E.D. HILL: How concerned should we be? Terrorism Analyst Steve Emerson joins us right now. He's the author of "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us." You and I have worked together on a number of terrorism specials. You are one of the best people to go to for this kind of information. As they say, poisoning a water system isn't going to cause mass deaths probably but would cause fear and panic. What do you think the goal is of terrorists right now?
STEVE EMERSON: Well, the goal of terrorists to carry out attacks but short of that, as Catherine pointed out, it's to inflict a major amount of hysteria in the West, because if they can't actually detonate a bomb or poison a water supply, the next best thing is getting the West worried about it, and that's what they've done through the website postings.
HILL: So by saying go after the water supply, does that indicate they think we have shored up our security up in other areas such as at airports or port security?
EMERSON: Well, let's look at reality. Since 2001, they have not carried out or not been able to carry out an attack on our water supplies, either European or American. They have not been able to attack a major airport. So, in fact defenses are getting better. They are left now with resorting to these wild threats that aren't very specific. This website didn't have specifics. It just said use poisons to get at the water supplies. The amount of, say, cyanide needed to poison an actual reservoir is immense. Of course, in mining lots of cyanide is used, so one can legitimately buy it on the market, but it would require an immense amount that would attract a lot of attention.
HILL: Some say if they were going to attack they would have by now. It's been a long time since 9/11. Do you think we're a little complacent because of that?
EMERSON: Absolutely. From 1998 until 2001, there were lots of threats. There were fatwahs or religious decrees to carry out acts of terrorism. Everyone dismissed them as being inconsequential, of not being realistic, of exaggerating al-Qaeda's threat and on 9/11 we discovered to the contrary that al-Qaeda had a major capability. The probability is that al-Qaeda will slip through one of these days in a major attack that will probably surpass the 9/11 attacks.
HILL: Steve, thank you very much. For those of you at home who want a restless night get his book it's called "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us." Knowledge is power and he's got a lot of information there.