yemen affirms its commitment to attacking us. “We must eliminate the cross,” he declares, and “the bearer of the cross is America.”
Al Qaeda’s rhetoric may be 11th century, but its capabilities are 21st.
Our capabilities are even greater, but our willing to deploy them is flagging. As noted, Obama has suspended drone flights in Yemen. In addition, in the aftermath of the Snowden disclosures, he proposes measures that will make life more difficult for the NSA and other agencies charged with gathering the information needed to determine how Al Qaeda intends to strike “the bearer of the cross.”
Meanwhile our elites celebrate the work of institutions like the Washington Post that reduces the capabilities of our intelligence agencies. And some conservatives join with the likes of John Conyers in efforts to handcuff the NSA and the CIA.
We have taken our eye off of the ball, but the ball hasn’t taken its eye off of us.