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Continuity and Change: Reshaping the Fight against Terrorism

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A policy focus paper published by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2010.

At the outset of the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama warned that nuclear terrorism is “one of the greatest threats to global security,” observing that terrorist groups like al-Qaeda would “surely use” a nuclear device if they were able to obtain one. He further argued that a “new mindset” is required to successfully meet this dangerous challenge. How has the Obama administration’s response to the resilient terrorism threat expanded on or deviated from Bush-era strategy?

To offer unique perspectives on this important question, the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence has compiled a set of lectures by senior counterterrorism officials delivered at the Institute since President Obama took office. These presentations are part of an ongoing series, initiated in December 2007, in which the Institute hosts top counterterrorism officials from a broad range of U.S. and international agencies. This third volume of published lectures from the series features presentations by:

• Todd Hinnen, deputy assistant attorney general for law and policy, Justice Department

• Lt. Gen (Ret.) James Clapper, undersecretary of defense for intelligence

• Richard Falkenrath, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, NYPD

• Amb. Kenneth Brill, director, National Counterproliferation Center

• Lt. Gen (Ret.) Ronald Burgess, director, Defense Intelligence Agency

• Adm. Eric Olson, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

• Richard Barrett, coordinator, UN al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee

• Michael Downing, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, LAPD

The lecture series continue into 2010, with upcoming senior-level speakers from military, intelligence, and diplomatic offices. These officials will offer their guidance on the evolving terrorist threat and their recommendations on strategy to ensure that President Obama’s dire warnings about nuclear terrorism do not come to pass.

Editors: Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson


About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at


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