19 February 2015

In an interview on Good Day Austin, Intelligence Studies Project Director and Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar Steve Slick discussed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the Islamic State in Libya and commented on why such violent acts are perpetuated and what this means for U.S. policy.

Slick says the Islamic State is both “expanding and extremely dangerous” and notes that these recent acts of violence indicate an expansion of their base of operations from Iraq and Syria to potentially include Libya. In terms of motivation, Slick explains that as a terrorist organization the Islamic State wants to attract attention, recruits, and funding to its cause. Slick says the U.S. must improve its abilities to undercut such an appeal. In particular, Slick argues that while the U.S. has done a good job protecting the homeland and degrading al Qaeda, the record is less clear on our ability to blunt the ability of organizations like the Islamic State to replicate and remake themselves and attract new recruits. Ultimately, Slick called the White House summit on countering violent extremism a first step toward this end, though the hard part will be in forming policies, funding programs, and following up on initiatives. The full interview can be found below: 

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 Steve Slick has served almost three decades in the Central Intelligence Agency, including five years spent directing intelligence policy in the Bush White House.