Resilient ISIS Immune to Killing of its Top Leaders

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The removal of top terrorist leaders from the battlefield continues to be a critical element of the United States’ counterterrorism strategy. In the years since 9/11, the U.S has managed to keep pressure on several key terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda and ISIS, by targeting their senior leadership and damaging their operational capacities. The Cipher Brief sat down with Mike Leiter, Cipher Brief expert and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, to discuss the importance of leadership decapitation as part of the United States’ counterterrorism strategy and how eliminating terrorist groups impacts the functionality of an organization.

The Cipher Brief: In your view, has leadership decapitation been an effective pillar of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy?

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