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“Will Iraq survive victory over ISIS in Mosul?” CNN

Peter Bergen reports on the current complexities on the ground in Mosul.  There is concern that after the defeat of ISIS, the anti-ISIS alliances will be dissolved, leaving six different sects and ethnicities in the city,and creating a tenuous situation.  Iraq’s economic reliance on oil, when prices continue to drop is determined to be another unstable component in the recovery of Mosul.

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“London shows the challenge of preventing low-tech terror” CNN

Peter Bergen reports on the terrorist attack in London. Bergen examines the recent history of vehicles being weaponized for terrorist attacks in Western countries, and concludes that within free societies, this type of attack is particularly hard to prevent. He says that the most useful information in preventing vehicle based attacks comes from the peers and families of those who might be radicalized.

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“Counterterrorism experts cite threat of remote-controlled “long wolves” at hearing” Homeland Preparedness News

Homeland Preparedness News reports that a panel of counterterrorism experts spoke with lawmakers about new developments in the threat of domestic terrorism. Peter Bergen was one of the experts providing advice. Bergen advised against labeling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and expressed concern over the drone capabilities of Hezbollah and ISIS. Additionally, he recommended reinstating a ban on semiautomatic guns in the U.S..

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“Trump’s brilliant choice of McMaster” CNN

Peter Bergen examines Trump’s new appointment for national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. McMaster has extensive experience both on the battlefield and as a scholar.  Bergen considers McMaster “the most capable military officer of his generation” and approves of Trump’s decision.

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“The cleric who altered the course of modern history” CNN

Peter Bergen reports that Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric, died in an American prison. He was imprisoned for his role in terrorist conspiracies in New York City but continued to influence al Qaeda activity from within prison. Specifically, Sheikh Rahman issued a fatwa (religious ruling) that sanctioned attacks on American aviation, shipping, economics and civilians rather than just the American military. This religious ruling was taken as justification for 9/11. Bergen thinks that Rahman’s death in an American prison will lead to calls from al Qaeda’s leader, al Zawahriri for anti-American attacks.

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“White House’s own terrorism list torpedoes the case for travel ban” CNN

Peter Bergen analyzes incidents listed on a White House terrorism timeline. He observes that from the list of incidents, France, the United States, and Belgium supply the most anti-Western terrorists. Additionally, there are no attacks by people from Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, or Sudan, four countries that are included in the travel ban.

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“Trump’s Terrorism Claim is Baloney” CNN

Peter Bergen effectively refutes Trump’s claim that the media has not given terrorist attacks “the attention they deserve” through reporting.  Bergen annotates the official White House timeline of terrorist attacks since 2014 with information on how many articles were written about each attack. Using a media tracking database, Nexis, he is able to prove that “the total number of media hits for the 78 terrorist attacks that the White House released Monday is 80,878, or about an average of slightly more than 1,000 mentions per incident” but is probably higher because Nexis does not count above 3,000 hits.

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“SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen raises questions” CNN

Peter Bergen reports that a SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen killed 14 al Qaeda fighters, 10 civilians, and one Navy SEAL. Bergen brings up several concerns about the raid, including why was there a rush to mount the raid, and if Trump knew how many civilians were present. In noting that Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon were present when the decision was made, Bergen questions if they will participate in future key national security questions and if they have the necessary clearances to be present.

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“Trump’s travel ban wouldn’t have stopped these deadly terrorists” CNN

Peter Bergen and David Sterman unpack statistics on deadly terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 and the ramifications of the travel ban. None of the deadly attacks were committed by  people from countries impacted by the ban. The ban has negatively impacted American national security by playing into ISIS’ narrative of America and the West at war with Islam, denying entry to U.S. military translators, separating families and disrupting the lives of legal migrants, and upsetting relations with Iraq- a valuable ally in defeating ISIS.

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“Trump’s big mistake on Syria refugees” CNN

Peter Bergen argues that President Trump’s executive order banning refugees is illogical for multiple reasons. He says, “all lethal acts of jihadist terrorism in the States since 9/11 have been carried out by American citizens or legal residents and none of them have been the work of Syrian refugees”. The Syrian refugees that come to the U.S. are fleeing terrorism and also have extremely rigorous screening before being admitted, a process that can last around two years. Bergen notes that this country has had successive waves of immigration, of people coming with hope for a better life and this history ought to be remembered.

