Security

What Threat Does ISIS Pose to the Homeland?

In interviews with several major news organizations, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin questioned the rhetoric of the media and some politicians and members of President Obama's administration regarding the threat posed by the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the U.S. homeland.  

In the September 10th New York Times Benjamin noted, "It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic, with claims that the nation is honeycombed with sleeper cells, that operatives are streaming across the border into Texas or that the group will soon be spraying Ebola virus on mass transit systems — all on the basis of no corroborated information."

How Should the US Respond to Sotloff's Killing?

September 3, 2014

In an interview with Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin talks about the appropriate response to the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff.  

"I think that the key thing right now is not to react instantly to try to get some retaliation for this really barbaric attack, but rather to get the strategy right, to get the partners brought in, and to ensure, of course, that the Iraqis themselves continue to move towards inclusiveness and towards working together against a common threat,” says Benjamin, who is a former counter terrorism official in the Obama administration.

Listen to the entire interview on PBS with former National Security Council staff Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant (Ret.), former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Benjamin.

What Level of Threat Does ISIS Pose to the US?

August 18, 2014

Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin talks to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC about ISIS and the threat to Iraq and Syria, and the challenge of arming individual Iraqi and Kurdish factions to fight them. He also discusses the overheated rhetoric coming out of Washington about ISIS as a threat to the US.

Watch the entire discussion on MSNBC.

Hawks Exaggerate Islamic State Threat to the US (Boston Globe)

August 17, 2014

In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, Dickey Center Director Daniel Benjamin cautions that politicians in Washington and the press are exaggerating the direct threat to the United States from the group calling itself the Islamic State, or ISIS. 

"The danger to Iraq and its neighbors is real. The Islamic State has shown itself to be a formidable insurgency. Its focus is on ripping apart Iraq and Syria, sowing sectarian conflict, and creating in its midst a new jihadist state or caliphate . . .  But, for now, it’s important to understand that even if marauding operatives in Land Cruisers may be humiliating Iraq’s hollowed-out military, that doesn’t mean they have genuine terrorist skills," Benjamin writes.

Read the entire article in the Boston Globe

ISIS Is an Unproven Threat to the US

August 12, 2014, Dartmouth Now

In a story about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jake Tapper ’91, host of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, turns to Dartmouth’s Daniel Benjamin for comment about the threat posed by the militant group.

Benjamin, the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department, tells Tapper that ISIS poses “an unproven threat” to the U.S. “It’s a big concern, but at the moment, there is no proven record of out-of-area activities, no demonstrated ability to carry out attacks, and if I had to say who the next attack was going to be carried out by, it wouldn’t be ISIS.”

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