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New U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy Unveiled

Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan. (file)

The report, said John Brennan, "formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years."

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, unveiled in late June the new U.S. strategy for fighting al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups. The report, said John Brennan, "formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qa’ida’s demise."

The strategy recognizes that our counterterrorism efforts clearly benefit from our broader foreign policy efforts, said John Brennan.

Peaceful political, economic, and social progress undermines the claim that the only way to achieve change is through violence. Thus, said John Brennan, when "our diplomats promote the peaceful resolution of political disputes and grievances, when our trade and economic policies generate growth that lifts people out of poverty, when our development experts support good governance that addresses people’s basic needs, when we stand up for universal human rights," we undermine violent extremists and terrorists like al-Qa'ida by helping to alleviate the disillusionment and sense of powerlessness that can make violent ideologies more appealing to susceptible individuals.

The principal focus of this counterterrorism strategy is al-Qa'ida, its affiliates and its adherents, said John Brennan. As part of this effort, the U.S. is strengthening its intelligence, military capabilities, security and a full range of law enforcement tools.

But because no one nation alone can destroy al-Qaida, the United States is partnering with multilateral institutions and regional organizations such as the United Nations and NATO, ASEAN and the African Union. The United States has also stepped up its efforts to build the capacity of its partners so they can fight al-Qaida in their own countries.

"We will continue to be clear and precise about our enemy," said John Brennan. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal, and apply them wisely. We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home. And as Americans, we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world, define us as people and help keep us safe," he said.

"President Obama said it best. ... 'We have put al-Qa’ida on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.'"