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Larry C. Johnson : biography


Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008. He has worked as a private consultant on issues of international terrorism and security for the U.S. Government and private companies. Johnson has appeared as a consultant and commentator in many major newspapers and news programs.Larry C. Johnson, No Quarter (personal blog).



In 1996, Johnson noted that terrorism worldwide was on the decline. "Terrorist incidents [both internationally and in the US] have fallen to levels not seen since the 1970s. Whether measured by the number of incidents, the number of fatalities, or the number of groups, raw statistics demonstrate that the level of terrorist violence has declined since the mid-1980s. In fact, the evidence suggests terrorism was more widespread and deadly 10 years ago."Gail Russell Chaddock, "Why Terrorists Pick On the French," Christian Science Monitor (5 December 1996) p. 1.

He also wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times suggesting that the newer and more deadly terrorist threat to the U.S. was embodied by "networks of terrorists, mostly foreign, working within its borders." Exemplifying this threat was Ramzi Yousef, one of the masterminds behind the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. In the article, Johnson suggests that enhanced cooperation between intelligence agencies, particularly the FBI and CIA, is mandatory to meet the growing threat of terror networks.Larry Johnson, "Terrorists Among Us," New York Times (20 August 1996) p. A19.


In 1998, Johnson argued that while overall terrorism was declining, the threat from bin Laden and al-Qaeda should be the focus of American counterterrorism policy:

The nature of the threat posed by Bin Ladin is highlighted by my final chart, number 7. Osama Bin Ladin and individuals associated with him have killed and wounded more Americans than any other group. This chart also illustrates that groups such as Hamas and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) prior to 1998 have killed more foreigners in the anti-US terrorist attacks. If we take into account the bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Osama's status as the most lethal terrorist is certain.

In addition, he told USA Today that bin Laden had participated in "virtually every major attack of terrorism against the United States" in the 1990s. Johnson underlined the threat posed by bin Laden, saying that he was possessed by "hatred and craziness." If left unanswered, "he would continue to terrorize Americans around the world. He has no compunction about killing women and children. He's a complete egalitarian in his murderous attitude."Lee Michael Katz, "The Hunt for Bin Laden," USA Today (21 August 1998) p. 1A.


In an interview with PBS's Frontline for its 1999 program, Hunting bin Laden, Johnson discussed Osama bin Laden.See , as broadcast on Frontline in 1999. Cf. for , transcript of interview broadcast on Frontline subsequently on 13 April 2001. See also dedicated PBS webpages for media links: , Frontline PBS, online featured programs, accessed 19 November 2006. According to Johnson, Americans had "tended to make Osama bin Laden sort of a superman in Muslim garb." "Actually," he continues, "Osama bin Laden, in my view, represents more of a symptom of a problem, and the problem is this: the Saudi Arabian government, not just Osama bin Laden but many people in Saudi Arabia, have been sending money to radical Islamic groups for years." Johnson continued:When you look at who's killed Americans in the last 10 years, the individuals he's supported and backed--I'm basing that upon the initial information that's been released in the indictments and conversations with others in the intelligence communities--Osama bin Laden has been the one killing Americans. No other terrorist group in the world has been out killing Americans except for Osama bin Laden.... Osama bin Laden remains out there as the one really targeting us. So, we recognize that he's the threat. He's serious about wanting to kill Americans, but as long as he's in Afghanistan, as long as he doesn't have access to a cell phone, as long as he can't just hop on a plane and travel wherever he wants without fear of being arrested, his ability to plan and conduct terrorist operations is extremely limited. We have to recognize [that] he would like to do a lot of damage. He would like to kill Americans, but wanting to is different from being able to, having the full capabilities in place.

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