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“A melancholy look back at SF teams in the first phase of our war in Afghanistan” Foreign Policy

Thomas E. Ricks discusses Legion of Brothers co-produced by Peter Bergen. The film focuses on Special Forces in Afghanistan, both what they did and the impact the war continues to have on their lives.

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“Will President Trump restart the drone war in Pakistan?” CNN

Peter Bergen and David Sterman write about potential approaches that the Trump administration may take towards drone strikes in Pakistan.  Various officials of the Trump administration made contradicting statements speaking both critically of the drone strikes and arguing  that the president needs wide latitude in the program.  Under Obama, drones have not been used in eight months in Pakistan and it remains to be seen what direction the Trump  administration will take.

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“Osama bin Laden, terrorist leader and doting father” CNN

Peter Bergen reports that the U.S. government has released more of the documents that were taken from Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad residence. The documents include correspondence with his many children as well as documents related to managing al Qaeda. Bergen reports that there are further unreleased documents which will be released at the discretion of the Trump administration.  

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“Taliban video purportedly shows American, Australian hostages” CNN

Peter Bergen reports that the Afghan Taliban has released the first “proof of life” video of two teachers, one American and one Australian. The teachers were abducted five months ago in western Kabul. In the video, the teachers ask for a prisoner swap. Bergen states that while it might be politically difficult for the Afghan government to release prisoners in exchange for the hostages, it could provide leverage for the Trump administration to have a continued American presence in Afghanistan.

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“US hostages more likely to die than others from the West” CNN

Peter Bergen and Christopher Mellon write about the fate of American hostages and the evolution of U.S. policies for hostage recovery.  A report from New America shows that Americans and British citizens who are taken hostage are more likely to be killed and less likely to be released than counterparts from other countries. This is because the U.S. and U.K. both have no-ransom policies while other countries are willing to negotiate ransom exchanges for hostages. Bergen and Mellon suggest that the Trump administration can improve hostage outcomes by either changing the no ransom rule or clarifying the stance on immunity from prosecution for third parties who pay the ransom for Americans.

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“Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza put on US terror watch list” CNN

Caroline Kenny and Brian Todd report that Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza has been added to a State Department watch list. Peter Bergen says, "From a very early age, his father was kind of grooming him...Hamza has been very much indoctrinated with the whole jihadi kind of message. He's a true believer. I think that makes him a concern”.  Bergen goes on to say that Hamza may be able to draw younger people to join al Qaeda because, "ISIS' productions are a million times more interesting than Al Qaeda's very boring audio messages [and] very low production values.”

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“Family reveals American vanished in Afghanistan two years ago” CNN

Peter Bergen reports on Paul Overby, an American writer who disappeared in May 2014 from Afghanistan. At the time, he was writing a book about the current war in Afghanistan.  A Pakistani journalist has said that his sources in the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network claim to not have Overby, a U.S. official said that Overby is one of five American hostages being held by the Haqqani network.

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“No, President-elect Trump: Russian hacking is not like the CIA’s WMD fiasco” CNN

Peter Bergen discusses Donald Trump’s dismissal of intelligence agency reports of Russian hacking of the  DNC and Trump’s continued reliance on the WMD fiasco to support his dismissal. Bergen explains that there have been many safeguards enacted since the WMD incident including more verification of circumstantial evidence. Bergen goes on to explain that unlike the faulty circumstantial evidence of the WMDs, the evidence of Russian hacking has been obtained via digital footprints and should be viewed as reliable.

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“How Trump can respond to US hostage appeal” CNN

In a video released by the Taliban, an American hostage directly addresses Donald Trump and asks him to negotiate the release of her and her family.  Bergen writes that when Trump takes office, he will have leverage with the Afghan government and should use it to arrange for a prisoner exchange and release of the family.

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“Trucks as killing machines: A frightening form of low-tech terror” CNN

Peter Bergen writes about the use of vehicles in terrorist attacks using the example of the recent Berlin Christmas market attack. Both ISIS and al Qaeda have encouraged attacks with cars and trucks. These attacks are difficult to prevent and have the potential to cause mass casualties.

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