Obama Worried About Mumbai Attack ‘Copycats’

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 11, 2009 9:20am

During our "This Week" interview, I asked President-elect Barack Obama if he thought the Mumbai terror attacks could happen here.

Obama said he is concerned about "copycats."

"I think that the dangers are always there and I think you have to anticipate that having seen the mayhem that was created in Mumbai that there are going to be potential copycats or other terrorist organizations that think this is something they can replicate," Obama told me.

"And so we’re going to have to be vigilant in terms of our intelligence, we’re going to have to make sure that we are more effective in terms of anticipating some of these issues and we’ve got to continue to put pressure on al Qaeda, which is our major target, that’s something that I talked about extensively during the campaign. That has to be one of our primary areas of focus when it comes to our international security," he said.

I asked Obama, who has begun to receive the President’s Daily Brief intelligence report, if the nation is more safer or more at risk than he thought during the campaign.

"I think that we have made progress in certain areas but those dangers are still there," Obama said. "And those dangers are not going to immediately go away because we’re not talking about conventional armies where we have very clear measures of what their capacity is. We know exactly what they’re planning, where they’re positioned. If you have a small group of people in today’s world with today’s technology who are intent on doing harm and are willing to die, that is something that’s always going to be a challenge."

Have any of the intelligence reports shocked him … a la Harry Truman and the Manhattan Project?

"Most of what I’ve learned are things that I’ve anticipated, partly because I was in the senate and although I wasn’t on the intelligence committee we would get top secret briefings. So there hasn’t been something that was eye popping. But you know the situation still requires vigilance," he said.

–George Stephanopoulos

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