But they continue to want to have things blow up

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Tyler Cowen found John O. Brennan’s new memoir, Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroad, interesting, entertaining, and substantive on every page:

COWEN: It seems that offense should very often be easier than defense when it comes to terrorism. There are just many disruptive, destructive things you can do. I know America has taken many, many, many steps since 9/11 to limit terror attacks, but it still seems to me, just as an outside observer, that we should be observing more attacks than in fact we do, that it should be impossible to stop so many of them.

At the deepest conceptual reason, what do you think are the defects in the attackers that have led to so few major terror attacks in this country since 9/11?

BRENNAN: So, you want me to give the enemies the reasons why they’re not as successful as they would have been?


I think sometimes it’s because they continue to go back to the tried-and-true methods. When I look at terrorist acts, especially those that are international, transnational terrorism directed against the United States — al-Qaida and other types of terrorist organizations continue to go after that which is going to go boom and bang, trying to secret an improvised explosive device onto an airplane, trying to bring down that air carrier over the United States, as opposed to looking at new and ingenious and innovative ways to really cause havoc. But they continue to want to have things blow up.

The defenses that have been put in place really have guarded against and made it much more difficult for the terrorists to surmount the various obstacles and security checks that are in place. But they continue to focus on that. And I’m glad they do in some respects because that’s where we’re best prepared to defeat their efforts.

I still shudder when I think about the availability of weapons in the United States — different types of assault weapons and how much carnage could be created and has been in instances. But rarely has it been as a result of an international terrorist group, transnational terrorist group.

You don’t hear about an al-Qaida member who picks up an assault weapon and just mows people down at a mall. Occasionally, attempts are made, or sometimes it actually happens, but they still go after that IED that is going to blow up something and create the type of footage that they want.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    It’s about control by fear. Terrorism employs the cruder sorts of fear. More subtle enemies use more subtle forms of fear. But they all want us too afraid to resist.

    Fear God, and fear the laws of physics, but do not fear men, and do not fear what men tell you to fear.

  2. Phil B. says:

    The IRA and their splinter groups ordered what they called “A Spectacular”. Ordinary assassinations and/or relatively low level terrorism did not make it into the newspapers and TV news. A Spectacular such as a bomb or similar is too big for the news agencies to ignore and definitely makes prime time TV and the front page.

    Without the oxygen of publicity for their “cause” they cannot exert political pressure. So expect to see this type of terrorism continuing because it is successful, at least in their own view and the politicians wanting to “DO SOMETHING” will allow them to steer the politicians towards capitulating to their demands.

  3. Wang Wei Lin says:

    Good boy Brennan… give terrorists ideas you scumbag. Then you manage to make a side swipe comment about gun ownership. Only despicable liberals like him could include terrorists and bill of rights liberties in the same statement.

  4. RLVC says:

    If terrorists did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them.

  5. Bomag says:

    Brennan’s duty is to keep his mouth shut about almost everything in his work. Shows the crassness of our political class that he wants to write such book.

    From my small amount of contact with the intelligence (sic) class, the self importance level was off-putting. The work attracts people of such a nature, and the culture reinforces it.

    …Enemies, at Home and Abroad

    These Home enemies, are they al Qaeda et al walking our streets, or regular Americans who vote for the wrong people by Brennan’s dictates?

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