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Al-Qaida-Inspired Terrorism A Continued Threat in U.S., Expert Says

Al-Qaida-Inspired Terrorism A Continued Threat in U.S., Expert Says

Professor David Schanzer says immigration system has improved but isn't perfect

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Editor's Note: A new paper by Schanzer, "The Way Forward on Combatting al-Qaida-Inspired Violent Extremism in the United States: Suggestions for the Next Administration," will be released Oct. 25. The executive summary can be viewed at

Editor's Note: Duke provides an on-campus satellite uplink facility for live or pre-recorded television interviews. We are also equipped with ISDN connectivity for radio interviews. Broadcast reporters should contact Scott Wells at (919) 660-1741 or James Todd at (919) 681-8061 to arrange an interview.

Authorities on Wednesday arrested a Bangladeshi man in an FBI terror sting in New York City. The man allegedly planned to set off explosives outside the Federal Reserve.

David Schanzer 
Associate professor of the practice, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a research consortium between Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and RTI International). 

Schanzer is an expert in counterterrorism strategy, counterterrorism law and homeland security. Prior to his academic appointments, he was the Democratic staff director for the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security from 2003-2005.

"The arrest yesterday is consistent with other al-Qaida-inspired terrorism cases we have seen in past years. The suspect is an unsophisticated individual who has adopted the al-Qaida ideology to such a deep extent that he is willing to kill innocent civilians in the West to bring attention to his cause. At this stage, it does not appear that he had any connections to an established terrorist organization.  

"It is disturbing, but not surprising, that there continues to be a supply of these radicalized individuals around the world who have a strong desire to kill Americans. Our immigration system has improved over the past decade so that suspicious individuals have found it much harder to enter the United States. But at least some individuals without connections to terrorist networks and who have clean records will be able to obtain visas and enter the United States; the system is not perfect.  

"It is reassuring, however, that for the vast majority of cases, suspicious activities of such individuals are either reported by the community or come to the attention of law enforcement through other means. We cannot expect this will happen for every case, and it is probable that some individuals will be successful again in the future. However, the record over the past decade of preventing terrorist incidents inside the United States has been impressive.  

"The arrest yesterday shows that al-Qaida-inspired terrorism continues to be a threat that will require vigilance for the foreseeable future, but it is a threat that can be managed effectively."

More Information

Contact: Karen Kemp
Phone: (919) 613-7394

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More Information

Contact: Karen Kemp
Phone: (919) 613-7394