Center for American Progress

You Read It Hear First: U.S. Less Safe from Terrorism

You Read It Hear First: U.S. Less Safe from Terrorism

New National Intelligence Estimate confirms CAP and Foreign Policy assertions: Iraq war leaves America more vulnerable to terrorism.

Newspaper reports over the weekend confirmed what the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine first concluded three months ago: Experts on national security and terrorism believe that America is less safe from terrorist assault than it was five years ago. This comes as the Democratic Policy Committee holds hearings today to discuss the failed planning and conduct of operations in Iraq with retired Major Generals John R.S. Batiste and Paul D. Eaton of the U.S. Army, and retired Colonel Thomas X. Hammes of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The press reports said that the Bush administration’s new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq concluded that America faces greater danger of terrorist attacks precisely because of the invasion of Iraq and its bloody aftermath. The NIE analysis, prepared in April, is the consensus conclusion of 16 U.S. government intelligence agencies.

This is essentially the same consensus conclusion that CAP and Foreign Policy discovered when we did our own independent polling at about the same time, asking over 100 of America’s most esteemed terrorism and national security experts for their assessment of the war against terrorist networks. This survey, titled The Terrorism Index, mined the highest echelons of the U.S. national security establishment across the ideological spectrum for their insights on the war on terrorism.

The result, we know today, shows a surprising consensus among the experts inside and outside of the U.S. government about terrorism and U.S. national security. In our survey, a vast majority think that the world today is more dangerous for the American people. So, too, does the NIE. Over half of the experts we polled list Islamic animosity and the Iraq war as the main reasons why the world is becoming more dangerous. That’s also the consensus conclusion of the NIE.

In our survey, fewer than two in 10 believe the United States is winning the war on terror. More than eight in 10 believe we are likely to face a terrorist attack on the scale of September 11 within the next 10 years. These experts put nuclear weapons and materials as the top threat, followed closely by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a whole and then terrorism. Only four percent rank Iran as the greatest threat.

The survey’s conclusions aid our understanding of these threats, as well as the current capabilities and missteps of the U.S. government in fighting terrorism.

For more information on the survey, please see the following links:

For more on policy positions, reports, and analyses on terrorism and national security from the Center for American Progress, please see the following links:

Experts Available for Comment

Joe Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy Joseph Cirincione is the Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy. Prior to joining the Center, he was Director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. He is one of America’s best-known weapons experts, a frequent commentator on these issues in the media, and a professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Mr. Cirincione also worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the Military Reform Caucus. He is the author of numerous articles on nuclear weapons issues, the editor of Repairing the Regime (Routledge, 2000), the publisher and editor of the Internet site,, and producer of two DVDs on proliferation. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

His books include Bomb Scare: The History, Theory and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2006), Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, (Second Edition, 2005), and, as co-author, Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005).

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is an honors graduate of Boston College and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Peter Rundlet, Vice President for National Security and International Affairs, Center for American Progress Peter Rundlet is the Vice President for National Security and International Affairs at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining American Progress, Peter was Counsel for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the “9/11 Commission”), where he focused on domestic intelligence and law enforcement policy, including related civil liberties issues. In 1997, Peter was selected to be a White House Fellow, serving in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President. After his fellowship year, he was appointed Associate Counsel to the President and was responsible for a range of policy and constitutional law issues until the end of the Clinton administration.

After his White House tenure, Peter was an attorney in the political law department of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Earlier in his career, Peter received the Skadden Public Interest Law Fellowship and was an Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he litigated voting rights, housing, school desegregation, and employment discrimination cases. Peter was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Brian Katulis, Director of Democracy and Public Diplomacy, Center for American Progress Brian Katulis is Director of Democracy and Public Diplomacy on the National Security Team at the Center for American Progress. His previous experience includes work in the Near East and South Asian Directorate of the National Security Council and the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State during the Clinton administration.

Katulis also serves as a senior analyst and consultant on the Middle East at the U.S. Institute for Peace, Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute. Over the past ten years, he has lived and worked for human rights and democracy promotion organizations in several countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories. He has published articles in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. Katulis received a graduate degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. He speaks Arabic.

Andy Grotto, Senior National Security Analyst, Center for American Progress Andrew J. Grotto is a Senior National Security Analyst at the Center for American Progress, where he specializes in U.S. strategic policy and the proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, the UK Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and a variety of scholarly journals. Most recently, Grotto co-authored Restoring American Military Power: A Progressive QDR (Center for American Progress, 2006), a comprehensive assessment of U.S. military strategy. He received his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), his Master’s Degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky, where he was a Gaines Fellow.

William J. Dobson, Managing Editor, Foreign Policy William J. Dobson is the managing editor of Foreign Policy. He is responsible for managing the editorial planning and editorial production of the magazine, as well as editing and commissioning feature articles, reviews, and essays. Prior to joining FP, he served as Newsweek International’s Senior Editor for Asia and as an associate editor at Foreign Affairs. While at Newsweek, he supervised coverage that was honored for overall general excellence by the Society of Asia Publishers in 2003 and 2004.

Mr. Dobson was recently chosen to become a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. He has published widely on Asia and international relations and is a frequent guest for such news organizations as CNN and National Public Radio, providing commentary for such programs as Lou Dobbs Tonight, Insight with Jonathan Mann, To the Point, and On Point and has written for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and The New Republic. He received a law degree and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Middlebury College. Michael C. Boyer, Associate Editor, Foreign Policy Mike Boyer joined FP in July 2001. He commissions and edits feature articles, reviews, and department pieces. He also reports and writes for both the print and online editions of the magazine. Previously, Mr. Boyer served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, where he worked primarily on issues related to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including hearings, legislation, and policy on a diverse portfolio of subjects ranging from economic sanctions and war in the Balkans, to software piracy and commercial satellite exports. He was Assistant to the Candidate on Hagel’s first Senate campaign in 1996, during which time he traveled extensively with the senator on the campaign trail.

Mr. Boyer’s writing on international affairs has appeared in National Geographic, the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Monthly, The New Republic The Weekly Standard online, among other publications. He has appeared as a commentator on television and radio, including National Public Radio, and in numerous print media outlets. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College and a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

For Media Inquiries Contact: Daniella Léger, Director of Press Relations for the Center for American Progress – phone: 202-741-6258, email: [email protected]. Jeff Marn, Media Relations Manager for Foreign Policy– phone: 202-939-2242, e-mail: [email protected]

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