HARRY SMITH: Joining us from Washington is terror expert, Steve Emerson, founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Good morning, sir.
STEVEN EMERSON: Good morning, Harry.
SMITH: If you were going to try to isolate the one spot in the world, the number one spot in the world still for terrorism, what would it be?
EMERSON: It would still be the Pakistan/Afghanistan border area. It still is number one but frankly Yemen and Somalia are fast coming up the ladder and they'd have to be listed as number three and four. Yemen possibly could supplant Pakistan in the next year given the terrorist trajectory, Harry, which is now providing terrorist training, recruitment and a haven for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
SMITH: And certainly, theoretically as the heat increases in Afghanistan and on the border area as we have seen over the last couple of months, there would be no reason for people not just to filter on down to Yemen.
EMERSON: Well, not just filter down to Yemen, but they're actively being recruited and lured into Yemen. After all, this Nigerian student went to Yemen at least twice to study there and we have to understand there's a continuum from being a radical Muslim fundamentalist steeped in theology or studies and then on the trajectory to becoming a terrorist. That's exactly the course that he took. It's the same course Mohamed Atta took in 1994 in Hamburg, Germany. A secularized Muslim living in Europe, a graduate student brought into a mosque, learned religious study and suddenly decided to join the jihad because he was recruited. That's the exact same pattern we see here and which is no afflicting more than hundreds of Westernized Muslims now studying in Pakistan, Afghanistan and most importantly in Yemen, where there are at least a 150 Americans and European Muslim students studying in radical Islamic schools.
SMITH: We've heard from the Yemeni Foreign Minister yesterday. Said there are probably several hundred of folks very similar to Abdulmutallab who are more than ready and willing to follow in his footsteps.
EMERSON: That's an amazing statement and in fact, what I've discovered through sources in the intelligence community is that there are literally scores of American Muslim students studying and being trained in Yemen to this day. Still being actively trained even after the Christmas Day plot, so Harry we have to be aware of the fact that this is a continuous threat. It's not going away and there's a pool of potential terrorists out there that have Western passports that can board planes without visas.
SMITH: Diligence is what it's all about. Steve Emerson, thank you so much for your time and your expertise this morning. Appreciate it sure.
EMERSON: You're welcome