Target USA Podcast by WTOP

Whether its terrorists, anarchists, cyber criminals or nation states, America has a target on its back. WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green investigates the threats facing the U.S., the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.


Target USA -- Ep 74: Robert Young Pelton: The future of terrorism, private armies and tracking Joseph Kony

Robert Young Pelton's book "Licensed to Kill" chronicled his time with...Robert Young Pelton's book "Licensed to Kill" chronicled his time with a team of government-hired guns in the war on terror in 2003. Since then, he's found himself at the heart of numerous major news events -- from U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl's walking away from his unit into captivity by the Taliban, to the migrant crisis, the IS group's "caliphate" and notorious terrorist Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army. Pelton is a smart, well-connected individual who knows how to navigate the shadowy world of terrorism and is able to make sense of disparate details that even the authorities who should know, don't. He talks to Target USA about IS group's new "expansion" model.   Show More


Past Episodes

This week the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had confirmation that IS group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead. It never produced any proof, but it is the first "credible " organization to go that far. On this program we examine what 's known about al-Baghdadi's status, his elusiveness and what happens after he and his so-called caliphate pass from the scene. Brett Velicovich, who chased al-Baghdadi for years in the U.S. Army, and Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, join us on the program to break it all down.
Responsible for U.S. military activity in 20 countries, U.S. Central Command is faced with multiple difficult, generational challenges. The Taliban is surging in Afghanistan. The Islamic State group 's so-called "caliphate" is crumbling in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to make deceptively clever and elusive bombs, while engaged in a brutal fight to taken over Yemen. CENTCOM spokesman Col. John Thomas paints a stark picture for Target USA of the incredibly complex and dangerous challenges facing the U.S.
If the momentum of U.S.-led coalition is any indicator, the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) may be completely eradicated from Syria and Iraq in a matter of months. But Nick Rasmussen, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, warns that the black cloud of IS group terrorism will not dissipate the day after the caliphate falls.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said on June 13 that the Taliban is surging. Whats driving the resurgence and what will the U.S. strategy to fight the Taliban look like? We dig into those questions, plus we get a look at the state of IS and al-Qaida from Hans-Jakob Schindler on this weeks episode of Target USA.
ISIS is running out of territory, money, fighters and time. Some experts fear the damage has already been done. However, on this episode of Target USA, Operation for Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon says, "There is absolutely nowhere that they can go. They have two choices: They can surrender or they can die."
This riveting episode features the tense moments during the attacks in London, analysis of what happened, what Europol's European Counter Terrorism Centre's chief is doing about it, and the U.S. role in tackling a growing terrorism problem.
Often times people who served this country, some of whom who gave their lives, are laid to rest without a live rendition of taps. They end up with a prerecorded version. It was especially bad in the early-to-mid 2000s, when hundreds of deceased veterans came home from Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of those wars. Tom Day was offended, so he started Bugles Across America and began playing by himself at as many funerals as he could. The organization now has 5,000 buglers and a remarkable story. We present it here on Target USA.
The suicide bombing at pop star Ariana Grande's concert on May 22 literally shook the ground all around Europe's second largest indoor arena. But it also sent shockwaves around the world because the attack on a concert where very young children were attending left no doubt that terrorists today have no limits. On this program, we get the details about what happened. Philip Mudd, one of the world's best counterterrorism analysts, puts the event in perspective. Also, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official tells us what we can expect in terms of security changes here in the U.S.
President Donald Trump's decision to share classified intelligence with Russia sparked yet another media firestorm. It also created serious concerns for U.S. allies. Those concerns are critical to the war against terrorism. We dig into the fallout on this episode.

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