The Acting Director of National Intelligence has announced the appointment of a new director for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—Lora Shiao.
Ms. Shiao’s impressive background includes numerous assignments within various defense and intelligence agencies of the federal government. Ms. Shiao will be responsible for maintaining the NCTC as “a center of gravity and leading voice that unifies counterterrorism intelligence for the homeland and abroad.”
Established in August 2004 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the NCTC has more than 1,000 personnel perceived by other U.S. government partners, according to its website, as “‘honest brokers’ disseminating reliable information about terrorist threats.” Yet despite its mandate, the NCTC since its inception has largely failed to provide local, state, and federal partners with reliable information about the terrorist threat, at least when it comes to terrorist motivations.
The 9/11 Commission stated that “the enemy is not just ‘terrorism,’ some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism – especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology.” The 9/11 Commission also pointed out that “Bin Laden and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say.”
Indeed, in 1998, Bin Laden told the Taliban, “I do not need to tell you that this sacred struggle should continue until… holy places of Muslims are liberated from the occupation of non-Muslims and the Islamic Sharia is enforced on the land of God. Obviously, for the enforcement of Sharia, it is essential for all Muslims that they should establish an Islamic system on the basis of teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.”