Gala Dinner speaker Richard Clarke advocates strong response to al Qaeda report

Issue July/August 2007

Gala Dinner keynote speaker Richard A. Clarke, the nation’s former counterterrorism chief, was quoted recently in news reports suggesting that the United States take more aggressive action against al Qaeda.

His comments came after reports in mid-July that the terrorist organization is gaining strength in Pakistan and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned he had a "gut feeling" that al Qaeda might attack the United States this summer. President George W. Bush said he found a National Intelligence Estimate’s report about al Qaeda’s entrenchment in rural Pakistan "troubling."

Clarke suggested a strong response to the growing threat.

"The United States should say to Pakistan, ‘We’re going to eliminate al Qaeda one way or the other. Either you do it and you do it by a certain date, or we’ll do it and you don’t complain too much,’" Clarke was quoted in a July 14 ABC News report.

Clarke, who will be the keynote speaker at the MBA’s Gala Dinner on Nov. 1, is a terrorism commentator for ABC News, an advisor to the last four U.S. presidents and the best-selling author of Against All Enemies. He is currently chairman of Arlington, VA.-based Good Harbor Consulting LLC, which provides security risk consulting to businesses operating internationally.

As a former government official, Clarke specialized in intelligence, cyber security and counter-terrorism for more than three decades. He is best known for his work as the chief counter-terrorism advisor on the U.S. National Security Council preceding and following Sept. 11.

After stepping down from his White House position in 2003, Clarke published Against All Enemies, which reflects on his experiences serving past U.S. presidents, highlights the increase in terrorist activity against America and describes the faults of past administrations in properly handling terrorist threats.

He has also appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss issues of national security, civil liberties and terrorism. He also recently published his second novel, Breakpoint.


A change in format


The MBA’s Gala Dinner event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1 at the new InterContinental Hotel on Boston’s waterfront. With its sleek, granite exterior and spectacular harborside location, the InterContinental is Boston’s newest architectural gem. The dinner will take place in the luxury hotel’s 10,500 square foot Rose Kennedy Ballroom.

In past years, the Gala Dinner was a part of the MBA’s Annual Conference, which included the Access to Justice Awards Luncheon and a day’s worth of CLE programs. However, to better accommodate MBA members’ schedules and priorities, the MBA will hold each event on its own date as part of its 2007-08 "Signature Events."

The MBA’s three other Signature Events will be the second annual Bench-Bar Symposium, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston; the Access to Justice Awards Luncheon on Thursday, March 6, at the JFK Library Museum in Boston; and the MBA CLE Conference on Monday, April 28, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.