Bryan Cunningham on French Terror Attacks

War or Crime? Figure it Out

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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 1:11 PM

In the Clinton Administration, I participated in vigorous debates about whether to treat transnational threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, as law enforcement or intelligence and war fighting issues.  After September 11, 2001, this issue was thrust into the limelight as the Bush Administration and civil liberties groups argued in public about whether to treat terrorists as enemy combatants or common criminals—with Congress, as always, vacillating with public opinion. One of the primary critiques agreed upon by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission was that treating terrorism, as was largely done before 9/11, as a traditional law enforcement issue was a mistake.

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