Terrorist attacks in Paris and around the world have focused global attention on the fight against homegrown terror and Islamic State.

United States Studies Centre research associate in counter-terrorism Leah Farrall is a former counter terrorism analyst with the Australian Federal Police and currently a senior lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand.

She sat down with Centre media manager Max Halden to discuss how we should be allocating our resources in the wake of the Paris attacks and the need for a more strategic, rather than simply reactive approach to counterterrorism.

Leah and Max begin by discussing a recent New York Times editorial arguing that mass surveillance isn’t the answer to fighting terrorism.


Leah was also quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald and interviewed by ABC News Radio.

Some key quotes “Moves by politicians in America and Australia to attempt to restrict refugees on the basis of Paris shows an appalling degree of ignorance about the dynamics of terrorism and about the dynamics of radicalization and it’s certainly not the proudest hour of either country.”

“It’s all fine and good to talk about ideology and talk about countering an extremist narrative, but that extremist narrative is being built as they go. In many ways that’s a very futile effort.”

“We need to be investing more in teams, in people, in software, and in tools and thinking about the ways in which we analyse and understand data. This is a problem that goes well and truly beyond intelligence or law enforcement agencies.”