Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you, Director Romero, for welcoming me back to Tufts. It’s been several years since I last had the privilege to speak here. This time, I come not as a government official, but as a private citizen, scholar and policy analyst. The latter role, I can assure you, has its benefits, especially when the subject is as important and timely as this one. And when one’s perspective is not easy to sugar-coat.
I have been asked to address U.S. national security policy in the wake of September 11. Two years later, what perils do we face, what prospects? In short, are we on the right track; and where do we go from here? Let me begin by acknowledging the impossibility of doing this topic justice in one brief speech. So rather than be comprehensive, I will focus on the most salient issues.
Nor will I pretend to be perfectly objective. While I do not view myself as a partisan when it comes to national security affairs, I did serve in the previous Administration. And, as you will see, I do have major policy differences with the current one. However, I think the critique I will present today is anything but partisan. In fact, it reflects what I believe are concerns now shared broadly by a bipartisan cross-section of national security experts as well as by much of the American public.
ISIS is also keen to target Italy now because it’s one of the few major European countries it hasn’t yet struck. They’re hoping to inspire violence there so that they can say, in effect, 'we’ve already attacked your capitals in London, in Paris, and in Barcelona, and now we’ve attacked Rome. There’s nowhere we can’t reach.'
The [Trump administration's] proposals don't call for constant monitoring once someone is in the country. It seems like [Saipov, the NYC attacker] became much more radical relatively recently. So the ideas on the table don't seem particularly relevant to this attack.
Such unthinking measures [that target Muslims] might benefit Trump politically while inadvertently helping the terrorists operationally.