Panel: Manage Iran Terrorism Threat

Four panelists examined terrorism and how it can be "managed" before an audience of about 50 at the Kennedy School last night.

D. David Long, a foreign policy expert and former State Department official, said terrorism is an intelligence, law enforcement, legal, diplomatic and political problem.

The problem is one of "management" not "solution" in which "you have to look at all of the aspects" in seeking an international not unilateral solution, Long said.

Wayne Gilbert, assistant director of terrorism in the intelligence department of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that although "[terrorism] is still a substantial threat," domestic and international terrorism have both declined in recent years.

Steven A. Emerson, a CNN investigative correspondent, offered a media perspective on terrorism. Emerson said that for attention seeking terrorists" there is no better magnifying lens [than television]."


When a terrorists gets publicity, "he sees a lot of bang for his buck," he said. The media "ought to exercise self-censorship" to prevent this.

Emerson said that after the recent World Trade Center bombing, terrorists are "increasingly likely to use the U.S. not just as a base" for attacks across the world, but also as a base for attacks domestically.

Eli Krakowski, a former assistant to the secretary of defense and a current Boston University professor, said he though that the World Trade Center and other incidents have some ties to Iran.

"Iran, I think, is going on the offensive so as to better allow its objectives to be [fulfilled] in a regional sense," Krakowski said.

Emerson said he thinks that the U.S. "will have to confront Iran in a much more serious and systematic way" because "Iran cannot be tamed."

Krakowski said that problems arise when terrorist groups have "international connections" and are provided with "safe havens."

The U.S. has traditionally taken harder stances against weaker sponsors of terrorism but has neglected to confront sponsors who are valuable to its interests, Krakowski said.

Because of the U.S. "track record," Krakowski said any "response now has to be much greater than before, and sustained" in order to be effective