Home / Articles / Defeating the Sixth Column: Intelligence and Strategy in the War on Islamist Terrorism
For the first time since the late 1940s, Washington is attempting a comprehensive analysis of the role and performance of the American intelligence system. In rethinking intelligence, it needs to address that the sixth column—Islamist terrorists residing in states that knowingly or unknowingly give them sanctuary—is the weak underbelly in the war on terror. To defeat this sixth column, important personnel, doctrinal, and cultural issues need to be addressed. The experience of other countries that have had success in fighting terrorism suggests that the United States must focus on offensive counterintelligence, penetrating terrorist groups, and creating mistrust among them.