The Terror Fight You Never Hear About

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
June 19 2013 4:40 PM

Wiretaps and Drones Aren’t Everything

Our less-talked-about tactics against terrorism are surprisingly effective.

When we think of the war on terrorism, we tend to think about drone strikes, SEAL raids, Marine counterinsurgency campaigns, Guantanamo Bay, and, more recently, data mining and surveillance by the NSA.

But Daniel Benjamin says there’s a whole other set of tools used to combat terrorism that get far less attention, even though they have proven effective. Benjamin, who was Hillary Clinton’s point person on counterterrorism at the State Department for four years, says the training of police and judges, among other things, has paid real dividends in places like Indonesia, which was a hub for terror activity in the years following Sept. 11. 

Benjamin sat down recently with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg to talk about the impact of the decidedly unglamorous art of “capacity building.”

You can watch more of our interview with Benjamin. In the first part, he explains how President Obama has changed up the war on terror from the Bush years. And in Part 2, Benjamin discusses the difficulty of combating what he calls “lone-wolf” terrorism.