Benjamin on the Attacks in Paris

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin has been called upon frequently for his counterterrorism expertise since the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office in Paris.

On Wednesday, January 14th, Benjamin was interviewed by both CNN's Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin and The Rachel Maddow Show. On CNN, he discussed the threat of "undetectable" bombs in light of a recent article in Al Qaeda's online magazine Inspire, which detailed how to make bombs out of household products. He cautioned, however, that the spread of assault weapons in Europe is a much greater danger at present. On The Rachel Maddow Show, Benjamin discussed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) claim that they were responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo's newspaper offices.

Benjamin appeared on BBC World News on January 13th. He discussed both the threat of "copycat" attacks following Paris and the hacking of US Central Command's Twitter account.

On January 12th, Benjamin was on The Lead with Jake Tapper. They discussed whether the attack on Charie Hebdo was the "new normal." Benjamin noted that, to some extent, it already was the new normal, but that we are much more aware of the threats and doing our best to keep it from happening again.

On Friday, January 9th, Benjamin was interviewed for the LA Times in which he noted, “U.S. intelligence officials have long believed it was 'remarkable' that there hadn't been more terror attacks in France, said Daniel Benjamin, the former chief of counterterrorism for the State Department, given that nearly 1,000 French citizens had traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight over the last three years.”

On the 9th, Benjamin also appeared on Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes Show. He and Colmes discussed the Paris attacks, ISIS and President Obama’s policies to combat terrorism. And, for the Italian speakers, Benjamin also appeared on Italy’s Radio 24.

In an article on CNN.com on January 8th, Benjamin stated, “We have seen, just in the last few months, whether it is in Sydney or in Ottawa or in other places, that the perceived successes of ISIS in holding territory in Iraq and in Syria have had a galvanizing effect on those with radical tendencies. . . . I fear this is something we are going to have to get used to.”

On January 7th, Benjamin appeared on the Bloomberg Politics’ show “With All Due Respect.” (Benjamin’s interview begins at the 7:45 mark of the video.) In the discussion, Benjamin notes: “it is essential to not let this get out of hand. In Europe now there is a tremendous amount of anti-immigration sentiment…the danger here is that we see ever greater confrontations, provocations, and the like, that will drive radicalization. That is a difficult thing for the authorities to manage, but they really need to speak calmly and clearly to the public about this recognizing that whoever did this represents a very, very small minority of the Muslim community in France, which is of course the largest in Europe.”

Finally, and also on January 7th, Benjamin was interviewed for the Washington Post. In the article he noted: “It’s a pretty unusual attack from a jihadist organization. It’s not a suicide attack, and it’s not a bombing. We haven’t seen many cases of cells affiliated with [al-Qaeda-linked] groups carrying out shootings like this.”
 

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