May 1, 2020

A View from the CT Foxhole: A Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 and Counterterrorism

Ali Soufan, Founder of The Soufan Center, contributed to a virtual roundtable on “A View from the CT Foxhole: A Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 and Counterterrorism.” Conducted over email between mid-May and mid-June 2020, the roundtable was hosted by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Other panelists included Audrey Kurth Cronin, Professor at the School of International Service at American University and the Director of the Center for Security, Innovation and New Technology; Lieutenant General (Ret) Michael Nagata, Senior Vice President and Strategic Advisor for CACI International, owner of Hanada Bridge LLC, former Director of the Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning at the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, and former commander of Special Operations Command Central; Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish Defense University and Special Adviser at the European Union Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN); and Juan Zarate, Senior Fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center and former Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism, and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. Ali highlighted the convergence of the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of global leadership, and the proliferation of disinformation changing the global terrorism landscape. He noted how terrorist organizations are seizing opportunities through their “health-jihad,” providing services in lieu of governments to gain political legitimacy. He also emphasized the intensified threat of bioterrorism, as well as relative priorities between great power competition and counterterrorism efforts.