Al-Qaida or affiliated groups probably will attack the United States in the months after the election to welcome the new president, says Frederick Stremmel, a former top FBI counterterrorism analyst.
Stremmel, who retired from the FBI a year ago after working the major counterterrorism cases for 25 years, tells Newsmax that al-Qaida would not attack before the election.
They know our weaknesses and in some cases how to impact public opinion, he says. The best example is the timing of the Madrid bombings which occurred near election day in Spain. The Madrid attacks probably impacted the Spanish elections and ultimately led to diminished Spanish government support of U.S. foreign policy.
Al-Qaida knows that an attack before the election would help elect Republican Sen. John McCain, Stremmel says. The terrorists would prefer Democratic Sen. Barack Obama because they believe he would swing the pendulum back to more lenient anti-terrorism policies, Stremmel says.
The months following the election or inauguration of the new administration is prime time for an attack, he says. They will want to impact the new administration and its policies. There is a history of Islamic terrorists wanting to make life miserable for successive administrations.
That is why al-Qaida attacked the U.S. less than eight months after President Bush took office.
I do not think the timing of the 9/11 attacks came out of the blue, Stremmel says. I have always thought that al-Qaida wanted to attack the new administration that followed Clintons. I think a goal of al-Qaida was to attack within a year of the new administration taking power.
Al-Qaida sees the economic crisis as another reason to attack soon.
Al-Qaida is looking at the current financial meltdown in the United States and the West, Stremmel says. They know the United States is spending itself to death. Through terrorist attacks, they will want to try and get us into a bigger economic hole. Never forget that Bin Ladens first job was business and finance related.
The most likely target will be the domestic U.S., Stremmel says. However, he says the FBI does not believe al-Quaida has a presence in this country. But an attack such as al-Quaidas 2006 effort to take down nine American airliners flying to the U.S. would have an effect on the economy as severe as an attack here, Stremmel notes.
If my analysis is on the mark, al-Quaida has already chosen its target and the time to stage an attack,he says.
James R. Fitzgerald, a former FBI profiler who interviewed terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and has had access to al-Qaida documents, agrees with Stremmels assessment.