NDSU expert asked to comment on terrorism developments
A Congressional committee, intelligence agencies, an international think tank and national media outlets have tapped the expertise of an NDSU terrorism expert in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt and other terrorist attacks and plots.
Jarret Brachman, an associate research fellow who leads transportation security research at NDSU’s Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, has been interviewed numerous times for international, national and local media and has been the featured speaker at several events focused on counterterrorism.
In November, in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings, Brachman made multiple appearances on CNN, National Public Radio and the New York Times. He also was featured on a segment with ABC World News Tonight. In December, Brachman was invited to testify on topics related to the future of al-Qaida to the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats.
The Christmas Day bombing attempt on Detroit bound Northwest Flight 253 and the January suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed American CIA officers, thrust Brachman back into the national spotlight. He made a number of media appearances in January, including an extended interview with the PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio and multiple appearances on CNN. Brachman was cited in several New York Times articles and was quoted in Time Magazine and Newsweek. He also contributed to a feature story on detainees at the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay with the Miami Herald.
In January, Brachman gave a talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace titled, “Making the Next Bin Laden.” Attended by more than 100 people from across domestic and foreign government agencies and members of the press, Brachman focused on the rising al-Qaida operatives who are positioning themselves to replace Osama bin Laden as head of the global al-Qaida movement. He also was a featured panelist for a conference at the Defense Intelligence Agency in January where he discussed al-Qaida’s use of the Internet.
“For years, al-Qaida’s internet supporters have had ample access to both ideological material that teaches them why they should commit acts of terrorism and the tactical knowledge they need to learn how to kill,” Brachman says. “Nevertheless, the United States had not seen a significant number of individuals being radicalized online and then trying to commit terrorism in the real world, at least until recently.”
Brachman’s research seeks to better understand how the nature of al-Qaida activism is evolving over time. “The evolution is being driven from the top-down, by the next generation of senior al-Qaida leaders. It is also being driven from the bottom-up, thanks to the grass-root examples being set by individuals like Humam al-Balawi, the Jordanian ‘triple-agent’ who perpetrated the January suicide bombing against the CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan,” Brachman says.
He argues that the recent increase of al-Qaida’s Web supporters now joining al-Qaida’s real-world war against the United States, culminating with al-Balawi, seems be providing the kind of role model for which al-Qaida’s global movement has been longing. “Countries across the world – and particularly the United States – should brace themselves for an impending exodus from the al-Qaida Web forums and onto the battlefield by self-styled al-Qaida armies of one,” Brachman says.