This dot connects to Karachi, which connects to Miranshah, which connects to Barcelona… and what might that suggest?
Sunday Messrs. Brennan and Holder told us the Taliban-in-Pakistan or Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) were involved in the fizzled Times Square attack. “We know that they helped facilitate it; we know that they helped direct it,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “And I suspect that we are going to come up with evidence which shows that they helped to finance it. They were intimately involved in this plot.” (Associated Press)
The TTP has claimed credit. It has also released an audio message of its leader threatening future attacks on the United States. You can see and hear a translated and illustrated version of the message courtesy of YouTube and the TTPs propaganda branch. (Brian Fishman at Foreign Policy has a helpful analysis of a couple of recent TTP media pieces.)
In March 2009, Homeland Security Watch and many others reported on a specific TTP threat to attack the United States. So… none of this is exactly breaking news. But the events in Times Square have, for the moment, focused our attention. While I have your attention, please examine what the TTP tried — and failed — to undertake in Barcelona. As far as I know this has been their most ambitious operation outside South Asia.
In January 2008 Spanish authorities arrested 14 involved in a plot to attack the Barcelona subway system (Reuters). In January 2009, the US Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center published a case study on the Barcelona attack plan. In December 2009 eleven of those arrested were convicted. (Deutsche Welle).
I have recently tried to distinguish between what we can predict-and-control in contrast with anticipation-and-preparation. Attention is critical to anticipation.