By Anthony Petitt
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – “The threat to the West through Islamist terrorism is greater now than at any time since 9/11,” CNN terror analyst Paul Cruickshank told an audience at Camden County College on April 1.
Cruickshank spoke in Civic Hall as part of the lecture series “America and the Middle East: A Search for Solutions – The Evolving Terrorist Threat.” In addition to giving a lecture, Cruickshank answered audience members’ questions, met fans and signed copies of his recently released book.
“The key concern is that western extremists could be recruited by terrorist groups overseas, trained to make bombs and sent back” to carry out attacks, Cruickshank said during the 45-minute talk.
Cruickshank also made the argument that “trained terrorists are much more dangerous than untrained terrorists. The reason is that all things being equal, western extremists trained by terrorist instructors overseas tend to have a greater capacity for destruction than lone wolves,” Cruickshank explained.
Cruickshank projected images of terrorist acts in progress onto the Civic Hall screen.
Before opening up the floor to questions, Cruickshank concluded by stating that although lone wolf terrorists are not the most serious terrorist threat, they are “perhaps the most immediate threat.”
Cruickshank then fielded questions from the audience about changing dynamics in the Middle East and possible solutions.
After the question-and-answer session, Cruickshank sat outside Civic Hall to speak with fans and autograph copies of his book “Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA,” a true story about Morten Storm’s experiences as a double agent.
Cruickshank previously spoke at Camden County College in 2008.
“It’s been very, very good to be back here,” Cruickshank said. “I’ve been struck by the warmth of your welcome.”